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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

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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.

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Product Details

  • 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: 5.6 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 (2,690 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #568 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

603 of 716 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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1,591 of 1,903 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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121 of 141 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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132 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Legs on August 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Luckily enough, I didn't have to pay money for this book - I was forced to read it by my employer. The fact most people read this book after their co-workers are handed pink slips as part of a kinder, gentler corporate reduction in force should be indicative enough of the intent of this book. Don't be fooled by the wanna-be New Age slant - the majority of examples in this book are work-related. The "& in Your Life" in the title is there to attempt to hide the ridiculously pro-upper management viewpoint of the book.
Even if you can get over the 2nd grade reading level writing style, there's still the truly bad content to contend with. The author categorizes us all as either mice or "little people" in a maze who get bent out of shape if our "cheese" is moved. The moral of the story is that we should not get angry when our life bread is constantly moved and hidden from us by some invisible higher power (hmm, equating a higher power to large companies isn't too disconcerting now, is it?). Instead, we should not only embrace the fact we are being messed with, but also have FUN with it.
I am a reader of self-help books. Additionally, I deal with change for a living (it's in my title and everything). I can, without a doubt, tell you that the goal of this book is not to teach the reader change management techniques for work or personal life, but rather it teaches that we should all be good little soldiers. It is antithetical to what most self-help books and books that address coping with change try to teach their readers. If you are looking for one of those types of books, save your $10-20 and look elsewhere.
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