Change is inevitable. Yet, most people are uncomfortable with it. Through a simple story, Spencer Johnson illustrates how people react to change, and how we can manage change more constructively and effectively. In this free Who Moved my Cheese summary, you’ll get a brief synopsis of the fable and its key ideas.
The story provides an analogy to change in our work and personal lives. It’s about 4 characters searching for Cheese in a Maze. Cheese represents what we want in life (e.g. a successful career, money, health, freedom, spiritual growth), the Maze represents our complex world, and the 4 characters represent the 4 types of people we encounter in any change situation.
The Fable in a Nutshell
It’s set in a maze, where the 2 mice (Sniff and Scurry) and 2 littlepeople (Hem and Haw) look for Cheese every day. One day, they find that their regular stash of cheese is gone! The mice and littlepeople respond very differently. Sniff and Scurry keep things simple and cope better with change, while Hem and Haw over-complicate things. The fable traces their simple journey, and how Haw eventually made his transition, found new cheese, and learned important lessons about life and change.
The story provides useful metaphors for us to reflect about our own lives, and the ideas can be used to facilitate discussions and shift attitudes toward change. The 4 characters in the story mirror our common responses to change. It’s useful to consider which character you’re like, as well as the people around you in a change situation.
The book also provides useful analogies for us to reflect on the Cheeses in our lives, including the “Old Cheese” that we hang on to, and the “New Cheese” that we could be enjoying. It ends off with some tips and perspectives on change that can be gleaned from the story (e.g. staying vigilant, overcoming fear and leading change).
This is a short and easy to read story, that can be easily shared with others.
Getting the Most from Who Moved My Cheese
Want to learn how you can reflect on your life and use this book’s ideas to facilitate discussions and shift attitude towards change? Check out our complete book summary bundle where we’ve outlined the story and key lessons as a colourful infographic, a 9-page text summary, and a 15-minute audio summary.
Learn more about positive change from Our Iceberg is Melting summary which also illustrate tips for change using a fable. Or, learn a holistic, multi-tier approach to change from our Influencer summary!
About the Author of Who Moved My Cheese
Who Moved My Cheese: An A-Mazing Way To Deal With Change in your Work and in your Life is written by Spencer Johnson—one of the most admired thought leaders and widely-read authors in the world. Called “The King of Parables” by USA Today, Dr. Johnson is an expert intaking complex subjects and presenting simple solutions that work. Besides his book, he is also the co-author of best-selling book, “The New One-Minute Manager.” His brief books contain insights and practical tools that millions of people use to enjoy more happiness and success with less stress. For more details, visit, www.spencerjohnson.com
Who Moved My Cheese Quotes
“A change imposed is a change opposed.”
“When you change what you believe, you change what you do.”
“It’s a lot better to initiate change while you can than it is to try to react and adjust to it.”
“What you are afraid of is never as bad as what you imagine.”
“The fastest way to change is to laugh at your own folly – then you can let go and quickly move on.”
“The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it.”
“When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.”
“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”
“Sometimes we’re not even aware that we’re afraid.”