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Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life Hardcover – THX, September 8, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

Change can be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. The message of Who Moved My Cheese? is that all can come to see it as a blessing, if they understand the nature of cheese and the role it plays in their lives. Who Moved My Cheese? is a parable that takes place in a maze. Four beings live in that maze: Sniff and Scurry are mice--nonanalytical and nonjudgmental, they just want cheese and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Hem and Haw are "littlepeople," mouse-size humans who have an entirely different relationship with cheese. It's not just sustenance to them; it's their self-image. Their lives and belief systems are built around the cheese they've found. Most of us reading the story will see the cheese as something related to our livelihoods--our jobs, our career paths, the industries we work in--although it can stand for anything, from health to relationships. The point of the story is that we have to be alert to changes in the cheese, and be prepared to go running off in search of new sources of cheese when the cheese we have runs out.

Dr. Johnson, coauthor of The One Minute Manager and many other books, presents this parable to business, church groups, schools, military organizations--anyplace where you find people who may fear or resist change. And although more analytical and skeptical readers may find the tale a little too simplistic, its beauty is that it sums up all natural history in just 94 pages: Things change. They always have changed and always will change. And while there's no single way to deal with change, the consequence of pretending change won't happen is always the same: The cheese runs out. --Lou Schuler

From 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.AMark Guyer, Stark Cty. Dist. Lib., Canton, OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Who Moved My Cheese? An A-mazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons; 1 edition (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399144463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399144462
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,792 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Spencer Johnson, M.D., is one of the world's most respected thinkers and beloved authors. Dr. Johnson earned a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California, an M.D. degree from the Royal College of Surgeons, and medical clerkships at The Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. More than forty-six million copies of Spencer Johnson's books are in print worldwide in more than forty-seven languages.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Brian Curtis on January 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The subtle, underlying message of this book is "Don't waste time fighting against bad changes: accept that bad stuff will happen to you for no good reason and just keep moving, like an animal." The animal analogy is a valid one: animals do not question or complain about changes that hurt them, they just try to survive. Any CEO would love a company full of mice--and this book is a great step along that road.
Furthermore, the book's core analogy makes the insulting assumption that employees shouldn't bother with reason or analysis: pure survival instinct is all the CEO wants to see. Real humans in a maze, confronted with vanishing or moving cheese, wouldn't just whine; they'd analyze their situation and find a creative solution, instead of just going back to foraging. Maybe the cheese-deposit mechanism is stuck; maybe the cheese is shifting in a pattern that can be understood; maybe there's a way out of the freakin' maze! "Just accept it and keep moving" is not only a simpleminded philosophy, it's often dead wrong.
Change is not always bad, but it should always be questioned, and opposed if it's harmful. Be a man, not a mouse.
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639 of 754 people found the following review helpful By S. Walton on August 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the WORST business book I have ever read. The intent behind it is valid, but the content can be summed up in a few statements:
Change will happen
If you don't change, you will die (figuratively or literally)
Watch for signs of change, so you can be prepared to change, too
Change is good, and can lead to something better
There. Do you feel like paying me [good money] for that priceless knowledge?
This is a parable, which means they dressed up the real content by writing a goofy story about mice and little people, taking up more pages so they could justify the cost. Unfortunately, they could only drag the story out so far (how many times can you read, "and he kept walking and looking for more cheese"). The book was still only about 20 pages long, too short for a hardcover, so they added a second story to frame the parable itself. The second story is about a group at a reunion that talks about the book. Even THAT doesn't add enough pages to justify printing it in hardcover, so they increased the print size to roughly what you see in books for 3 year olds.
The author, publisher and whoever else was involved in this moneymaking scheme obviously recognized that many people would see through their efforts. Their solution? Put in a statement saying, in effect, "If you think this book isn't worthwhile, then you aren't a talented, cutting edge business person like all the other who read the book are."
Believe me, someone in your office (probably your boss) is waving this book around, exclaiming how wonderful it is and telling you to read it. ASK IF YOU CAN BORROW HIS COPY. Do not spend money on it yourself. You're going to have to read it, unfortunately, because the herd has spoken and you can't stray from the herd.
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132 of 153 people found the following review helpful By K. P. Singho on October 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Who Moved the Cheese? The title question is never addressed, as if the "cheese" was swept away by a natural disaster, rather than through the conscious decisions of people in power - people who benefit from those decisions. In real life, we know very well who took the "cheese:" fat cat CEO's paying themselves astronomical salaries while exporting jobs to India and China. The purpose of the book is to distract workers from the obvious. The underpaid and the downsized are urged to just pick up and find opportunity elsewhere, without questioning the overall circumstance - as if God Himself stole the "cheese."

I've taken the liberty of writing new ending to the book. The two mice, Hurry and Scurry, who uncomplainingly went looking for new cheese, are now on their third McJob in three years. Hurry is now a barista at Starbucks. Scurry is a nurses' aide. They share an two-room apartment in Brooklyn with a couple of other underemployed mice, since none of them can afford rent on his own. Haw, the more enterprising of the two "littlepeople," has been temping for a while. The hourly wage is good, but he's worried, because he has no health benefits, and his 401(k) is in the tank. The grudging, resentful Hem, having been convinced by Fox News that the federal government is at fault, has joined the Littlepeople Militia. They are stockpiling guns and chemical fertilizer.
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1,626 of 1,940 people found the following review helpful By Alberto Dominguez on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The unbelievably large number of people who think this is a good book is very scary. I hope these people are not important decision makers. Everything bad that can be said about this book has been said before, so I'll just compile a "Best of" list for you. (By the way, in case you're wondering, "Dr." Johnson's degree is in education.)
Regarding management and corporate American in general
* This book is the cop-out for managers who believe in change for change's sake.
* It's corporate brainwashing of the kind that science fiction writers have been warning us about for decades.
* Never have I come closer to the mind crushing monotony and impersonality of corporate America than when I read this book.
* No, change is not a good thing when it happens on a regular basis. That means upper management can't make up their minds.
* If you are thinking about buying this book, I assume you are a manager of some type
Regarding the intellectual level of the book:
* I have never felt my intelligence more insulted than when reading this.
* It's patronizing, shallow, insipid, and still manages to be patently insulting to those employees who might actually be capable of analytical thought. That's quite a feat.
* Should appeal to intellectually challenged only.
* It is a sad comment on our culture, society, and educational system that so many people have found this inane drivel to be "life-changing".
* (...)BR>* (...).
* Distilling these important matters into the inane parable of mice in a maze is a literary device meant for grade school students.
* The book presents an excellent reading for absolute imbeciles or people high on drugs.
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