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by William Poundstone (Oneworld £16.99, 320pp)

Jack is looking at Ann. Ann is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?

If, like me and virtually everyone else who hears this question, you replied ‘It depends on whether Ann’s married’, then you need to read this book.

Especially if you’re about to go for a job interview.

Many firms these days use such puzzles as part of their recruitment process. William Poundstone has collected some of the most common examples, with the aim of helping would-be employees get their brains working in the right way. He’s also thrown in some ‘history of the job interview’ material, and produced an entertaining book we can all enjoy.

William Poundstone has penned an intriguing book about the most common questions asked in job interviews. Pictured: Albert Einstein

Thomas Edison, for instance, wrote a list of 146 ‘exceedingly simple’ questions to judge the people who wanted to work for him. Among them was: ‘What is the speed of sound?’ A newspaper tested Albert Einstein on this. The scientist replied that ‘he could not say off-hand . . . He did not carry such information in his mind, but it was readily available in textbooks.’ I think this says an awful lot about so-called ‘important’ information.

Similarly refreshing is Elon Musk, with his scepticism about academic qualifications. ‘There’s no need to have a college degree at all,’ he says, ‘or even high school’ for a job at his companies Tesla and SpaceX.

Instead Musk is interested in your ability to think and reason. His favourite interview question, which he used to ask all employees (even janitors), was: ‘You’re standing on the surface of the Earth. You walk one mile south, one mile west and one mile north. You end up exactly where you started. Where are you?’

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If an interviewee replied ‘the North Pole’, Musk would say they were correct, but then ask ‘Where else could it be?’ As the book shows, there are an infinite number of points, all of them just over a mile north of the South Pole.

You walk south, then west ‘all the way around the world’ in a one-mile circle centred on the Pole, then north to where you started. (This is tricky to explain — the book’s illustrations help.)

Some modern companies sift job applicants by getting them to complete tests online, where part of the score is for reaction times. It’s all a long way from 1941, when Bletchley Park recruited codebreakers by secretly contacting the winners of the Daily Telegraph’s cryptic crossword competition.

Some questions are a matter of estimation. For example: ‘How much does the Empire State Building weigh?’ This is just a case of guessing its size, how much of it is made from which materials and so on. You’re being assessed on how well you can reason, as much as on accuracy. For what it’s worth, the building’s current owners say it weighs 365,000 tons.

HOW DO YOU FIGHT A HORSE-SIZED DUCK? by William Poundstone (Oneworld £16.99, 320pp)

Then there are the basic maths questions, which can often be deceptive. If you drive the first lap of a racetrack at an average of 60 miles per hour, how fast do you have to go on your second lap to average 120 miles per hour overall? The answer is that it’s impossible.

Even if you drove at a million miles per hour, you could never get your average up to 120. That’s because you’ve taken all the allotted time on the first lap.

An easier way to envisage the same principle is ‘If I’m allowed to average one doughnut per day over a week, and I eat seven doughnuts on the first day, how many am I allowed from then on?’

Probability features heavily, and again it can trip you up. ‘Every day you go to the subway station and take the first train that arrives. Uptown and downtown trains are equally frequent, but 90 per cent of the time you end up taking an uptown train. Why should this be?’ The key here is not just the frequency of the trains, but the times at which they arrive.

Say the uptown trains arrive at 5.10, 5.20, 5.30 and so on, while the downtown trains are at 5.11, 5.21, 5.31 … There is a 90 per cent chance you’ll arrive between, for instance, 5.11 and 5.20, and therefore take the 5.20 uptown train, but only a 10 per cent chance you’ll arrive between 5.20 and 5.21, taking the 5.21 downtown train.

Poundstone also tackles the ‘oddball’ queries, such as ‘You’re a new crayon in the box — what colour would you be?’ He says there’s no correct answer, but to my mind there is, and it’s ‘p*** off’. Overall, though, the book is highly informative and amusing.

And that ‘married/unmarried’ question? The answer is that whatever Ann’s status, a married person is looking at an unmarried one. If Ann’s married, it’s her looking at George. If she isn’t, it’s Jack looking at her.

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Tags: topics index he says he says the answer is looking a married person the most common miles per hour downtown train the first lap on the first part to work

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The Seattle Kraken reportedly have their eyes on Rick Tocchet. 

© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports Rick Tocchet is a finalist for the Kraken job.

The former Arizona Coyotes head coach is a finalist to become Seattle's first-ever bench boss, according to Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman. 

It was reported last month that Tocchet had interviews lined up for the Kraken and New York Rangers, who ended up hiring Gerard Gallant as their next head coach earlier this week. 

Tocchet and the Coyotes parted ways last month after four seasons. The 57-year-old compiled a 125-131-34 record in Arizona, qualifying for the playoffs just once during his tenure. 

Tocchet won back-to-back championships as an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He was also head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2008-10. 

The Ontario native had an 18-year NHL career before he became a coach. He tallied 440 goals and 512 assists in 1,144 games with the Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. He won the Stanley Cup as a player with the Penguins in 1992. 

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Full screen 1/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Which players have scored the most points in NHL postseason history? When we think of the careers of NHL players, we think about their point totals. You know, how Wayne Gretzky has more assists than anybody else has points or Alex Ovechkin gunning for the Great One’s goal record. However, that’s all about the regular season. Let’s not forget the playoffs! After all, the goal is to hoist the Stanley Cup, right? Just as with regular-season points, playoff points are tallied and cataloged. Which players have the most career postseason points? These are the top 25, all of whom have scored 160 playoff points or more. 2/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Gordie Howe We start with Mr. Hockey himself. Howe played a lot of his career at a time when the postseason was quite a bit shorter, so he didn’t play in as many games on a year-to-year basis. Of course, he also stuck around for a long time which helped him accrue 160 playoff points. However, there’s something his son Mark can say that even Gordie can’t. Mark had 92 career postseason points in the WHA, the most of any player in that league. 3/26 SLIDES © Graig Abel/Getty Images Mike Bossy When you talk about Bossy as a player, you are required by law to mention that he could have had even better numbers. Due to injuries the Hall of Famer only played until he was 30 and retired after 10 seasons. The Islanders made the playoffs in all 10 of those seasons and won four Cups, giving Bossy the chance to rack up 160 points as well. 4/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images Bobby Smith Smith is the only player on this list who is not either in the Hall of Fame or a lock to make it someday. He won the Calder as a rookie with the Minnesota North Stars and won a Cup with Montreal in 1986, but he was never a truly elite player. That being said, he had 160 playoff points to go with 1,036 regular-season points, so nobody can knock his career by any means. Slideshow continues on the next slide 5/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Al Macinnis Our first defenseman on this list is also the last of four players to finish their careers with 160 postseason points. MacInnis was famed for his huge slap shot, as he was one of the rare players who could get over 100 miles per hour on a slapper in the days of wooden sticks. Those big shots certainly helped him on the points front. 6/26 SLIDES © Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images Denis Potvin Rangers fans are never happy to see Potvin’s name, but the Islanders legend is another member of that ‘80s squad that won four Cups in a row. When you are playing that deep into the playoffs, especially in the offense-happy 190s, you are going to rack up the points. Potvin had 164 of them in the postseason. 7/26 SLIDES © Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Evgeni Malkin Malkin is the first active player on this list, and one of only two total. Given that the Penguins are a perennial playoff team and Malkin likely has a few years left in him, he can probably climb further up the list, maybe even into the top 10. For now, Geno has 169 playoff points. 8/26 SLIDES © Brian Bahr/Getty Images Peter Forsberg Forsberg’s career was shorter than you might have realized, and also hindered by injury and NHL lockouts. He played in 708 career regular-season games, but in that time won a Calder, an Art Ross, and a Hart in his Hall of Fame career. The Swede added 151 playoff games where he often dominated, tallying 171 points and winning two Cups. 9/26 SLIDES © Allsport/Allsport Mario Lemieux It’s maybe a little surprising to see Lemieux this far down the list. Super Mario is an all-time legend of the game and won two Cups with the Penguins. Surely he would be in the top 10, right? Apparently not, as Lemieux had “only” 172 postseason points, which is “only” good for 18th. Slideshow continues on the next slide 10/26 SLIDES © Graig Abel/Getty Images Denis Savard Considering that the Blackhawks didn’t win a Stanley Cup from 1961 until well after Savard was retired, it’s a bit of a surprise that Savard managed to accumulate so many playoff points. The master of the “spin-o-rama” move, Savard played a long time, including a stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that was over a decade from existence when he started his career. Savard played in 16 postseasons and notched 175 points. 11/26 SLIDES © Glenn Cratty/Getty Images Sergei Fedorov Fedorov began his career just as the Red Wings were becoming a juggernaut that would win three Cups with him. The Russian was a defensive stalwart, winning the Selke twice. Of course, he could also rack up points, and tallied 176 in the playoffs before retiring. 12/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Jean Beliveau Beliveau also retired with 176 postseason points. He spent all 20 of his seasons with the Montreal Canadiens during a time when they were going from dynasty to dynasty. Beliveau played in 17 postseasons and won a whopping 10 Stanley Cups. Even in shorter postseasons that meant a lot of time to tally points. 13/26 SLIDES © Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images Ray Bourque Famously, Bourque left the Bruins after many years to join the Avalanche to try and win a Cup. Fortunately for him, it worked out. Not that the defenseman didn’t do his best to get the Bruins a Cup of their own. You don’t notch 180 playoff points in just one postseason. 14/26 SLIDES © Graig Abel/Getty Images Bryan Trottier Trottier is the top guy on this list from those Islanders dynasty teams. The secret, beyond his tremendous skill? He played 18 seasons and made the playoffs 17 times, which means he got a lot more bites at the apple than Bossy. Also, he joined the Penguins later in his career, winning two more Cups before retiring and helping himself reach 183 points. Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/26 SLIDES © Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images Nicklas Lidstrom Lidstrom is the best defenseman of his generation, and maybe the best defenseman ever, so it’s no surprise that he’s on this list. The Swede picked up a whopping seven Norris trophies in the regular season and added four Cups in the postseason. Oh, and 183 postseason points. 16/26 SLIDES © Focus on Sport/Getty Images Steve Yzerman From one Red Wing to another. Lidstrom and Yzerman were the pillars of the Red Wings dynasty. In fact, when Steve Y retired, Lidstrom took over from “The Captain” as, well, the captain. Yzerman’s early years as a Wing did not yield many playoff appearances, but he still finished with 185 points in the playoffs. 17/26 SLIDES © Garrett Ellwood/NHLImages Joe Sakic We enter the top 10 with a player who was on the other side of the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry in the ‘90s. Sakic is Mr. Colorado in many ways. He played his entire career with the franchise – starting in Quebec – and then joined the front office to run the team. Sakic once had 34 points in a single postseason, and all in all he had 188 of them. 18/26 SLIDES © Graig Abel/Getty Images Doug Gilmour Gilmour doesn’t have the same reputation as Sakic. He never won a Conn Smythe or a Hart. What Gilmour does have, though, is 188 playoff points, the same as Sakic. Sure, it took him 182 games to do it over 17 seasons, but that’s still impressive. He also did it for six different franchises, as opposed to the one-team man Sakic. 19/26 SLIDES © Philip G. Pavely/USA TODAY Sports Sidney Crosby We get to our second, and final, active player on this list. In the battle between Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, you can definitely point to Crosby’s playoff success as a big factor in his favor. Crosby has hoisted multiple Cups and notched 189 postseason points. By the time he retires, he will almost definitely be in the top five. 20/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Brett Hull Brett Hull and his big slap shot racked up a ton of goals in his career. In the regular season, he had 741 of them, the fourth most of all-time. Then, Hull added 103 more goals in the playoffs to go along with 87 assists, giving him 190 playoff points. 21/26 SLIDES © B. Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Paul Coffey Coffey is the defenseman with the most points in postseason history. He played for a long time and had a knack for joining up with teams loaded with talent that made lengthy playoff runs. Or maybe they made those runs because Coffey was on the team? Either way, he had 196 playoff points. 22/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Jaromir Jagr Jagr is the first player on this list that has over 200 postseason points. He’s also the highest-ranked player on this list that wasn’t part of a specific dynasty. In a way, that’s another honor to throw on his name. Let’s not forget Jagr’s sojourn to the KHL for a few years as well. He could have had even more than 201 playoff points. 23/26 SLIDES © B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Glenn Anderson Was Anderson a great player? Sure. He had 498 career goals and is in the Hall of Fame. However, he was definitely a product of the team he spent the bulk of his career on. The first decade of his time in the NHL was spent with the Edmonton Oilers. You know, the team that won four Cups in five seasons and added a fifth in 1990. Anderson had 214 playoff points, and that’s definitely impressive. We also just have to note the three players ahead of him were all his teammates for those ‘80s Oilers teams. 24/26 SLIDES © B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Jari Kurri The Finnish superstar once had over 60 goals in three straight seasons. That would make you a legend now, but in the ‘80s that was a bit easier. He never led the NHL in goals, after all. Kurri then left the Oilers to join the Kings, along with a teammate you’ve heard of and added some more postseason points. In the end, Kurri retired with 601 regular-season goals and 233 playoff points. 25/26 SLIDES © Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images Mark Messier There is a huge jump from Kurri to Messier. Moose had a whopping 295 playoff points. Of course, it wasn’t all about the Oilers. Famously, Messier moved from Edmonton to New York and led the Rangers to a Stanley Cup in 1994, ending a 54-year Cup drought. He had 30 points in those playoffs. 26/26 SLIDES © Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images Wayne Gretzky Well, we are talking about points and the NHL. Who else would be on top of this list but Gretzky? The Great One is a big reason why the top-four players are all Oilers. However, Gretzky’s numbers are truly insane. He retired with a staggering 382 playoff points. That’s almost 100 more than Messier! Gretzky had more playoff points than Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic combined. Truly, he was one of a kind. 26/26 SLIDES

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