Who Moved My Cheese

A few years back, I borrowed a book from a friend—it had an interesting title “Who moved my cheese?”. After reading it I wondered how the author came up such a simple example to tell the difficult truth. In a couple of months it turned out to be a best seller! It is probably the only one self help books I read back to back and enjoyed it as well. Imagine having mice (a species you want to shoo sway) as the character of a self help book. Yes, this book is different.

The Author: Spencer Johnson is a best selling author whose books have helped millions of people discover simple truths they can use to have 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.

Dr. Johnson is the author of 10 New York Times Bestsellers, including the Bestseller The One Minute Manager, the world’s most popular management method. His other bestsellers, include: The Precious Present, Yes or No: A Guide to Better Decisions, The One Minute $ales Person, The One Minute Mother, The One Minute Father, The One Minute Teacher, One Minute For Yourself, The Value Tales series (children’s books).

The Book: The book describes an amazing way to deal with change at work and in life. The book also contains real life experiences.  The book encourages managers to conduct departmental meeting on a regular basis called Smell The Cheese Often Meetings. The team members meet and discuss projects and plans. There are some questions listed in the book that can be asked during such meetings.

The Story (an introduction)

Once up a time, long 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 of them were mice named Sniff and Scurry and the other two were little people—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!

The story is about the attitude of the mice Sniff and Scurry and the little men Hem and Haw. The mice used a trial-and-error method to find the cheese. It method was simple but inefficient. They ran down one corridor and if it was empty, they turned and ran down another. The little people used a different method that relied on their ability to think and what they learnt from their experiences. After a while, their confidence grew into arrogance.

One morning they discovered there was no cheese. Since Sniff and Scurry had noticed the supply of cheese had been getting smaller every day, they weren’t surprised. Actually they were prepared for the inevitable and knew instinctively what to do. They were quickly off in search of New Cheese.

On the other hand Hem and Haw had not been paying attention to the small changes that had been taking place each day, so they took it for granted their Cheese would be there. They were unprepared and just not ready for this situation.

While Sniff and Scurry had quickly moved on, Hem and Haw continued to hem and haw. They ranted and raved at the injustice of it all. They decide to separate and look out for cheese. To know what happened, read the book.

As the story proceeds, Haw uses his brain to do what he could do better than mice. He reflected on the mistakes he had made in the past and used them to plan for his future. He knew that he could learn to deal with change if he had noticed when the little changes began so that he could be better prepared for the big change that might be coming. Thus he could adapt the changes faster.

Moral of the story: Don’t bind yourself to your comfort zone. Even when there is a great supply of cheese, go out of the maze and explore new areas. It is safer to keep yourself updated about the happening around so that you are prepared for change, if any.

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2 Responses

  1. Has the book affected you in any way? Do you do or perceive anything differently now?

  2. During a little difficult phase in my life, the concept of this book helped me in personal growth. It gave me the strenght to develop a different set of rules which was my own and live by it.

    I personally felt that the story in the book teaches about being innovative, creative, looking at situation/problems with a different perspective. Thus it helps in reshaping environment, but yes, it varies from individual to individual—-as it depends on the ability of the person to push the boundaries, and also at how the person views the situation.

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