For years, I’ve heard about this well-known career book, and have always assumed it was nothing more than a detailed answer key for some of various “stress” or “puzzle” questions that companies such as Microsoft are notorious for using in the interview process. In preparation for a recent networking event I hosted, however, focused on working at Microsoft, I picked the book up for review — and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’d grossly underestimated it.
While “Moving Mount Fuji” does contain several chapters dedicated exclusively to common brainteaser interview questions, and how to answer them, the majority of the publication explores the history behind this style of hiring and whether it actually works in terms of identifying top-notch candidates. In this sense, it was a fascinating read, and the author (William Poundstone) approaches the material in a very objective and entertaining way, drawing upon his years of experience writing scientific and business articles for magazines such as Harpers, Esquire, and The Economist.
Overall, we’d rate this book a “must-read” for anybody who plans on pursuing a job with Microsoft — or any similar high-tech organization known to employ a stressful, puzzle-based interviewing style. Even for people opting for a more traditional career or company path, however, this book will be an enjoyable read and offer great insights into how corporations today are trying to win the war for top talent.