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    How Would You Move Mount Fuji? Microsoft's Cult of the Puzzle - How the World's Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers
    by William Poundstone
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 May, 2003)
    list price: $22.95 -- our price: $15.61
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    Reviews (26)

    4-0 out of 5 stars IQ: Intelligence Quotient or Interview Questions?
    William Poundstone's previous books on logic, philosophy and science have long been favorites of mine, so a book on, ostensibly, interviewing at Microsoft sounded intriguing.

    Actually, the book's cover is somewhat misleading -- Microsoft reportedly doesn't use puzzle questions (much) anymore, and Poundstone spends almost as much time recounting the history of IQ testing, the psychology of puzzles, and pondering the changes in modern industrial workers -- so this book actually fits right in with Poundstone's other works.

    Do puzzles really measure intelligence?Nope, high aptitude at puzzle solving measures only one thing -- the ability to solve puzzles -- as Poundstone points out while discussing the curious membership of Mensa.And most observers today agree that no single parameter can define intelligence, which is a many-faceted and only-dimly-understood concept anyway.

    Perhaps most revealingly, Poundstone recounts studies which show that an interviewer usually makes up his mind about a candidate within the first few seconds of meeting her, and the rest of the interview is merely an exercise in confirming first impressions.

    So much for careful testing, eh?

    3-0 out of 5 stars Depends on what you're looking for...
    I bought and read this book thinking it was focused on solving puzzles.Looking back it was probably my mistake.This book focuses mainly on the recent history of puzzles, and to an extent the merit of IQ tests.Focusing mainly on Microsoft, the book goes through their previous hiring rituals.There are few puzzles directly talked about in the book, most of which puzzle buffs will likely have come across in some form or another.Like I said, it's not a bad book, I finished in about 2 days, but don't expect too much material directly related to puzzle solving.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mount Fuji falls like a ton of bricks on puzzle interviews!
    I'll admit that I bought this book initially to learn more about the fabled Microsoft puzzle interview to prepare for an interview with a company notorious for...puzzle interviews.As far as that goes, it did a good job of focusing my preparation and making sure I knew how to solve all the different kinds of puzzles (and I passed the interview).

    What I found far more valuable was the discussion of what was wrong with being overly dependent upon puzzle solving in the hiring decision.Now don't get me wrong--I grew up reading Martin Gardner columns in Scientific American and I love solving puzzles.I believe that the ability to solve puzzles is a valuable trait, particularly if I can get a high-paying job just because of it.

    But as Mr. Poundstone points out, puzzle solving in an interview can be subverted by advanced preparation and suffers from the Aha! factor of solving a problem by a stroke of inspiration rather than logical thought.Duh, part of the rationale for his book is to help you subvert the system.The best and final chapter gives suggestions for how to conduct interviews that are more fair--fair in the statistical sense of being unbiased and giving uniform results.

    I recommend this book to interviewees that want to outsmart lax companies, but I would wonder why you want to work for people dumb enough to let you do that?I really recommend this book to interviewers who want to know what the candidates are up to so that they can do a better job of finding smart rather than outsmarting people.

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0316919160
    Sales Rank: 1674
    Subjects:  1. Business & Economics    2. Business / Economics / Finance    3. Business/Economics    4. Careers - General    5. Careers - Interviewing    6. Careers - Job Hunting    7. Employment interviewing    8. Human Resources & Personnel Management    9. Interviewing    10. Microsoft Corporation    11. Personnel And Human Resources Management    12. Business & Economics / Careers   


    Spies, Pop Flies, and French Fries : Stories I Told My Favorite Visitors to the CIA Exhibit Center
    by Linda McCarthy
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 May, 1999)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $19.95
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    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Spies, Pop Flies, and French Fries
    Entertaining, interesting and educational.The author providesfascinating behind the scenes information not to be found elsewhere.The"Operation Explore More" sections at the end of each chapterprovide additional resources for those who wish to learn more.This bookis not only a good read, it would be an excellent resource for teachers whowant to liven up the classroom.

    This book is a must-have!The author has found a previously untapped niche in the history of intelligence.Not only does she tell us about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from behind the scenes, but she alsobrings to life untold stories of intelligence from the back pages ofAmerica's history.If only I wish had read this book when I was a kid, Iwould have been totally engaged.Instead of the typical dry facts, thedetailed descriptions of these characters seem to jump off the pages andget to know you.The author includes stories about intelligence maneuversduring the Civil War, heroism by black cavalrymen known as the BuffaloSolders, a courageous World War II spy named Virginia Hall, Navajo Indiansas military code breakers, a baseball player's role in uncovering NaziGermany's atomic bomb capabilities, and the reason that George Washingtonis considered America's first Director of Central Intelligence.The bookis also richly illustrated with photographs and drawings of thesecharacters and the artifacts described.I got this book after I heard theauthor being interviewed on National Public Radio, and am delighted withit.This is a fun, informative and a totally different way ofunderstanding American history, especially the history of intelligence.Itwould be a great book to give to children who are reluctant historystudents to get them reading about our country's fascinating past.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
    "Spies, Pop Flies, and French Fries" is a deliciously serendipitous discovery. Whatever could spies have in common with pop flies . . . or, yet more outrageously, with french fries?And then to discover,of all things, that the CIA has a museum -- it does, but you and I areunlikely candidates for invitations to see it -- and that the authorherself created and maintained it for several years before her retirementfrom the agency. Inasmuch as we will probably never see this elite innersanctum (and, of course, don't even think of it for the entertainment ofout-of-town guests), it's a fortunate thing that Ms. McCarthy has given usthis eminently readable peek into the impenetrable world of spookdom.

    With delightful wit and relish she recounts historical highlights of thearcane and mysterious world of intelligence and counterintelligence datingback to the very founding of the country.In a curious and almost perverseway, it's comforting to know that, throughout our history, as the majorityof us openly struggled and fought for patriotic principles of the moral,the right and the good, we've always been well-served by a cadre ofdedicated secret agents willing -- perhaps even preferring -- to expresstheir patriotism through clandestine and furtive means.

    And ahighly unlikely cast of characters they frequently are.Two in particularcaught this reader's fancy.One, a quiet well-bred Southern belle by thename of Virginia Hall, served as an undercover agent in Europe during WorldWar II under the auspices of the Office of Strategic Services.With anoutstanding command of languages, and even with a physical handicap (shewas nicknamed "The Limping Lady of the O.S.S."), Miss Hall wasable to surreptitiously move about behind German lines picking up sensitiveinformation which was then, coded, sent back to Allied headquarters.Soeffective was she that she was known by the Gestapo as "one of themost dangerous Allied agents in France."

    A second surprise wasMoe Berg -- major league baseball catcher (for the Washington Senators andBoston Red Sox), linguist, attorney, scholar, and O. S. S. agent -- who,charged with discovering whether Nazi Germany presented any threat ofdeveloping a nuclear weapon -- had it within his power to assassinateGerman's leading nuclear physicist if he found the threat to be real.P.S. He didn't.

    So much for the connection between the spies and thepop flies in the title of the book."French fries," however, isyet another story, which you will discover for yourself.

    Ms.McCarthy has made an important contribution by presenting this materialsuccinctly and with solid historical documentation behind it.Besides,it's a great read. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0966953800
    Sales Rank: 743339
    Subjects:  1. Central Intelligence Agency    2. General    3. History    4. History: American    5. Intelligence service    6. Museums    7. United States    8. United States.    9. Virginia   


    Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow : The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure
    by Maria Coffey
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (11 November, 2003)
    list price: $23.95 -- our price: $16.29
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    Reviews (9)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Darwin rules
    I loved this book, but probably not for the reasons of most other readers.It reminded me of the Darwin Rules website and books celebrating the ways in which people find to remove themselves from the gene pool.
    Surely this applies to mountaineers!This is my conclusion after reading Maria Coffey's engaging book.She relates harrowing tale after harrowing tale in which these absurd risk takers try again and again to kill themselves.Eventually they all seem to succeded.
    It becomes hilarious after about the fourth chapter.
    Coffey does not try to make us feel sorry for those left behind.This is a wise ploy as it would only soften the impact of what she has to say, which is that these people cannot be helped, but perhaps understood.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Asks all the right questions
    A terrific successor to Fragile Edge by the same author. That book was a personal journey - a quest for answers -followed by the author after the death of her famous mountain climber boyfriend on the slopes of Everest.

    This book looks at the effect of following this most dangerous of passions on the partners left behind and some who sometimes accompany their loved ones. Even more interestingly, Maria Coffey looks at the point of views of those who have no choice in their relationships with those whose addiction seems as self-serving and as inevitable as any other addiction - parents and children.

    I really liked Coffey's earlier book, and I recommend this one as much. I believe she has matured as a writer as well. She has the knack of addressing very large picture issues yet not losing sight of the personal and `small moments'.

    Some of the personal testimonies about coming to terms with loss and dealing with grief are true not only for losses under such circumstances, but there are some universal truths particularly for anyone who has had to deal with death and the "loss of a future", rather than a mere celebration of a life fulfilled (as many older person funerals have become in my culture in recent years).

    An understated but important subtext for me is what this has to say about gender relations. It is no accident that most of those off risking their lives, and the fur=tures of those around them are male. Ms Coffey does touch on this, and especially the unusual circumstance of women with children who still pursue the apex of whatever mass of rock and ice they have their heart set on. However, she never table thumps an agenda . . . you are lft to ponder your own conclusions.

    A remarkable achievement.That Ms Coffey has the confidence of so many associated with the pursuit is a testament to her insight and empathy.

    I rate this alongside Ed Douglas's book "Chomolungma Sings The Blues" as my favourite books discussing ethical and spititual concerns about mountaineering.

    5-0 out of 5 stars powerful thoughts on unanswerable questions
    Losing a friend or loved one is never an easy process, but it becomes even more tangled when they leave for a mountain adventure and never return.I first experienced this in the early 70's when 3 close friends were killed while attempting Mt. Elias in Canada.Maria Coffey examines how climbers and their families and friends cope with the devastating losses that shadow this sport.
    She begins with a search for why people climb in the first place, and in particular why they continue after close calls; without becoming banal, she quotes Jim Wickwire, "One of the addictive aspects of climbing is that it allows you to be in the present moment in ways that are impossible in ordinary life".Similar thoughts come from Csikszentmihalyi's concept of 'flow' - which finds that the "enjoyment of risk comes not from the danger itself but from managing it, from the sense of exercising control in difficult situations."And then, there's the ultimate mountaineering existential futility of Camus' Sisyphus facing an "unspeakable penalty in which the whole being is exerted toward accomplishing nothing... Each atom of that stone , each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world.The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart".
    The bulk of this powerful book interviews the survivors and comrades of lost climbers.At times, its difficult to read, but the feelings expressed range from acceptance to anger and denial.In most cases, there is a community of shared experience and values.Whether you're an active climber or arm chair mountaineer this book gives a much needed balance to the hyberbolic tales of expedition climbing. And for those of us who have lost people to the mountains it offers, not comfort, but a stoic acceptance. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0312290659
    Sales Rank: 222921
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Mountaineering    3. Mountaineers    4. Outdoor Life    5. Sports    6. Sports & Recreation    7. Sports - General    8. Sports & Recreation / Mountaineering   


    Surviving the Extremes: A Doctor's Journey to the Limits of Human Endurance
    by Kenneth Kamler
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (20 January, 2004)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Medical case studies can be fascinating to read, full of drama, heroism,and sometimes tragedy. Most doctors' tales take place in clinics orhospitals, but those pedestrian settings are not for Kenneth Kamler, whopractices medicine outside, patching people up with surprising successunder harrowing conditions. Surviving the Extremes starts withopen-air surgery in the steamy jungles of the Amazon River, moves todisturbingly detailed descriptions of the many ways humans can die atsea, and from there takes white-knuckled readers through the rest ofEarth's extreme environments. Krakauer fans will gasp at the book's bestchapter, covering the high-altitude medical feats Kamler has performedon Mt. Everest and other peaks. "No course in medical school taught methe proper mixture of oxygen, IV fluids, and Tibetan chants to treat asubdural hematoma in below-zero temperatures on a 3-mile-high glacier,"Kamler writes. Instead, he has learned the fine art of adventuredoctoring by doing it, and in the process, he's won fans among theworld's most prominent risk-takers. Through it all, Kamler remainsfascinated by the human body's ability to heal under horrificallydangerous conditions. His medical adventures are inspiring andthrilling, as well as occasionally bloody and disgusting. In short,perfect stories of human survival. --Therese Littleton ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not flawless, but very good!
    I liked this book a lot. It had strengths and weaknesses; obviously the author is very knowledgable about an area of medicine that doesn't get much attention most of the time. Kamler is clearly a neat guy, with lively interests, and he seems to have been literally everywhere and done everything! But in reading his book I got the feeling that he is very, very, very impressed with himself. Sometimes the book seemed less about the physiology and environments than it was about the number of times that Kenneth Kamler, M.D. has saved the day. This could be a bit annoying at times.
    The stuff I found most interesting was the material on the high elevation (particularly timely since a Canadian explorer just died on Mt Everest) and the "lost-at-sea" stuff. I thought the descriptions of how the body gradually shuts down under various circumstances were really interesting. I was a bit dismayed that there wasn't much about survival on polar expeditions, and I found a few minor technical errors here and there. A few pictures or diagrams would have added a lot to the text. But it was a very good book, and certainly kept me reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Liked This Book
    Very well written and fodder for the imagination...a must for couch potatoes that live their lives through others everywhere!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
    I've been and probably will be again in situations along these lines. It's good to know some of these things.

    Caught a typo where he describes the Jerboa having a tale (instead of tail). A gaffe where he says that proteins are the keys to genes. (Should be DNA, although proteins are integral to the form and functioning of chromosomes.)

    All in all a great read. I was surprised he didn't mention Cabeza de Vaca's ordeal of survival walking across from Florida to Spanish settlement in Mexico almost 500 years ago after being shipwrecked.

    I've had the thought sometimes of working on a field medicince support book that would give directions for how to make a scalpel, how to anesthetize a patient, and things like that in primitive conditions. I thought about that after spending some time with a Russian born and trained former military physician who knew a tremendous amount about how to walk in with nothing at all but bare hands and knowledge. I don't have all that knowledge, but somebody should compile it.

    Like the old guys would say - "Never say die kid! Just get up again, no matter what." ... Read more

    Isbn: 0312280777
    Subjects:  1. Environmental health    2. Extreme environments    3. General    4. Human Physiology +    5. Infectious Diseases    6. Life Sciences - Biophysics    7. Life Sciences - Human Anatomy & Physiology    8. Physiological effect    9. Science    10. Science/Mathematics    11. Sports & Recreation / General   


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