why are manhole covers round?

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pages: 260 words: 77,007

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

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, cloud computing, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, full text search, hiring and firing, How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?, index card, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, lateral thinking, loss aversion, mental accounting, Monty Hall problem, new economy, Paul Erdős, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Spirit Level, Tony Hsieh, why are manhole covers round?, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

It’s like the candidate is an indie film: better to inspire passion in somebody than to try to please everybody. The flip side of this is that getting a single poor review isn’t so bad. The Obama Question Google’s interviewers are discouraged from asking the traditional brainteasers popular at other companies, like “Why are manhole covers round?” They’re also not supposed to test candidates’ knowledge with trivia questions like the following. ? Explain the significance of “dead beef.” Nor are they supposed to haze interviewees with cryptic demands like this one. ? There’s a latency problem in South Africa. Diagnose it.

Five Engineers and How Not to Think Like Them The Value of Keeping Things Simple The great physicist Richard Feynman once applied for a job at Microsoft (so runs the guaranteed-apocryphal story). “Well, well, Dr. Feynman,” the interviewer began. “We don’t get many Nobel Prize winners, even at Microsoft! But before we can hire you, there’s a slight formality. We need to ask you a question to test your creative reasoning ability. The question is, why are manhole covers round?” “That’s a ridiculous question,” Feynman said. “For one thing, not all covers are round. Some are square!” “But considering just the round ones, now,” the interviewer went on, “why are they round?” “Why are round manhole covers round?! Round covers are round by definition! It’s a tautology.”

pages: 242 words: 71,938

The Google Resume: How to Prepare for a Career and Land a Job at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or Any Top Tech Company by Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell

barriers to entry, cloud computing, game design, information retrieval, job-hopping, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, why are manhole covers round?

How to Prepare Working with Your Recruiter Communication and Behavior Special Interview Types After the Interview Your Questions Answered Additional Resources Chapter 8: Interview Questions General Advice Acing the Standard Questions Behavioral and Résumé Questions Estimation Questions Design Questions Brainteasers: Why Are Manhole Covers Round? Answering the Tough Questions Your Questions Answered Additional Resources Chapter 9: The Programming Interview How They Differ: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple How to Prepare Memory Usage Coding Questions Algorithm Questions: Five Ways to Create an Algorithm Object-Oriented Design Scalability Questions Testing Interviews Example Problems Your Questions Answered Additional Resources Chapter 10: Getting into Gaming The Culture: Is It All Fun and Games?

If you had an infinite amount of money, how would you design a bathroom? 4. Most people hate bank web sites. Design a web site for a new bank. 5. Design the heating/air-conditioning controls for a car. Assume that you’re designing from scratch: no one has ever seen a car’s air-conditioning/heating controls. Brainteasers: Why Are Manhole Covers Round? Once standard at Microsoft and many other companies, brainteasers have dropped in popularity substantially. Interviewers are instead encouraged to ask behavioral or skill-specific interview questions. Unfortunately, they still pop up from time to time, either because no one can decide exactly what a brainteaser is, or because some interviewers still feel that these questions are an effective way of measuring intelligence.

pages: 230 words: 71,320

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

affirmative action, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, corporate raider, crew resource management, medical residency, old-boy network, Pearl River Delta, popular electronics, Silicon Valley, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, union organizing, upwardly mobile, why are manhole covers round?

High-tech companies like Google or Microsoft carefully measure the cognitive abilities of prospective employees out of the same belief: they are convinced that those at the very top of the IQ scale have the greatest potential. (At Microsoft, famously, job applicants are asked a battery of questions designed to test their smarts, including the classic “Why are manhole covers round?” If you don't know the answer to that question, you're not smart enough to work at Microsoft.*) If I had magical powers and offered to raise your IQ by 30 points, you'd say yesrightYou'd assume that would help you get further ahead in the world. And when we hear about someone like Chris Langan, our instinctive response is the same as Terman's instinctive response when he met Henry Cowell almost a century ago.

pages: 341 words: 95,752

Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, index card, microaggression, natural language processing, obamacare, Ronald Reagan, Steven Pinker, why are manhole covers round?

That is commitment to the dictionary that goes above and beyond. Sometimes the questions are ones that we cannot possibly answer. “I remember when I was handling the earliest e-mail correspondence,” Karen said. “Someone wrote to us and asked us where to buy beans.” Some of the more notable queries I’ve received include the following: Why are manhole covers round? Do woodchucks actually chuck wood? Why is the rainbow divided into seven colors, and why we do start with red? What should you look for when purchasing an Alaskan malamute? If you sneeze with your eyes open, will your eyeballs fall out? Can dogs dive three hundred feet? Are babies natural?

pages: 302 words: 100,493

Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets From Inside Amazon by Colin Bryar, Bill Carr

Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, business process, cloud computing, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, delayed gratification, en.wikipedia.org, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, late fees, loose coupling, microservices, Minecraft, performance metric, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs, subscription business, Toyota Production System, web application, why are manhole covers round?

Infamously, he would ask the candidate for their SAT scores, even if the candidate was interviewing for a job in customer support or at the distribution center, where the score wasn’t relevant. Jeff has high academic standards and a bias for people who are similarly academically accomplished. As company lore has it, Jeff also liked to ask random quiz questions, such as “How many passengers fly through LAX in a year?” or “Why are manhole covers round?” As a result, many of the early hires at Amazon had advanced degrees from highly regarded universities and were good at devising answers to left-field questions. (There are several reasons manhole covers are round. One is that round covers can’t fall into round holes. Another is that they’re easy to roll.)

pages: 380 words: 118,675

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bank run, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, buy and hold, call centre, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, game design, housing crisis, invention of movable type, inventory management, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kodak vs Instagram, late fees, loose coupling, low skilled workers, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, optical character recognition, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, quantitative hedge fund, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Rodney Brooks, search inside the book, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, skunkworks, Skype, statistical arbitrage, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Thomas L Friedman, Tony Hsieh, Whole Earth Catalog, why are manhole covers round?, zero-sum game

“If I’m able to join a company like yours at this early stage, I’d feel like I get to participate in something historic.” Bezos almost started yelling. “That is exactly how we think at Amazon.com! You watch. There will be a proliferation of companies in this space and most will die. There will be only a few enduring brands, and we will be one of them.” After a few moments of silence, Bezos asked, “So, why are manhole covers round?” “Jeff, if you want to get to the airport on time, you cannot ask me a question like that.” Bezos let loose a gunfire burst of laughter, startling Birtwistle, who almost veered off the highway. “No, seriously,” Bezos said. “How would you solve that problem?” “They’re round because it makes them easier to roll into place?”