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Posted August 18, 2003
An excellent work; interesting; thought-provoking; tractable; and genuinely helpful: Poundstone goes far, far beyond the conventional job interview prep-books that advise readers to use action words or to prepare stock answers for hackneyed questions. And Poundstone goes beyond the usually puzzle books, too. Poundstone is focused on the value of demonstrable clear thinking for businesses, job seekers, and candidate interviewers. Poundstone starts with a brief history of the evolution of intelligence tests, thought-provoking interview questions and puzzles, and their values and weaknesses. There is a long list of sample questions and puzzles--more examples than one would see in a lifetime of interviewing--and a separate chapter with answers and (more importantly) explanations of the logic need to get to the answer, if there is one. Of course, interviewers are searching for the same strengths in problem solving that they hope candidates can and will apply to their new jobs, if hired. After answering many of the sample questions, certain patterns form. Poundstone then talks about these ¿meta-puzzles,¿ that is the fundamental and generic roots of many puzzles and questions, so the reader can prepare for twists and restatements of puzzles. Finally there are excellent resource and bibliography sections. This book is not bedtime reading; it is vigorous mental exercise: Prepare paper and pen to scratch and to scribble all possible outcomes to a few questions, and thus find remarkable solutions. Put yourself in the situation, to see as an uninterested overhead observer cannot. Imagine all possible outcomes--including the right one--to avoid obvious (and incorrect) answers. Alternate between the real-world and mathematical-analogies. Persevere. (Poundstone makes much of the value of demonstrating good reasoning skills, but without perseverance there are few good answers. Equally important for job seekers and candidate evaluators, the absence or presence of both perseverance and clear thinking says something profound about future performance, work, and suitability. You may be surprised at the effort required by 1 or 2 minutes of concentration and work on some solutions.) Remember, as far as some computer companies are concerned, solutions are preferred when they use classic programming techniques like reiteration, recursion, working backwards, counting in binary, and manipulating many cases and big numbers. See if you have ¿similar but different¿ solutions. And see if you too challenge some of Poundstone¿s ¿answers¿: Everest is not 35,000 feet high. A truly ¿infinite¿ series has unlimited terms, not just many. Four chasing dogs will meet almost immediately in a small 3-foot cage; take longer-and-longer in a larger-and-larger fenced farm; and never meet when rendered into small imaginary dots in an unending geometric spiral.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 20, 2011
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