Summary of How Would You Move Mount Fuji?

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How Would You Move Mount Fuji? book summary
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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

getAbstract recommends this book to people trying to get hired at Microsoft or companies influenced by its hiring practices; people who want to think critically about how hiring practices work; and people who want to see how smart they are. The last group includes those who enjoy puzzles, and will relish the fun, challenging questions presented here. The book’s core is a collection of entertaining brainteasers from job interviews. Given the high level of competition, most people who are trying to get hired at Microsoft probably need the edge it provides. Readers can work methodically through the questions, and the reasons behind them, to build a general approach for dealing with most puzzles. Readers who want to reflect on hiring practices - such as human resources personnel or scholars of corporate culture - will find the book intriguing but incomplete. Author William Poundstone is incredibly useful when discussing the gaps between what these questions do and what they are intended to do, but he delivers only quick sketches of explanations about how corporate culture retains these approaches despite their relative lack of function. His suggestions for alternative approaches are equally brief. Even after reading this entertaining book, readers are likely to find that perfecting their companies’ interviewing processes will continue to be something of a puzzle.

About the Author

William Poundstone has written nine books and his articles have appeared in magazines ranging from The Economist to The New York Times Book Review. He is a lifelong fan of brainteasers.

 

Summary

How Puzzle Questions Work

You probably know the clichés about how fast things are changing and how everything you learned in college will be out of date in X years (fill in the number of your choice). If that’s the case, what traits should you look for when you’re hiring? You want people with specific industry knowledge, of course, but your primary goal is to hire good thinkers, especially good problem solvers. You need people who can identify and solve problems under pressure. Puzzle questions are intended to expose a job applicant’s abilities in this area.

These questions work well at eliminating job applicants who cannot solve this sort of problem on the spot. However, they also eliminate people who solve problems differently or who are unfamiliar with the stylized structure of puzzle questions. Since many interviewing processes (including Microsoft’s) are designed to eliminate unqualified or unsuitable candidates, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. By policy, Microsoft would rather accidentally reject qualified applicants than accidentally hire the wrong people. If you use these questions without reflection though, you’ll find they have a tendency to replicate...


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