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How Would You Move Mount Fuji? - A Book Summary
by: Regine Azurin
This article is based on the following book:
How Would You Move Mount Fuji?
"How the World’s Smartest Companies Select the Most Creative Thinkers"
By William Poundstone
Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2004
ISBN 0-316-77849-4
276 pages

Nowadays, job applicants are no longer surprised when they are asked the question: “Why are manhole covers round instead of square?” during a job interview. Puzzle-interviews have been emulated by numerous fortune 500 companies from Microsoft. Questions such as the above seek to separate the most creative thinkers from the
merely talented.

Logic puzzles, riddles, hypothetical questions and trick questions have long been used in computer-industry interviews. These are known as
“impossible questions” and are believed to measure the intelligence,
resourcefulness or “outside-the-box thinking” needed to survive in
today’s very competitive business environment.

Today, these impossible questions are also being used, not just in
computer-industry interviews, but in almost every line of business such as law firms, banks, consulting firms, insurance companies, the media and the armed forces.

The strangest thing about these impossible questions is that no one
knows the answer – not even the person who is asking. Still, people are being hired or not hired based on how well they answer the questions.

With the use of puzzles in the hiring process, companies try to weed out those who think on their feet and those who do not. All that matters is logic, imagination and problem-solving ability.

Puzzle interviews does more than test an individual’s I.Q. It is said to measure bandwidth, inventiveness, creative problem-solving ability
and outside-the-box thinking. Companies who use logic puzzles believe that they area better indicator of workplace success than other intelligence tests.

What happens when you are faced with a puzzle interview? You can use some of the below tips and techniques to outsmart the interviewer:

1. First decide what kind of answer is expected (monologue or dialogue).
Logic puzzles usually calls for a monologue. Design answers have single answers. Good answers show awareness that trade-offs exist.

2. Whatever you think of first is wrong. With puzzles and riddles, the first obvious answer that pops into mind is not usually the right answer.

3. Forget you ever learned calculus.

4. Big complicated questions usually have simple answers.

5. Simple questions often demand complicated answers.

6. “Perfectly logical beings” are not like you and me.

7. When you hit a brick wall, try to list the assumptions you are making.
See what happens when you reject each of these assumptions in succession.

8. When crucial information is missing in a logic puzzle, lay out the possible scenarios. You’ll almost always find that you don’t need the
missing information to solve the problem.

9. Where possible, give a good answer that the interviewer has never heard before.

About the Author:

William Poundstone is the author of nine books, including Carl Sagan: A Life in the Cosmos, Prisoner's Dilemma, Labyrinths of Reason, and the
popular Big Secrets series, which inspired two television network specials. He has written for Esquire, Harper's, The Economist, and the New York Times Book Review, and his science writing has been nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Los Angeles.

By: Regine P. Azurin
Regine Azurin is the President of, a company that provides business book summaries of the latest bestsellers for busy executives and entrepreneurs.
"A Lot Of Great Books....Too Little Time To Read"
Free Book Summaries Of Latest Bestsellers for Busy Executives and

BusinessSummaries is a service.
(c) Copyright 2001-2005, -
Wisdom In A Nutshell

About the Author

Regine Azurin is the President of, a company that provides business book summaries of the latest bestsellers for busy executives and entrepreneurs.


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