How Would You Move Mount Fuji? - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
For a number of reasons, today's hiring managers from Wall Street to the Silicon Valley are totally restructuring their approach to interviewing job prospects. Few will admit it has anything to do with the fact that our litigious society makes it very difficult to ask almost any personal question of today's job applicant. The majority of those interviewing today don't even bother checking references because they know anyone they call will provide little or no information on the employee in question for fear of legal retribution. Again, few will admit these facts for obvious reasons. However, for these and other motives including a hypercompetitive global marketplace, a hot new trend in hiring is emerging. "Puzzle interviews" using tough and tricky questions to gauge job candidates' intelligence, imagination, and problem-solving ability, are becoming the norm in many companies.
How Would You Move Mount Fuji?: Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers is a study of corporate hiring, an assessment of IQ testing's value, a history of interviewing and a puzzle book. The author, William Poundstone, is a science writer who explains the thinking behind this kind of interviewing. In a straightforward manner, the author describes the roots of logic questions in interviews, drawing on the history of IQ testing in hiring interviews, psychological studies and interviews with Microsoft ex-interviewers and interviewees. He certainly makes a strong case for eliminating standard questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and replacing them with logic puzzles.
For years, Microsoft's interview process has included a notoriously grueling sequence of brain-busting questions that separate the most creative thinkers from the merely brilliant. Anyone who's interviewed for a job at Microsoft is intimately familiar with questions like the one in this book's title (How would you move Mount Fuji?) They've probably also pondered such problems as:
- Why are manhole covers round?
- How do they make M&Ms?
- What does all the ice in a hockey rink weigh?
- How many piano tuners are there in the world?
Questions like these, which test problem-solving abilities, not specific competencies, are commonplace during job interviews at Microsoft and the many other firms who have adapted this unique approach.
Basically, this book is separated into two parts: The first discusses the history of puzzles and their intellectual and academic standing. This section starts off by narrating the origin of puzzle-solving as a criterion for selecting people; then, it talks about how and why many companies use them in interviews. Mr. Poundstone talks about the general approaches to solving puzzles, and then closes on a note for employers on how to design puzzles that are useful.
The second part of the book is strict puzzle solving. The book has plenty of puzzles scattered through it and two chapters devoted solely to listing puzzles. The author goes on to discuss the puzzles he has listed and suggests thought processes about how to solve them. This exposition is more interesting than it sounds. Mr. Poundstone not only explains his answers thoroughly, but also uncovers many layers of thinking that show the complexity and beauty of the art of solving puzzles.
Almost half of the book is devoted to an "answer" section, where Poundstone gives possible solutions to the brainteasers. Although it lacks a specific focus, this is a fun, revealing take on an unusual subject.
This book will give interviewers insights into what kind of questions to ask, and why. You should probably read this book if you fall into one of the categories below:Prospective interviewees for High Tech, consulting or financial services companies. It won't give you all the answers to memorize, but it will let you in on the puzzle genre and some of its 'rules.'
Interviewers/HR - If you are looking to employ puzzle-type questions to hire creative employees, this will give you some insights into what questions to use and why. There are probably better books on the intricacies of interviewing, but this will give you the background needed to use puzzles in the interview process (if you decide that's what you need.)
People interested in problem solving, puzzles and creativity. This covers a lot of ground in these areas and it gives you a few references for further reading.
More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.
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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.
Fox 2000 has acquired the best-selling novel "Where the Crawdads Sing" and has tapped Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine to produce a feature film adaptation.
Witherspoon's involvement is not a great surprise. The Oscar winner has been a champion of the book, selecting it for inclusion in her Reese's Book Club.
An ongoing crisis in the Brazilian publishing market "that combined steady declines in the price of books with rising inflation" is raising concerns about the future of the book trade in the country, the Guardian reported. Book chain Saraiva, which had announced the closure of 20 stores in October, said late last month that it was filing for bankruptcy protection. Rival chain Cultura has also filed a reorganization plan to avoid bankruptcy. Brazil is in the midst of its worst recession in decades, and the recent election of far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro as the country's next president is "sending ripples of fear through the country's cultural community."
Daniel T. Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, compares audio books to print books and concludes that each is best suited to different purposes, and neither is superior:
... listening to a book club selection is not cheating. It's not even cheating to listen while you're at your child's soccer game (at least not as far as the book is concerned). You'll just get different things out of the experience. And different books invite different ways that you want to read them: As the audio format grows more popular, authors are writing more works specifically meant to be heard.
Our richest experiences will come not from treating print and audio interchangeably, but from understanding the differences between them and figuring out how to use them to our advantage - all in the service of hearing what writers are actually trying to tell us.
The UK publishing trade magazine, The Bookseller reports on authors' concerns about the effects of Brexit on the UK publishing industry:
Novelist Joanna Trollope has warned that Theresa May's government will "fatally undermine the whole UK publishing industry" if it fails to protect in law the UK position on exhaustion rights ahead of a major Brexit vote next week.
Trollope joined fellow authors Linda Grant and Joanne Harris to urge the government to ensure the UK's reputation as a world leader in culture and creativity is preserved after Brexit.
The authors were speaking out in support of calls from the Society of Authors (SoA), published in a new briefing, that politicians must protect free movement, copyright and trade while warning the sector is "not to be used as a bargaining chip in future negotiations"...
The Strand Bookstore in New York City is asking its many customers to attend a public hearing on Tuesday morning morning to help the store "make a case against landmark status" for its store at 826-828 Broadway. The bookstore is concerned that, if the building is given landmark status, "for every repair and every upgrade, the Strand would have to go through the slow bureaucracy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which adds to the expenses to keep the Strand alive.... The Strand currently runs on thin margins as a bookseller and retailer in New York City, fighting to survive in the era of Amazon. We have over 230 employees--most whom are unionized--and unlike large online retailers (like Amazon), have never asked or received tax breaks or other economic assistance to insure business profitability."
Ironically, it seems that the move to give the building landmark status is in response to the many new tech hubs that are being built in the area. And so, "in a trade-off, the Strand and a few other buildings along Broadway are now being calendared for landmarking."
The Literary Review has announced an all-male shortlist for that least-coveted of literary prizes, the Bad sex in fiction award.
Haruki Murakami, often named as a contender for the Nobel prize, makes the cut for passages from his latest novel Killing Commendatore ... The controversial US novelist James Frey was selected for a scene in his novel Katerina described by judges as "almost like wish fulfilment" ... continued
In the wake of increasing controversy over the naming of bestselling mystery author Linda Fairstein as one of next year's Grand Master Edgar recipients, Mystery Writers of America has withdrawn the award. Tuesday's announcement had sparked numerous protests on social media and prompted MWA to respond by saying it took the objections seriously and would reexamine the decision. The focus of the protests is Fairstein's role as a member of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in 1989's Central Park Jogger case, which resulted in the wrongful imprisonment for years of five minority teenagers.
The New York Times has an extensive and moving interview with Anna Burns, who won this year's Man Booker Prize for her novel, Milkman which will be published in the USA on December 4:
Burns is one of the more surprising recent winners of the Booker, one of literature's biggest awards. Milkman was this year's outsider, up against Richard Powers' ecological epic The Overstory and Esi Edugyan's heralded slavery-era Washington Black, among others. It was also labeled an "experimental novel" because its characters are nameless and its paragraphs sometimes run for several pages. Her victory provoked think pieces about the "bold choice."
"I don't understand," said Burns, when asked why it had picked up such an awkward label. "Is it the whole nameless thing? Is it really difficult? The book just didn't want names." (The tag does not seem to have put many off buying it. Faber, her British publisher, has sold over 350,000 copies so far...
Netflix will create an original animated series of Roald Dahl stories including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG and The Twits.
"ald Dahl stories have long inspired award-winning feature films and stage productions," Netflix said in its announcement. "But now, for the first time, Netflix will bring together the highest quality creative, visual, and writing teams to extend the stories in this first-of-its-kind slate of premium animated event series and specials for audiences of all ages and for families to enjoy together."
Following two years in which Margaret Atwood's classic dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale saw a skyrocketing in readership and new cultural relevance, both on television and in society at large, the author has announced a sequel.
The Testaments, set 15 years after the final scene of The Handmaid's Tale, will be published on September 10, 2019, by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, with an announced first printing of 500,000 copies.