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

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

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by Spencer Johnson

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With over a million copies in print, the #1 New York Times bestseller Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life (G.P. Putnam's Sons) has grown from a guide and training tool for America's top corporations and organizations to a cultural phenomenon that is changing people's lives. While a few analytical or


With over a million copies in print, the #1 New York Times bestseller Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life (G.P. Putnam's Sons) has grown from a guide and training tool for America's top corporations and organizations to a cultural phenomenon that is changing people's lives. While a few analytical or skeptical people find the story too simple on the surface, the vast majority of readers' responses reveal it is the clear simplicity that makes it so easy to understand and apply to changing situations at work or in life.

This amazing bestseller, written by Spencer Johnson, M.D., the co-author of The One Minute Manager®, the world's most popular management method, is reaching beyond the business community, where it has been the #1 Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller for more than 30 consecutive weeks. It is now being embraced by hundreds of thousands of readers-from community leaders and college coaches to parents and children-helping them to adapt to change. Whether it's the challenge of a changing relationship, or moving to a new neighborhood, or the downsizing and merging of corporations, people are finding that the simple story of Who Moved My Cheese? is an unthreatening and invaluable source of comfort and advice. It is no wonder that this diminutive tome has become a runaway bestseller!

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)

Library Journal
This is a brief tale of two mice and two humans who live in a maze and one day are faced with change: someone moves their cheese. Reactions vary from quick adjustment to waiting for the situation to change by itself to suit their needs. This story is about adjusting attitudes toward change in life, especially at work. Change occurs whether a person is ready or not, but the author affirms that it can be positive. His principles are to anticipate change, let go of the old, and do what you would do if you were not afraid. Listeners are still left with questions about making his or her own specific personal changes. Capably narrated by Tony Roberts, this audiotape is recommended for larger public library collections.--Mark Guyer, Stark Cty. Dist. Lib., Canton, OH Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Christy Ellington
This quick read of simple ideas will provide at least one character to relate to and some advice to hold on to during a busy day.
—(The Christian Science Monitor)

Product Details

Baker & Taylor, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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. "I think 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!...

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)

Meet the Author

Spencer Johnson, M.D., is an internationally bestselling author whose books help millions of people discover simple truths they can use to enjoy healthier lives with more success and less stress.

He has often been referred to as "the best there is at taking complex subjects and presenting simple solutions that work."

He is co-Author of The One Minute Manager the #1 New York Times bestseller written with legendary management consultant Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D. Since 1982, this business classic has become the world's most popular management method and continues to make appearances on the bestseller lists.

Dr. Johnson has written many other bestsellers, including The Precious Present, Yes or No, and five books in the One Minute series. He is also the author and series editor of the popular New ValueTales children's books.

His education includes a B.A. in psychology from the University of Southern California, an M.D. degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, and medical clerkships at Harvard Medical School and The Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Johnson's books have been featured often in the media, by, among others, CNN, the Today show, Larry King Live, Time magazine, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and United Press International.

Spencer Johnson's books are available in twenty-six languages.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
January 1, 1940
Place of Birth:
South Dakota
B.A. in psychology, University of Southern California, 1963; M.D., Royal College of Surgeons

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Who Moved My Cheese? 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
ResearchGuy More than 1 year ago
This audio book begins with an engaging introduction by Johnson with Ken Blanchard, who has written the foreword to Johnson's book. The subtitle focuses the book's intention: "An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life." This audio version is a full text of the creative allegory of the challenge of dealing with change in the workplace. Blanchard (PhD) and Johnson (MD) are co-authors of The One Minute Manager, which has become "the world's most popular management method." The pleasant and expressive voice of Tony Roberts reads the active text of the book to us, telling the story of two little mice named Hem and Haw and their friends, Sniff and Scurry. The allegory develops as Hem and Haw become settled in their comfortable home in a wealthy home. Hem and Haw planned and used their great intelligence to find cheese in the maze in which they all lived. Sniff and Scurry found cheese more by trial and error, remembering the productive lanes and nooks hiding the cheese. Hem and Haw find a plenteous and regular supply of cheese at "Cheese Station C." Hem and Haw became accustomed to the easy life with the supply of plenty of cheese and were able to organize their life comfortably. As Hem and Haw become more affluent and comfortable, they begin to look down on their hard-working neighbors Sniff and Scurry. But the smart mice Hem and Haw mapped out the places they had found cheese, so they had to work less and less to get food every day. They became complacent, until one day they went on a trip, then came one day to find no cheese at their "Cheese Station C." Sniff and Scurry had also been gathering some cheese from Cheese Station C, but they had noticed that the cheese supply there had been diminishing. Now that there was no more cheese, it was nothing to them. They shifted their strategy and returned to their industrious pattern of looking in various places. But Hem and Haw were not that flexible. They had not developed foraging techniques, so were at a loss. They continued going to look for cheese at the same cheese station, but finally it was clear cheese was no longer to be found at Cheese Station C. The way they finally work out a solution spins out the possibilities of learning how to deal with the traumatic change in their situation. The body of the story is this parable of the cheese, which is then discussed in a dialogue by business colleagues to evaluate their various businesses. Cheese is the focus then for whatever they as individuals or the company wants. This works on a personal or a corporate level. The Maze that was home to Hem and Haw represents the places you looks for what you want. This could be an organization, the family, the community or the market. This is an enjoyable little story and the debriefing dialogue of the human characters is realistic. It is a pleasant experience and provides insights or at least an interesting review of the approaches to change. The story provides an opportunity for self-evaluation on how one meets change. Since this story is an allegory, this audio book is an excellent way to get the story. The superb reading stimulates the mind to conjure up vivid images to enjoy the visual story in your head!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book! I have read it countless times, when you are in a rut and need some help getting out follow the mice. Great way to lighten an issue most of us face from time to time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great read for leaders of organizations who find themselves surrounded by the status quo. Good organizational tool to hand out to those employees who are less apt to progress.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the book makes you realized after reading it that change is constant and you have to go and move with it's pace. (It Helped me a lot to accept that I'm already a father and husband and that things will change for me and they will never be the same as when I was a bachelor.) It's all about AWARENESS and learning to ADOPT to change without complicating the issues at hand.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you can't adapt to change, you cannot survice in the high tech industry. Change is key. Great book. Even the VPs have read it. Fast, easy read resulting in great insight.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! This book was not only a cornocopia of life changing idea's and attitudes, but was also extremelly easy to read with laugh-out-load humorous situations that will make anyone who reads this change their perception. I have read it at least a dozen times and have learned something new each and every time. Join these two miniture guys and their rodent friends in this child like story of getting want you want out of life. Not only for the bussisness man, this book will help anyone, young or old, correct the error of his ways and lead a happier, healthier life. Kudos!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recommend everyone to read this book, and indeed I have done so. Michelle, who introduced me to this wonderful book, was placed in my life solely for that purpose. I have been there, I'm am there now, and sure enough it will always pop again without notice. This book has helped me to look at life in a different perspective. It is my schema; blending old information with new to get a better understanding.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A 'cute' book on how to better deal with the changes that life 'throws' at you. Even when you believe that you create the situations in your life based on your perception, you can change how you perceive those changes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the message at first was telling me to get out of a bad relationship and then one sentance made me realize that I have to change the bad behavior that created the bad relationship. I can only say this book has helped make me aware of what was needed to make the changes that needed to be made.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to this audiobook and thought, 'whats the big deal?'. Then I began thinking about what it was saying and all the situations it might apply. Then I listened to it again and finally heard the magic of it's message. It manages to reduce very complex headaches and worries to a more manageable approach and if you crave a feel-good experience when finished then this delivers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As advertised, this book offers a very simplistic and amusing veiw on change and how differently people may react to it. The four characters in this book, two mice and two little people, exhibit responses to change in a variety of ways. Humans are complex, emotional beings who typically thrive on achievement and exhibit relatively predictable behaviors. Therefore, once certain goals are achieved the tendency is to do whatever possible to maintain status quo. The thought of change can be uncomfortable because it may mean giving up the emotional gratification of the acheivement. On the other hand, the mice act on instinct and respond to the moment. They are more willing to make quick adjustments in order to keep their goals in sight. Once the reward of the achievement goes away, they are ready to respond with a new search for a new goal. In this case, it's the cheese. The four cahracters all deal with change in different ways. Some experience more success and less stress than others. Find out which one you are most like. Reading this book is a fun an interesting way to discover yourself, and how quickly you can adapt to change.