- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (April 2, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316778494
- ISBN-13: 978-0316778497
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 84 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers Paperback – April 2, 2004
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About the Author
William Poundstone is the bestselling author of eight books, including Prisoner's Dilemma and Big Secrets. He has written for The Economist, Esquire, The New York Times Book Review and other publications. His science writing has been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize.
Top customer reviews
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If you are reading the book for an interview in a time crunch, read Chapter 8 first. Poundstone discusses the generic puzzle solving technique and the mental preparation process you should follow after you hear or read the question. It worked well as I applied it to several puzzles in the book. Of course, lest you forget, as Poundstone put it, `For the purposes of a job interview, the reasoning is the "answer"`.'
The author extends a helping hand to provide solid advice to companies who consider these techniques for interviews. He reminds them what to conclude and what not to conclude based on the candidate's response, the best ways to utilize this technique in an interview and ways to win the race of seeking and securing the best talent. He particularly reminds them that while the answer to the puzzle may not be as expected, it is in their best interest to place great value in the reasoning and logical approach taken by the candidate. By the same token, if the candidate has heard of the puzzle and knows only the answer, there are ways to test further their real understanding and further measure their puzzle solving skills, as well as eliminating those who have memorized a few answers to popular puzzles.
There are some cases where there is no singular solution. For instance, in the types of questions where you are asked to design xyz, you can exercise more freedom and especially creativity, as long as you are aware of boundaries for acceptable responses. Therefore, if you are testing your reasoning abilities, do not read the answers until you have exhausted all your options.
Remember, whatever you take away or learn, always stay aligned to a perfectly logical being when you want to solve a puzzle.
The puzzles themselves were somewhat disappointing, some being somewhat odd (although one cannot fault the author for this, given he didn't choose the questions to ask), with most of the explanations being disappointing. The explanations were WAY too wordy, taking up maybe five times the space necessary. However, this is a relatively minor point, taking the book as a whole.
I would definitely recommend it, especially as an ebook, which it's inexpensive and I felt well worth the investment.
I didn't find the puzzle questions or their solutions to be very interesting, except for how they make M&Ms, which I probably wouldn't have figured out.
I really liked the rest of the book more - the history behind it and all the little tidbits thrown in about Gates, Microsoft culture, and interviewing in general.
Reading this book won't get you through a Microsoft interview with flying colors. It will be obvious if you're regurgitating information or if you're thinking a problem through. Chances are they're not going to ask you anything in here since it's all common knowledge now.
If you've no experience working through word problems and logic puzzles, then by all means get the book to see the kind of stuff they might ask you, and what typical approaches to those types of problems can be. But think of this merely as a mental guide and not an answerbook.
Whether you are interviewing or being interviewed, you won't regret your money on this a bit. In fact, some one walked of with my book, so, I invested in one more copy of this book, that every now and then, I refer to it.
If you're interested in more challenging puzzles, try your hand at Puzzles for Programmers and Pros.