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I was looking on the internet for common interview questions. I came upon one that was about finding the occurrences of certain characters in an array. The solution written right below it was in my opinion very elegant. But then another thought came to my mind that, this solution is way better than what came to my mind. So even though I know the solution (that most probably someone with a better IQ had provided) my IQ was still the same. So that means that even though i may know the answer, it still wasn't mine. hence if that question was asked and i was hired upon my answer to that question i couldn't reproduce that same elegance in my other ventures within the organization

My question is what do you guys think about such "borrowed intelligence"? Is it good? Do you feel that if solutions are found off the internet, it makes you think in that same more elegant way?

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closed as not constructive by Yannis, Oded, Otávio Décio, Scott Whitlock, Tom Squires Nov 23 '11 at 15:18

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yes i think it makes you think more elegantly, i dont know anything about the human brain, but i believe that when you completely understand a concept and not just remember it, the brain picks it up, and you will end up apply a similar thought later. :) – Nov 23 '11 at 16:18
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I don't think it's so terrible, as long as you understand the solution and are able to explain it and adapt it to new situations. And you worry that you weren't as "elegant"? Now you've seen a better example of "elegance" and you can learn from this how to be more elegant.

In general, I think it's pretty unreasonable to ask everyone to rediscover everything on their own - there just isn't time for that. In fact, if someone insisted on rediscovering everything rather than just learn from existing solutions online, I'd probably be less inclined to hire them.

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I'll ask you a question, Do you usually work of your own knowledge or do you query the web to expand your knowledge and solve a problem better than you could on your own? Or perhaps you reference a book.

"Borrowing" knowledge as you put it is nothing more that doing research in order to improve on your best solution. I would argue that is actually a good thing.

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