"How Would You Move Mount Fuji?", by William Poundstone

Brian Gongol

One-paragraph review: "How Would You Move Mount Fuji?" is a book that runs on three parallel tracks: First, it could be considered a guidebook for people who may be applying for jobs at Microsoft (or firms that use a Microsoft-like approach to hiring). Second, it could be read as a book full of brain-teaser puzzles. Third, it could be read as a potential guide to hiring practices for employers. It's most likely a very valuable tool for readers in the first situation, reasonably entertaining for those in the second, and it certainly qualifies as worthwhile reading in the third. It's widely acknowledged that hiring well is both a critical function for a business and simultaneously one of the hardest things to do well. Any tool that helps to sort out good potential candidates from those who are just good at "playing to the test" has to be of interest to prospective employers. While this book doesn't offer a laser focus on that (since it's also serving two other purposes), it does offer some fairly original angles on the process of hiring well. As represented in the book, Microsoft's approach seeks to tease out the applicant's thinking process, which is essential to their potential for success -- alongside their character and energy, which are both much harder to ascertain from an interview.

Verdict: Strongly recommended for job applicants and managers with hiring authority