Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

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by Spencer Johnson

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With Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change--an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.

Most people are fearful of change because they don't believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the

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With Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change--an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.

Most people are fearful of change because they don't believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.

When the Y2K panic gripped the corporate realm before the new millenium, most work environments finally recognized the urgent need to get their computers and other business systems up to speed and able to deal with unprecedented change. And businesses realized that this was not enough: they needed to help people get ready, too.

Spencer Johnson has created his new book to do just that. The coauthor of the multimillion bestseller The One Minute Manager has written a deceptively simple story with a dramatically important message that can radically alter the way we cope with change. Who Moved My Cheese? allows for common themes to become topics for discussion and individual interpretation.

Who Moved My Cheese? takes the fear and anxiety out of managing the future and shows people a simple way to successfully deal with the changing times, providing them with a method for moving ahead with their work and lives safely and effectively.

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Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
If you're struggling to adjust to changes and transitions at work, then you'll definitely want to keep a copy of Spencer Johnson's short but effective parable somewhere nearby. Johnson's gift for taking complicated, sometimes overwhelming feelings and making them manageable as well as open to change is the key to this book's amazing success. The "Cheese" (with a capital "C") referred to in the title is simply a metaphor for whatever it is that we desire most in life -- recognition, acceptance, money, relationships, possessions, freedom, or anything, tangible or intangible, that becomes invested with desire. The problem with the world, of course, is that the Cheese is portable, leaving Johnson's characters -- two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two "littlepeople" (Hem and Haw) -- to navigate a mazelike world in a somewhat desperate search for fulfillment and satisfaction.

In today's volatile work environment, the pithy points that Johnson makes as his characters struggle to find a kind of self-empowerment are worth bearing in mind. At the heart of the book is the assertion that "Old beliefs do not lead you to new Cheese." As Haw, the individual who is most open to the possibilities of change, discovers, "You can believe that a change will harm you and resist it. Or you can believe that finding New Cheese will help you, and embrace the change. It all depends on what you choose to believe." Perhaps this is the ultimate and quite hopeful message is the true heart of Johnson's story: Choosing to adapt will enrich your life, leading you onward to the new possibilities created in the ever-changing world of today's workplace. (Sunil Sharma)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
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Penguin Group
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File size:
320 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Gathering
One sunny Sunday in Chicago, several former classmates, who were good friends in school, gathered for lunch, having attended their high school reunion the night before. They wanted to hear more about what was happening in each other's lives. After a good deal of kidding, and a good meal, they settled into an interesting conversation.
Angela, who had been one of the most popular people in the class, said, "Life sure turned out differently than I thought it would when we were in school. A lot has changed."
"It certainly has," Nathan echoed. They knew he had gone into his family's business, which had operated pretty much the same and had been a part of the local community for as long as they could remember. So, they were surprised when he seemed concerned. He asked, "But, have you noticed how we don't want to change when things change?"
Carlos said, "I guess we resist changing because we're afraid of change."
"Carlos, you were Captain of the football team," Jessica said. "I never thought I'd hear you say anything about being afraid!"
They all laughed as they realized that although they had gone off in different directions-from working at home to managing companies-they were experiencing similar feelings.
Everyone was trying to cope with the unexpected changes that were happening to them in recent years. And most admitted that they did not know a good way to handle them.
Then Michael said, "I used to be afraid of change. When a big change came along in our business, we didn't know what to do. So we didn't adjust and we almost lost it.
"That is," he continued, "until I heard a funny little story that changed everything."
"How so?" Nathan asked.
"Well, the story changed the way I looked at change-from losing something to gaining something-and it showed me how to do it. After that, things quickly improved-at work and in my life.
"At first I was annoyed with the obvious simplicity of the story because it sounded like something we might have been told in school.
"Then I realized I was really annoyed with myself for not seeing the obvious and doing what works when things change.
"When I realized the four characters in the story represented the various parts of myself, I decided who I wanted to act like and I changed.
"Later, I passed the story on to some people in our company and they passed it on to others, and soon our business did much better, because most of us adapted to change better. And like me, many people said it helped them in their personal lives.
"However there were a few people who said they got nothing out of it. They either knew the lessons and were already living them, or, more commonly, they thought they already knew everything and didn't want to learn. They couldn't see why so many others were benefiting from it.
"When one of our senior executives, who was having difficulty adapting, said the story was a waste of his time, other people kidded him saying they knew which character he was in the story-meaning the one who learned nothing new and did not change."
"What's the story?" Angela asked.
"It's called Who Moved My Cheese?"
The group laughed. "Ithink I like it already," Carlos said. "Would you tell us the story? Maybe we can get something from it."
"Sure," Michael replied. "I'd be happy to-it doesn't take long." And so he began:
The Story of Who Moved My Cheese?
Once, long ago in a land far away, there lived four little characters who ran through a maze looking for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Two were mice named "Sniff" and "Scurry" and two were littlepeople-beings who were as small as mice but who looked and acted a lot like people today. Their names were "Hem" and "Haw."
Due to their small size, it would be easy not to notice what the four of them were doing. But if you looked closely enough, you could discover the most amazing things!

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What People are saying about this

Randy Harris
I'm giving this book to colleagues and friends. Spencer Johnson's storytelling abilities and unique insights make this a rare book that can be read and understood by everyone who wants to succeed in these changing times.
—(Randy Harris, Former Vice-Chairman, Merrill Lynch International)

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Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life 3.9 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 353 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A short story about 2 mice and 2 'little people' in a maze looking for cheese.

Of course 'cheese' is just a metaphor for what you want in life (such as money, the ideal job), and the 'maze' represents where you are looking for what you want (such as your family, an organization). As the story goes, one of the characters (Haw) learns to deal with change successfully and writes what he has learned on the maze wall. In this way, the reader gets the main points in the book and can learn too how to deal with life's changes.

A little book that is big on wisdom, many should find it entertaining and useful. Also recommended The Sixty-Second Motivator -another short story that is to the point and practical
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book may very well be the stupidest book a human has ever written. It is condescending and an enormous rip-off. It certainly does not even come close to deserving the praise given to it. The reviewers must have felt such immense relief to finally finish the book, that it skewed their judgment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has got to be the most over-hyped book in history. Why has it sold so many copies? Corporations buy it in bulk and hand out thousands of copies to employees because 'Who Moved My Cheese?' tells employees to not question authority and happily accept any change that comes along. The parallel between mice trapped in a maze and employees stuck in cubicles is striking. When change comes it's not anyone's fault, certainly not anyone in authority, so the best way of dealing with it, advises Dr. Johnson, is to look at the bright side, scurry off to find new cheese and --- oh, yes --- LAUGH at yourself. So the next time downsizing leaves you demoted or out on the street, or a new compensation plan mysteriously cuts your wages, don't forget to laugh at yourself. Just the way management is laughing at you, little mouse.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My workplace required this book to be read by all of us mice after they moved our cheese. What they did was lower our pay and added more responsibilities to our jobs. At the same time they restructured and fired all those that were not pulling their weight or voiced their opinions. As a scare tactic perhaps? Its a book that tries to make you understand change and to deal better with changes that you have no control over. Did it help? Not really! I'm still bitter but I have a job...yea me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I HAD to read this book for my management position at the largest corporation in the world. It really helped me understand that I was working for IDIOTS. How depressing is it when one educates himself, excels into management, and then is required to read a picture book that made me feel like a RAT that should not think for one's self? These types of books are bought in bulk by many major corporations to distribute to their peons with the hope that you will 'buy into' the 'be flexible' concept and do what your told. I could sum the book up in one sentence: Don't question your superiors if you don't want your paycheck (cheese) to move. G-d forbid senior management actually managed their people instead of handing them this book as a panacea for bad morale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let's get right to the point. If your boss comes up to you one day and tells you that you should read this book (or even worse, hands you a copy), start looking for a new job. Because your days of peace of mind and security in the work place are over. The book is small enough to be read over a lunch break (how convenient), with large print and lots of pictures that look like Sunday Comics rejects. You'll be better served grabbing the latest classifieds and circling new employment possibilities while you finish off your meal. The book uses a simple metaphorical story about two 'rats' (workers) who go to the 'same place everyday' (work) to get their 'cheese' (money). But one day, when some unseen person moves the 'cheese,' the rats are forced to do things they wouldn't normally do just to get the same reward they've been getting all along. Any middle of the road worker who has ever had to work twice as hard after an episode of 'corporate downsizing' just to get the same amount of money out of his paycheck (or even worse, keep his job) should be able to relate. This choice of metaphorical characters should tell you everything you need to know about what the author (and the corporate executives of America) think about the middle of the road American worker. They don't care about the well being of their employees. Your boss will tell this book is about change, and how to accept it in your life and in the workplace. And to an extent that's true. If you want to believe that change is inevitable, there's nothing you can do about it, and you're willing to let your boss bully you around until he decides that some one half your age can do your job half as well as you're already doing it for half the price, you'll fit right in to the environment your employer is trying to create. Because to them, you're just a pawn. And if you don't do exactly what they say (or if they just get tired of looking at you, whichever comes first) they'll take your share of the cheese and give it to some other 'rat.' It¿s sad to think how simplistic this book is. Even a child could read it. Parents who are stupid enough to enjoy this book can start brainwashing their kids early on in life, so when it¿s time for them to enter the workforce they¿ll think being mistreated in the workplace is perfectly normal and even acceptable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't appreciate the simplistic child like analogy...it just feeds into current poor management trends. But I did "see the handwriting on the wall", and left the company that required we all read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended to me as a very inspiring book geared to those unhappy in their current careers. I however found no inspiration whatsoever and am totally confused at the high ratings this book recieves. This entire book, written in a childlike, condescending manner, completely states the obvious, offers no inspiration, doesn't give any helpful tips, and you could basically see where this book was going after about the first page. I found myself rolling my eyes many times during the quick and dumbed down read. Yes I know I need to "find new cheese" when it starts to disappear and that the "cheese" isn't going to magically re-appear. Yes I know it takes hard work, dedication and it isn't always going to be easy. Isn't that what we are taught from a very early age. But reading a ridiculous book about mice running through a maze wearing track suits and sneakers tied around their necks while they find rooms of cheese is not helping me in my quest to find work that I love, or, despite that fact that I know I need to, inspiring me to get out there into that so called maze. The only thing this book did for me was wish I had spent my money on something else. On the other hand I can see this book helpful in teaching young children about what lies ahead for them in the working world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Worst book I ever read. How it became a bestseller is the true mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I see the point of this book... I couldn't wait to read it because its #1... I hated it! Yeah, the morals are good, but as an adult, I felt like a Kindergartener reading a story... way to elementary!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like books that read like they are talking to a six year old and need life's simple lessons spoon fed to you, check out this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a waste of time and money. The '...Amazing Way To Deal With Change...' is insultingly obvious. If you have the analytical ability of a squirrel you know the importance of being honest with yourself and that change is inevitable. How on earth is that '...Amazing...'?? If I could I would rate this book with NO stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story was just interesting enough to avoid a single star rating. The author made me feel like if this wasn't life altering to me than I didn't get it. Well I got it, I just didn't need to spend 20 bucks on a kids book to figure out the obvious. I can't believe this story will be helpful to most people. If curiosity gets the better of you and you feel you must read this book then go to the library. This book is a quick read and is more useful as a fire starter or compost for your garden.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My company recently did an exercise based on this book. What seemed clear to me was....If you strip away the frills and really study the concept, essentially what the 'cheese' concept tells us is to not question change; That all change is beneficial; That we (the rank and file) can not do anything about these changes. So, for all of you thinking of buying the 'cheese' book, I recommend you first purchase and read Orwell's 1984. Perhaps you will have a better perspective on the subject after that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Over-simplistic rhetoric that spews cliches everybody knows (Change is good; Everything happens for a reason; A blessing in disguise; Variety is the spice of life; Etc.etc.) The book suggests that the best way to handle you loss of 'Cheese' is to react and run aimlessly back into the maze (as the mice did). The book implies that questioning change and the authority that instituted the change is bad. Your best hope is to mimic the mice by using trial and error, even if you cover the same sections of the maze that provided you with no prior benefit. It amazes me that people find this book to be to be 'inspirational' and 'life-altering', since I felt personally insulted after reading this cookie-cutter trash. I guess these people can be easily duped and enjoy being doormats to authority. As a corporate motivational tool, the book implies that managers don't owe their employees any explanation for change nor have any responsibility if the change is inappropriate or backfires. Employers who use this book to educate their subordinates contradics a corporation's belief that its strength is in its people. If I could give this book zero stars, I would. Save your money - It's not even worth using as toilet paper.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A metaphor for the Enron/Worldcom generation of managers. Shows managers how not to worry and focus on exploiting their current situation without contributing anything, all the while searching for their next opportunity. Simplistic, but has obvious curb appeal for managers who are poor leaders. Sends the message 'get along by going along.' None of the characters in the book show a shred of leadership. I can hard think of a worse example I would want people to follow.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is all about how the individual needs to change in order make things better. The entire book runs counter to the process improvment movement. Rather than blaming the individual for their lack of ability and/or desire to change, the organization should be looking at system issues. If the system is broken the individual will not have the willingness or even the ability to change. This book does a disservice to the individual by placing blame (It is your fault you have decided not to go in search of the cheese) rather than encouraging group problem solving.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad that I didn't pay for this book. Very poor work, basic message...change is inevitable...there you go...save your $20 and get a real book. Do not give this as a gift...very lame present!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ok, let's get some facts straight here.... First: Change is good. Actually, that depends on the person and the type of change. If you are unhappy with your job, does that mean that quitting and changing is a good thing? NO! In today's society, it is not easy to change jobs, let alone vocations. In most instances, that job is the one thing that is sustaining a family, and giving it up for the sake of change could result in more harm than good. Second: Change is bad: Again, this depends on the situation. When I wrote Strike Hard ..., it signaled a change in my life, and the life of my family. Was it bad? Absolutely not! No one has been harmed by this, and many people have been able to benefit from it. (people gain enjoyment from reading it, my publisher sells it, etc.) It has had a resounding effect of changing my life, but for the better. All in all, I would agree with some of the other reviews on here and recommend that you not waste your money. There is nothing in this that isn't learned from living your life day-by-day. It has been mentioned that some employers are requiring this to be reading material of employees. In that case, I would recommend a change---a change of employers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm glad I didn't buy this book with my own money. My copy was given to me by 'unnamed company' and it did nothing to improve morale. It actually made our employee outlook even worse. The analogy is degrading. The message I got from the book is to accept poor management with unfocused goals, do what you are told, and be happy with where the powers-that-be move your cheese. Change is inevitable, but this message stinks. What good points were made in the book only highlighted the fact that 'unnamed company' didn't do these things for the employees.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this book addresses four different reactions to change and is primarily addressing business situations, it claims to be for aspects of life outside of business as well and in this regard falls one character short. The character missing is the one who asks 'Who cares who moved the cheese, why don't we get out of this maze?' The assumption that we must be in this maze is never questioned by any of the characters. In this light the book is a good example of propaganda for capitalism, but not a good challenge to think 'outside the box', or, in this case, the maze.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 'parable' is cute, but the lesson is painfully obvious. Adapting to change is better than staying in an impossible situation. There, I just save you at least $12! Please do not waste your money on this book- I read it in ten minutes standing in the bookstore. The font is large, each page has two inch margins top and bottom, and every few pages there is a full-page illustration. In essence, this is a two-page anecdote, fluffed up and filled with redundant passages, to fill a mere 94 pages. This book is a marvel of marketing--how to take the flimsiest of ideas and make tons of money- and therein lies the true lesson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good parable is one with multiple levels of meaning that gets richer the more it is pondered. A good parable reveals wisdom: profound truths that are simple, yet easily overlooked. This is a mediocre parable at best, with a message that didn't seem particularly enlightening: 'people must adapt to change to succeed'. It could have been told as well in a few pages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
More like an amazing way to separate gullible Americans from their money! The One Minute Manager was simple. It may have been over-simplified. But it made a simple point in a useful way. There was action you could take day-to-day. This time Spencer J. falls flat on his face with a tortured parable that meanders on and on to end up with a strained 'cheesey' metaphor. It will be shrewdly promoted, as ever, and make SJ a lot more money. But shame on him. It isn't worth one tenth of the ridiculous, inflated price - even after B&N discounts it generously. Skip this one and spend your book dollars more wisely.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of all, this book is way to expensive for it's content. Second, I was offended by the 'See Dick run' size of the print and the pictures that were drawn as if by a child. The message in the book is everything you have already heard if you ever worked for a decent size corporation. Please leaf through this book before purchasing. You may just be able to finish it in a bookstore in about an hour or two.