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Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy

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You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? is a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed in today's job market.


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You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do? If you want to work at Google, or any of America's best companies, you need to have an answer to this and other puzzling questions. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? guides readers through the surprising solutions to dozens of the most challenging interview questions. The book covers the importance of creative thinking, ways to get a leg up on the competition, what your Facebook page says about you, and much more. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? is a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed in today's job market.

30 review for Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?: Trick Questions, Zen-like Riddles, Insanely Difficult Puzzles, and Other Devious Interviewing Techniques You Need to Know to Get a Job Anywhere in the New Economy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I don't really want to work at Google, but what a trippy little book! As a mother of two teens (ugh... really?) I often complain about how easy school is with the resources today's kids have and how little time they seem to spend actually working hard at academics. But I also realize that the demands on the brains of this generation are fantastically different. Where we remembered information, they much evaluate and analyze. Where we played Ms. Pacman and ate up power pills and little ghosts, th I don't really want to work at Google, but what a trippy little book! As a mother of two teens (ugh... really?) I often complain about how easy school is with the resources today's kids have and how little time they seem to spend actually working hard at academics. But I also realize that the demands on the brains of this generation are fantastically different. Where we remembered information, they much evaluate and analyze. Where we played Ms. Pacman and ate up power pills and little ghosts, they play games where they have to use different characters with different skills and attributes to solve multi-layered problems. The demands in the current workplace are and the workplace of the near future will be, by necessity, more complex, more dependent on lateral thinking and creativity, and much less focused on the idea of "one right answer." This book is less about being hired by Google and more about how to think purposefully and creatively. That said, would I be hired at Google? Dunno. Depends on how much time they'd spend listening to my problem solving. I was pleased that I came up with workable answers that weren't included in Poundstone's chapters. I also bailed on several and had issues with some of the lines of reasoning in others. All in all, this book was wicked fun and a challenge to be sure. There is food for thought here whether you are in the job market, in school, have kids in school, or just want to stretch your brain out a little bit. It is also a perfect pick for those of us with ADD - no need to read front to back here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is a fun book of puzzles of all types; mathematical, logical, algorithms, estimation, mind games and creativity. There is also lots of interview advice, when applying for a job. The advice is good not just for Google, but for many other companies as well. It was fun trying to solve the puzzles. Lots of them are quite tricky. I was able to solve some, others I flubbed. The book correctly points out that, even though lots of companies rely on such puzzles during interviews, they are not reliabl This is a fun book of puzzles of all types; mathematical, logical, algorithms, estimation, mind games and creativity. There is also lots of interview advice, when applying for a job. The advice is good not just for Google, but for many other companies as well. It was fun trying to solve the puzzles. Lots of them are quite tricky. I was able to solve some, others I flubbed. The book correctly points out that, even though lots of companies rely on such puzzles during interviews, they are not reliable predictors of eventual performance on the job. In fact, sometimes there is zero correlation between interview performance and job performance. The book mentions the "20% project" at Google, where employees are allowed to work on any idea they may have, for one day a week. The book cites a list of highly-regarded products that came out of these 20% projects. I recently read that, unfortunately, this perk has been rescinded at Google. The last half of the book supplies not just the answers to all the puzzles, but detailed explanations as well. The style of the writing has a light touch, and is often subtly humorous. I recommend the book for all those who like a diverse range of challenging puzzles.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grumpus

    The short answer to the title of this book is "No". I just started a new job in the past month and went through the interview process a couple of times and fortunately never had any questions like this. Still, its good to know the types of questions employers may be asking these days. This book would help you prepare your mind for that type of thinking and I would highly recommend this book if you were going to interview at Google. Also useful to scan in preparation for any interview because you The short answer to the title of this book is "No". I just started a new job in the past month and went through the interview process a couple of times and fortunately never had any questions like this. Still, its good to know the types of questions employers may be asking these days. This book would help you prepare your mind for that type of thinking and I would highly recommend this book if you were going to interview at Google. Also useful to scan in preparation for any interview because you never know who is sitting on the other side of the desk and what will be that ONE thing that sets you apart from the other candidates. In my opinion though, the book seemed to drone on and I found it very repetitious. Could it be possible it was just over my head? Nah. Ok, yes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    In a word, "No." Maybe it is my age, but if I ever sat down for a job interview and was asked: "You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in sixty seconds. What do you do?" I would refuse to answer such a ridiculous question. As I read that question on the second page, I remembered my stepsons at ages 13 and 14 arguing about whether Batman's car or the car of his nemesis was faster. They had been watching the animated TV series of Batman, and their arg In a word, "No." Maybe it is my age, but if I ever sat down for a job interview and was asked: "You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown in a blender. The blades start moving in sixty seconds. What do you do?" I would refuse to answer such a ridiculous question. As I read that question on the second page, I remembered my stepsons at ages 13 and 14 arguing about whether Batman's car or the car of his nemesis was faster. They had been watching the animated TV series of Batman, and their argument became quite heated. I wanted to yell at them that they were disagreeing about an animated TV show that by definition was not real and they were wasting their time and efforts because it was all nonsense. Google probably doesn't hire many 55 year olds. If you have a job interview with a company like Google (one that likes to hire creative smart people) read this book to prepare for stupid questions like the blender question or a more reasonable one that you just need a little warm up for like: What is 2^64? or How many golf balls will fit in a school bus? The second half of the book is devoted to finding the best way to solve each problem. If you are thinking of finding a new job or just like brainteasers, this may be a good book for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lukáš Zorád

    NO

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karly SL

    Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? is a fascinating look into the zany trickster interview questions and hiring practices common among industry leaders today. Poundstone has packed this little book with enough mind-bending riddles to make anyone go cross-eyed. Imagine, if you will, being in an interview and having any of these bad boys dropped onto your lap: "How would you weigh your head?" "How many bottles of shampoo are produced in the world in a year?" "Imagine a country where all the pare Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? is a fascinating look into the zany trickster interview questions and hiring practices common among industry leaders today. Poundstone has packed this little book with enough mind-bending riddles to make anyone go cross-eyed. Imagine, if you will, being in an interview and having any of these bad boys dropped onto your lap: "How would you weigh your head?" "How many bottles of shampoo are produced in the world in a year?" "Imagine a country where all the parents want to have a boy. Every family keeps having children until they have a boy; then they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in this country?" Many of the questions have no “correct” answer, but more accurately, the company has a “preferred” answer. And for inquiring minds, no, I am not smart enough to work at Google. Although, if I could combine the riddle busting powers of my boyfriend and I into one person we might have a fighting chance of being able to… submit a resume. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google? is a puzzle lover’s paradise. Readers are guaranteed a good time and a roller coaster of emotions ranging from pride "Victory! I am a genius!" to despair "Who would ever get that question right? This is totally ridiculous!."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Crina Bucur

    Great collection of brainteasers and logical puzzles to keep you entertained. The subtleties are thoroughly debated, explanations are satisfactory and the author gracefully manages not to be boring, even when getting technical. There is also a list of useful websites on the matter to refer to, at the end of the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aimeekay

    I loved this book! It was funny and informative. Poundstone presents some of the toughest interview questions that are actually being asked by companies today. In addition to the answers, he delves into the histories of the questions themselves. Who thought them up, how they relate to the job at hand, and how some don't have any relevance to the job at all, but why the interviewer is asking them anyway. I found the background on some of the questions almost as interesting as some of the question I loved this book! It was funny and informative. Poundstone presents some of the toughest interview questions that are actually being asked by companies today. In addition to the answers, he delves into the histories of the questions themselves. Who thought them up, how they relate to the job at hand, and how some don't have any relevance to the job at all, but why the interviewer is asking them anyway. I found the background on some of the questions almost as interesting as some of the questions themselves. It was also quite fun trying to figure out the answers. I read with two bookmarks. One keeping my place in beginning of the book, and one in the back were Poundstone had listed each questions answer in order that they had appeared in the book itself. I'm not going to even try to pretend that I have the genius to work at google, or some of the other companies that these questions were gleaned from, so it shouldn't be a surprise when I say that more often then not the answers I came up with were no where near correct. I still had fun though. The author also gave quite a few tips on what to do if you're hit with questions you don't quite know how to answer. How to brainstorm on the fly, ways to question you interviewer to buy time and get extra hints to help solve the problem. Also ways to phrase your answers so that even if they are wrong you don't look like a complete idiot. Plus other interview tips, such as making sure you research the company you are applying at and making sure you clean up your public sites, such as facebook or myspace, before applying. After all if you are googling them, then they definitely are googling you. Especially if the company you are applying for is GOOGLE!. Whether you have interviews looming in the near future, or if you just want to give your brain a good work out this book is definitely gonna help either way. Even if you plan on being the interviewer instead of the interviewee it might help. After all, according to the data the author presents, interviews really are no true reflection on how the applicant is actually going to perform on the job. But maybe if you use some of these more interesting questions, or versions of them, you can at least see who REALLY wants the job. (if they are going to put up with some of the crazier questions and actually try to answer them, then obviously they want it right?) In compliance with FTC guidelines, I'm disclosing that I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Polly

    Apparently, the answer for me is no. I kept getting frustrated and then feeling grateful I have a job. One where I get to work with computers and solve puzzles that make sense.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julia Hörmayer

    I absolutely love this book!!! I stumbled uponit at a huuuuge book shop in London, not even in the smart thinkers sections which I loved so much and where it actually would have fit, but somewhere else where I wasn't even interested in looking but mum and I met there (like I said, the store was huge). So I saw it, read the first like two pages and thought I had to buy it. I didn't regret it for a second. Honestly, this book is amazing. Thrilling, interesting, challenging. The logic puzzles (which I absolutely love this book!!! I stumbled uponit at a huuuuge book shop in London, not even in the smart thinkers sections which I loved so much and where it actually would have fit, but somewhere else where I wasn't even interested in looking but mum and I met there (like I said, the store was huge). So I saw it, read the first like two pages and thought I had to buy it. I didn't regret it for a second. Honestly, this book is amazing. Thrilling, interesting, challenging. The logic puzzles (which were the main part of this book) were great and though I felt super stupid not being able to answer the majority of them, I feel like I learned from that. Because once you got to the answer, it was simple and you got a little mad at yourself for not having thought of it earlier. I'll definitely buy the author's previous book too and search for similar ones. If you know some, please tell me!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I spent 9 months unemployed after graduation and going through the same job hunting process and interview style questions as mentioned in this book. I sucked at the interview questions, I was seriously useless but this book really is brilliant. It explains what interviewers are looking for and gives answers to many common questions you'll likely face. Certainly going to recommend this to my job-seeking friends and if i find myself unemployed and going to interviews, this will be my revision book I spent 9 months unemployed after graduation and going through the same job hunting process and interview style questions as mentioned in this book. I sucked at the interview questions, I was seriously useless but this book really is brilliant. It explains what interviewers are looking for and gives answers to many common questions you'll likely face. Certainly going to recommend this to my job-seeking friends and if i find myself unemployed and going to interviews, this will be my revision book the night before. I like the author's clear writing style and explanations, so I'll check out his other books as well now.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Avnish

    Nice book for puzzle lovers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angelino Desmet

    William Poundstone underscores the right mindset any person can and should develop. The emphasized traits are particularly essential considering our future characterized by continuous technological advancement. A time where key skills will be adaptability and a willingness to keep learning, no matter how much you fall. Since this book has been published, there has been an increasing amount of studies and literature exclaiming the importance of the 'growth mindset.' "Google it," is therefore, an William Poundstone underscores the right mindset any person can and should develop. The emphasized traits are particularly essential considering our future characterized by continuous technological advancement. A time where key skills will be adaptability and a willingness to keep learning, no matter how much you fall. Since this book has been published, there has been an increasing amount of studies and literature exclaiming the importance of the 'growth mindset.' "Google it," is therefore, an apt and timely suggestion. Aside from the main riddles for which the answers have a dedicated chapter, there are a couple of extra questions in the main text which don't have spoiler warnings; a minor nuisance. PS If riddles make you feel stupid, that's OK. Your brain is growing, provided that work for it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barb Johnson

    The answer is a resounding NO

  15. 4 out of 5

    Harshdeep Gupta

    The book has good questions along with light humor, good discussions on the why the hiring process is the way it is, and occasionally pulls legs of one of the major tech giants. The solutions are quite interesting and offered me a lot of new insights.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I've always heard how challenging the interview process is at Google, so I was very interested to hear more details. This book surely does not disappoint. It provides a behind-the-scenes account of the techniques, tricks, and ninja mind games that a job seeker might enounter...should they find themselves fortunate enough to have even received the golden lottery ticket invitation to interview at the Googleplex kingdom. Some (ok, most) of the torture, er, I mean interview, techniques used border o I've always heard how challenging the interview process is at Google, so I was very interested to hear more details. This book surely does not disappoint. It provides a behind-the-scenes account of the techniques, tricks, and ninja mind games that a job seeker might enounter...should they find themselves fortunate enough to have even received the golden lottery ticket invitation to interview at the Googleplex kingdom. Some (ok, most) of the torture, er, I mean interview, techniques used border on the sadistic and pathological. But then, I guess, if Google crowns you an employee, thereby bestowing upon you fame, fortune, and unlimited free massages & meals, the least you could do is shed some blood, sweat and tears in the process. Reading this book, I had to wonder...are rejected applicants, with heads hung in shame, paraded to the lion's pit to be devoured for the amusement of all anointed employees? Sadly, upon finishing this book, I came to the conclusion that "no", I was not smart enough to work at Google.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aysha

    1) What was interesting about the book? The book included many brain teasers and problems that you'd have to take time to think about. The fun part is that in the end, they are much easier to solve than you'd think. However, some problems are pretty difficult to understand. It was also interesting that the author included real life experiences of people who applied to the top companies in the world. A few of these experiences were good, while many were horrible. 2) What did you like about the boo 1) What was interesting about the book? The book included many brain teasers and problems that you'd have to take time to think about. The fun part is that in the end, they are much easier to solve than you'd think. However, some problems are pretty difficult to understand. It was also interesting that the author included real life experiences of people who applied to the top companies in the world. A few of these experiences were good, while many were horrible. 2) What did you like about the book? I really liked that it gave an idea of how top companies select workers and what characteristics they look for. Some of the things I read in this book really shocked me as I had never really thought about it that way. I liked how it explained certain things that employers at Google do to test the interviewee. 3) Would you recommend the book to other? Sure. In my opinion, I'm glad I read it. Now that I've read it, I know that some companies even look at your high school grades.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victor Lau

    I didn't really enjoy this book at all for some reasons. The introduction of the book is very enjoyable as it starts out with a guy named Jim who walks into google late and after the interview the interviewer says okay with and she proceeds to leave. It rants on about the benefits of working at Google and why Google is such a strenuous work place. The main reason I didn't enjoy this book as much is because of numerous problems and challenges inside. I think if the book had more information about I didn't really enjoy this book at all for some reasons. The introduction of the book is very enjoyable as it starts out with a guy named Jim who walks into google late and after the interview the interviewer says okay with and she proceeds to leave. It rants on about the benefits of working at Google and why Google is such a strenuous work place. The main reason I didn't enjoy this book as much is because of numerous problems and challenges inside. I think if the book had more information about Google and working there, it would be more intriguing. Overall this book is okay. I would recommend this book for people who enjoys working with problems and solving challenges. Basically this book is full of challenges.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Segan

    This book is all about Google. It asks you open ended questions and brain teasers, making you come up with answers the interviewer has never heard before. It will tell you the history of how Google, or Googal, was created and who it was created by. Many people try to get a job at Google, but few are qualified for it. When asked one of the brain teasing questions, you must consider your options, and then come up with and answer someone has never heard before. The interviewer will never tell you w This book is all about Google. It asks you open ended questions and brain teasers, making you come up with answers the interviewer has never heard before. It will tell you the history of how Google, or Googal, was created and who it was created by. Many people try to get a job at Google, but few are qualified for it. When asked one of the brain teasing questions, you must consider your options, and then come up with and answer someone has never heard before. The interviewer will never tell you whether you're doing good or bad. Coming up with answers is quite difficult. When answering, you must also explain your reasoning. That's the hardest part. If told you were an inch tall and stuck in a blender, and asked how to get out, you must come up with an efficient answer, and explain how.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fred Forbes

    Picked this up in Union Station, DC before a return to Tampa and found it an interesting way to pass the time. Since I am not going to facing tricky interview questions anytime soon, I thought it would be fun to tackle them as a puzzle and review the mental processes necessary to solve same. Some are nonsensical - How would you weigh your head?, but some are based in solid analytical and mathematical principals. And some are just fun to try to remember such as getting the lions and men across th Picked this up in Union Station, DC before a return to Tampa and found it an interesting way to pass the time. Since I am not going to facing tricky interview questions anytime soon, I thought it would be fun to tackle them as a puzzle and review the mental processes necessary to solve same. Some are nonsensical - How would you weigh your head?, but some are based in solid analytical and mathematical principals. And some are just fun to try to remember such as getting the lions and men across the river. But an entertaining way to pass some time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    This was special. Thought provoking analysis of cutting edge interview technique matched with very clever brain teasers. It's a little bit front loaded with good material, but I think anyone interested in interviewing for new positions or redeveloping their own organization's hiring process would find this book fun and useful. This was special. Thought provoking analysis of cutting edge interview technique matched with very clever brain teasers. It's a little bit front loaded with good material, but I think anyone interested in interviewing for new positions or redeveloping their own organization's hiring process would find this book fun and useful.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    While I'm definitely not smart enough to work at Google, I found the sections about hiring practices and interviewing "outside of the box" to be more interesting than the puzzles that I spectacularly failed at. While I do enjoy some logic puzzles, this book helped remind me why I hate math and wound up an English major ;) While I'm definitely not smart enough to work at Google, I found the sections about hiring practices and interviewing "outside of the box" to be more interesting than the puzzles that I spectacularly failed at. While I do enjoy some logic puzzles, this book helped remind me why I hate math and wound up an English major ;)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter Wu

    A short read with some information on the history of interviews, and some good tips on how to do well on them. And of course, loads of fun and challenging interview questions to keep your mind boggled.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Go Book Yourself

    The puzzles are (kind off) intersting. Th rest of the book is only worth skimming through.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    no, apparently i am totally not smart enough to work at google

  26. 5 out of 5

    Devin

    I guess not. Also I understand that recently Google ran the numbers and concluded that these jiggering techniques were miserable at predicting good employees.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Shanthanu

    Quite a few fun riddles and puzzles. The author has a flair for the dramatic and loves to exaggerate a bit, but it's all in good fun. Quite a few fun riddles and puzzles. The author has a flair for the dramatic and loves to exaggerate a bit, but it's all in good fun.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Federico Kereki

    A nice short read -- if you like puzzles, an interesting book, with plenty of questions to make you think.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Nope.

  30. 4 out of 5

    James

    I've found there are two tiers of popular non-fiction, which are broadly broadsheet and mid-market, and I thought this was in the second tier. It was researched without being truly comprehensive, and while the discussion was fairly short, it still read as though Poundstone had tried to boost the word count. It could just be that there is not enough material to fill a standard 300-page volume, and I thought the author got the tone right, explaining the answers in layman's terms without being patro I've found there are two tiers of popular non-fiction, which are broadly broadsheet and mid-market, and I thought this was in the second tier. It was researched without being truly comprehensive, and while the discussion was fairly short, it still read as though Poundstone had tried to boost the word count. It could just be that there is not enough material to fill a standard 300-page volume, and I thought the author got the tone right, explaining the answers in layman's terms without being patronising, and the discussion about the questions and answers themselves was well-executed. However, the preamble and wider discussion was disappointing. Poundstone would talk about wider trends and use this as an explanation as to why one individual company made the decisions it did, and a lot of content was fitted together poorly. The author didn't quote sources so I'm assuming he conducted many interviews, but their accounts were used in snippets and could surely have been put together to create a greater impression of what the format of any given interview would be, or as a basis of a more comprehensive account of how Google's recruitment policy had evolved over time. At times this was also treated as a bit of a guide, with tips on what to do with certain questions. The main issue is that these were not questions that could really be revised, and it would have worked better had Poundstone merely written this book as a journalistic account. The constituent parts were all there, and while I don't like books that follow a blueprint, it was as though this one was most focused on being accessible, rather than too intellectual. Yet anyone who would be put off its intellectual nature probably wouldn't want to spend a few hours attempting its puzzles.

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