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on June 29, 2004
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.
Regarding the message of the book:
* It teaches that you must not struggle, succumb to the will of the greater power of management, and accept change without regard to whether it is appropriate or not.
* Don't think, just go with the changes as we prescribe them. If you don't, you're inflexible or afraid of change.
* The ideas in this book could have been expressed in a paragraph and even then they would not have been worth the time to read them
The people who more productively decided to just make jokes about the stupidity that is this book said:
* As I was already familiar with the concept of reality and how to deal with it, the book was not particularly helpful.
* Your time would be better spent just taking a nap.
* Buy real cheese. Don't buy this sorry excuse for a book.
* I think people like it cause it can be read and finished while sitting on the toilet.
* Resistance is futile!
* Any manager who would try to force these ideas on their employees would be better off just spiking the coffee with anti-depressants.
* The South Park gang would find it too puerile.
If you were even mildly amused by anything in this review, then you are already infinitely better off than if you read the book. Now please vote "Yes" on my review (after all, I just saved you $14+). Thanks!
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on August 27, 2003
I found this book to be yet another one of those books churned out by the machines of middle management, and handed down to the employee. Most of these books BECOME best sellers because they are sold in bulk to corporations for pennies on the dollar. Notice how this book has "companion" pieces of merchandise, like games, a web site, and training seminars? They are selling a complete product line to ineffective management, and look at the book as more of a large business card/advertisement.
This becomes evident when you read the stories and parables that surprise me that it took two authors to write only 96 pages. The writing is haphazard, poorly edited, unhelpful, sends mixed signals, and boils down to a rather insensitive "Things change, get used to it, change or you will die. Now keep moving." I would never give this to an employee, because that would be like giving an employee a stick of deodorant and wondering why they've stopped talking to you. This book does not care about the reader, and if I got it, I'd think, "Is my boss telling me to move on?" Comparing people to mice, and life's goals to cheese is patronizing to anyone with a sense of self-awareness. The motivational parables are generic, and seem out of place to the rest of the scare tactic this book is.
There are better motivational books out there that are written by experienced people who have good ideas that are helpful, not doom-obsessed. This book is more of a poke in the back with a sharp stick than a carrot on the end of s string, or a light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, this book might as well say, "You better not go to the light at the end of the tunnel, it could go away at any moment, and then where will you be?" Like another reviewer here said, "[the book] offers no answer other than you've got to go out and find more 'cheese" for yourself.'" Anyone who has reached the age of adulthood, and doesn't realize that change is inevitable will certainly never get the message from this book. And those that do know will only think this book is redundant and almost encouraging bitterness. I don't know what the point of this book really is, except as some sort of gloomy pap.
This book is already mostly used up, and will never be remembered like Zig Ziglar or Thomas Harris. Scout around, and find some older books, by successful people (like people who have actually succeeded in life that you have heard of), that have been around for a while. People still buy them for a reason.
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on August 30, 2000
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. I'll bet the person who started the rumor that this was a good book is getting royalties. It's the only explanation.
The one saving grace about this book is it's a quick read. I finished it in 23 minutes. At least you can soon move on to something more worthwhile.
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on January 21, 2004
Contrary to what many negative reviews said about it, this book does not compare us to mice, but to dwarfs; after all, the hero of the parable is Haw, a dwarf that learned to "adapt and enjoy the change".
Hem and Haw are two dwarfs looking for cheese in a maze, and eventually they find a place that seems to replenish itself with cheese from one day to the next. Haw starts agreeing with his pal Hem, who is confortable where he is, and both do not understand when the cheese disappears and get frustrated and a little confused. Then Haw asks himself how could he be any worse if he just went looking for another piece of cheese through the labyrinth again. Little by little he starts convincing himself that to invite change, to not be afraid of change, to visualize your goal (the new chunk of cheese), and to be fueled not by fear but by hope of achieving what you want is the best thing one can do. Hem stays behind, moaning and moping, complaining of the unfairness of the situation, that he deserved the cheese, that he won't like any new brand of cheese that Haw may find - that is, if he finds it at all. Of course Haw finds a new place with not one, but many types of cheese, but by now he has learned not to trust permanence, and actually enjoy change. He even tries to convince Hem to give up the expectation that the old cheese will reappear, and to come along with him to this new section of the maze that has all this cheese, but alas, Hem does not change, and stays where he is.
What the book does not state, in any part of it, is that changes may be a bad thing.
Any normal human being knows that. Sometimes even when we adapt, and try our best to accept that things change, we still get failures. And sometimes things should not be adapted, because that will make the situation worse than it is. Sometimes is best to stay put, sometimes is best to see that things are changing, and adapt intelligently. Should that be obvious? Apparently there is a whole book about change that states from beginning to end that change is a good thing, period, and that book sells I don't know how many millions.
I dont know why I'm writing this review, since there's already 1131 reviews posted, and I doubt if this is going to be of further help. Also I've never written any reviews, but this book was so bad that I felt impelled to say something. If you've read so far it means you know how to read a text longer than two sentences. It should permit you to skim this 92 pages of poorly written prose, few-words-per-sentence sentences, all-around easy to read and easy to understand piece of s... without much trouble, but then again, if you want to avoid the trouble, read paragraph two for a synopsis and go browsing for better books.
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on September 20, 2013
This reviewer remembers having gone to the office (at a then "Big 5 "accounting firm) one day back in 2000 and having found this so-called book (in actually this "book" more of a pamphlet than a book) on his desk. This reviewer's first reaction was to think it was a joke. He called one of his fellow staff members to ask if it was a joke and was quickly informed that every employee in the firm had received, like the reviewer, a copy of this "book" at his or her desk. Knowing that the distribution of this book on a wide level usually portends some massive "change" at the office this reviewer was not happy to find out it was not a joke. The reviewer was very tempted to throw out the book but knowing, based on the fact that everyone in the firm received, we could all be out of work it was wise to, instead, keep for something to do while unemployed (that moment came about four months after the book was passed out). After reading it, while unemployed, the reviewer developed a very negative opinion of it (the reasons for this are discussed below).

About 13 years later this reviewer saw an employee with this book (at another firm). He thought to himself, was this book really as bad as he remembered it? After all, he remembered it as one of the most insulting books he had ever read. Perhaps it was just a poor memory (and the years) playing a cruel joke. Hence he decided to re-read it again. Unfortunately, after reading it again, the memories were only found to be correct. This was truly one of the most insulting books this reviewer had to read, never mind having been given as a "gift". This was the case on so many levels.

First of all this "book" is written for 10 year olds, in terms of both style and content. The 80 "page" book had about three paragraphs per page and on just about every other page had a one page picture with a piece of cheese with some short pretentious "philosophical" statement in it (i.e., "move with the cheese and enjoy it", "old beliefs do not lead you to new chees", "having cheese makes you happy", etc.). It is remarkable how management would even think of giving something out to adults. What were they thinking? That their workforce consists of children who need to be guided by adults (i.e., management)? Insulting, to say the least.

As if this was not bad enough, per se, there is the story contained in the book. This is of mice who need to get used to the fact that things change and they need to adapt. Who over six years old does not know this? Does management think their workforce consists of idiots? Another vicious insult. In addition, the implication that employees are mere mice chasing pieces of cheese in a maze is another insult to their workforce. Does management really believe that this is all the workforce really is to them? Nothing more than rodents?

Another point that this book makes, implicitly, is that the workforce needs to accept this change, brought about by management, without question and with no critical eye in much the same way that the population of the Soviet Union had to accept the perpetual policy changes made by that nation's leadership without question or thought. Never mind that many of the changes brought by management, especially organizational changes, are more often without rhyme or reason. Another insult. In this reviewer's opinion this is the worst point, by far, that the book makes. It shows how little management thinks of any contributions its own workforce can make and how little its opinions matter to management.

In short, this book does nothing more than insult an entity's workforce in so many ways. Plus it shows how highly management views itself over and above its own workforce. After reading this, one can justifiably ask oneself if management would actually feed its workforce to cats if it lead to larger bonuses for themselves. The only positive benefit is that it makes all of this obvious to the workforce, in and by itself a valuable service.
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on August 13, 2000
1. This book is wrong. It teaches that you must accept change without regard to whether it is appropriate it not. It teaches that you must not struggle, you must not fight. You must simply accept whatever change happens. This is the perfect book to distribute when a company is going through reorganization.
2. This book is inspirational. I mean inspirational in the sense that you can take a primitive and silly story, wrap some gibberish around it, bind it in hardcover and sell it for $20.
3. This book is horrible and has almost absolutely no value. The only way you might find value in this book is if you have no sense of self. It could be called "How to take a five-minute dinner story and turn it into a boring book."
4. There are two mice (or toolittlepeople) --- Spence Johnson and Ken Blanchard --- who stole my cheese. From my pocket.
The only advice: please be careful. And save your money.
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on July 24, 2013
Actually, there is no argument. Have you ever heard just the refrain to REO Speedwagon's song "Roll With The Changes"? You have? Well, good news, my friend! There is no reason for you to read this book. Here's some more good news-if you have lived more than 6 years, there is no reason for you to read this book either. So, in sum, this book is only to be read to kids under 6 years of age with no exposure to '70s music yet.

Unfortunately, there is no "0 Stars" setting for Amazon's reviews. Amazon, I beg you to reconsider your ranking system; I think this book is finally THE book that has the power to change your reviews. After all, this book supposedly "changes lives"; surely, it can change your ratings system. Didn't you read and review this book too, editors from Amazon? You should look forward to that change and make it happen. I promise you that this change will be for the better and should be accepted with gratitude. You can make history! What do you think, fellow reviewers/contributors to Amazon? Who's with me?

If you make the wrong choices in life (let's just say you were a greedy corporate executive always grabbing for more cheese at the expense of others) and end up in eternal damnation, this book is a primer handed out at the Gates of Hell to accomplish two objectives:

#1) It is to begin your torture in earnest by forcing you to read this terribly written, fatuous, wholly insulting, and in all other ways execrable book.
#2) It is for you to understand that your recent change from a living person to eternal damnation may be unpleasant at first, but that change is really in your best interest and you should accept and embrace that change.

I don't think that it is even possible to fully detail the affront to "literature" and to other human beings that this book represents. But I'll give it the old college try.

As far as literature goes, don't you dare call this book literature without putting quotation marks around it to indicate contempt (see above)! It isn't! This book is to literature what Hitler was to world peace. Did you see that? That is an actual analogy. I point that out not to condescend to the reader (like the author regularly does) but because the author does not seem to understand what figures of speech are. For example, this phrase (in 50-point font) is repeated so much in the book that you cannot escape it, despite your best efforts- "(see) THE HAND-WRITING ON THE WALL." This is actually an idiom, a figure of speech I'm not sure the author can even spell. You and I would use this expression to describe someone who is perspicacious (the syllable count on this word precludes it from being in this book) enough to see and understand something unpleasant is coming and that this person will make adjustments to adapt to that unpleasantness. But at a point in this book, a character ACTUALLY WRITES SOMETHING ON THE WALL OF THE CAGE FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO READ. But the author continues to use the phrase for its idiomatic meaning, even though he has just killed the idiom by making it literally true as an incident in the book. Instances like this recur so much in the book that a reader who got through junior high English class will actually start laughing out loud at what the author is saying, and I suspect that wasn't the author's intention. And this example I gave is a petty misdemeanor in a rap sheet of felonies against writing and people in this book so long it would make Capone jealous. This book is a litany of clichés, platitudes, and inane corporate catchphrases passed off as wisdom that really is nothing but fleece for a few real problems you may face as a peon worker for a company:

#1) You may be fired soon.
#2) If you aren't going to be fired, you will soon be asked to do double the work for the same pay.
#3) You decide that 1 and 2 aren't really that important because you would rather go back in time and gouge your eyes out before making the decision to read this book.

Laughing at this book is the only sane response to reading it.

Because this author so dearly loves ham-fisted, misused, and wildly inappropriate "figures of speech," I'll stick to actual figures of speech and some other colorful phrasings in an attempt to describe the ineffable crime that is this book.

Reading this book is like hearing people scratch their nails on a chalkboard amplified to the volume of a jet engine after just being told your best friend passed away. (simile)

This book is a Titanic, a colossal monstrosity propelled by hubris claiming to take people somewhere on a fun ride of discovery when they are actually headed along a terrible trajectory. (metaphor)

It is strange and ironic that a book purporting to support good management philosophy and business practices directly violates core values of any good business, efficiency and thrift, by its mere existence. Why did the author say in somewhere around 200 sentences what could have been said in 2? The author has proven Occam's Razor as explained by St. Thomas Aquinas - "If a thing can be done adequately by means of one, it is superfluous to do it by means of several." If you use several means when unnecessary, you are guilty of vanity. While it comes up abysmally short on yielding any real insights, this book sure has vanity to display in a 90+ page parade.

It is unfortunate that this book didn't exist when unthinkable atrocities and terrors like the Black Plague, Mongol invasions, and Viking marauders wreaked havoc on millions of innocents. If it had, it could have empowered the survivors to better deal with the changes in their lives in a more adaptive and positive way.

If you are repeatedly stunned by the sun coming up each day, this book can offer you many profound insights about life. If this fact doesn't shock you, disappointment that quickly turns into seething rage awaits.

If you are a manager and you have forced your employees to read this book because you really like it, you have read it several times, and you think that having your employees read it will be a valuable use of their time, go ahead and give yourself a big pat on the back for being both a moron and a sadist.

Compared to Aesop's fables, this "fable" has the thematic complexity of a blank piece of paper, which is exactly what this book should have remained if God actually loved us.

If you have generously labeled this book a fable (no quotes), it is an ugly duckling that never became a swan because it was so idiotic it mistook its mother for a 50,000-volt wire, causing a brief and local power outage to some citizens in Denmark.

If this book could be personified into a vagrant who lay on the side of the road needing help for the sake of a parable (let's call this mythical book-man "Hurt"), Jesus would have had the Samaritan leave "Hurt" there on the road to die. And Jesus wouldn't have hemmed or hawed about it.

Now, to prevent accusations of being a hopelessly biased partisan of some stripe, I do want to say some positive things regarding this book in an effort to be fair and balanced. Let's see.

I think this book should be put into a time capsule for future generations to see. Yes, I think this book is that important. Nowhere to my knowledge are the endangered species of taste and intelligence more clearly demonstrated to be on their last legs than in this book. Future generations will note how much we cared about cheese, "cheese" serving as an unintentional but brilliant symbol of what our culture values above all other things - money and fattening foods. Perhaps a future generation will wonder why we came to pass away as we did, and this book will answer those questions better than any other work. And that future generation might also wonder why no one in our own time seemed to be able to read the writing on the wall.

Failing that, you can also always take a paperback copy of this book camping with you. If you forget to pack toilet paper and there is an emergency, you know what to do. And whatever is left after that, you can use as kindling to start a fire. Because shy of using this book as a warning for future generations, this book's fate should be another '70s song, this time from Kansas. It should be dust in the wind.
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on February 23, 2013
I give this two stars instead of one because it does have a valid point about adapting to the dizzying change going on around us and finding how to best contribute in this new world.

However, the undeniable fact is that there is a lot less cheese than there used to be. The corporate CEOs, the crooked bankers, the defense contractors, the Walton family, and others have grabbed trillions of dollars worth of cheese from the rest of us. So, when we go in search of cheese, most people will find only inferior cheese--and much less of it.

The moral of the story is that if we are suffering due to lack of cheese, it is our fault. It's the mean-spirited, idiotic ideology preached by Herman Cain, who told America, "Don't blame Wall Street. Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself." Yeah, right.

BTW, if you're wondering where the cheese was moved, it's in the Caymen Islands and other offshore tax shelters. According to Forbes Magazine, the super rich have stashed $21 Trillion in "cheese." Maybe one day the people in our government will get some balls and make them bring it back.

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on June 4, 2003
When you write a book on why those WITHOUT power should be accepting of any treatment by those WITH power, you're guaranteed to sell millions of copies of said book to those WITH power. It's little wonder that managers, CEOs, teachers, and pretty much anyone with authority over others praises this book. It gives them a moral blank cheque, and condemns anyone NOT in a position of power for even questioning, to say nothing of failing to conform.
If you want a crash course in what's wrong with humanity, read this book. The fact that there are people in this world who read and agree with it is horrific.
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VINE VOICEon August 11, 2010
"Who Moved My Cheese?" is one of those afternoon reads that is supposed to facilitate introspection, and make you a happier, more productive, and more "employed" person in the marketplace.

It starts out with people meeting at a high school reunion going over their expectations, discoveries, disappointments and satisfactions. One of them explains how he read a story about four characters and found a little of each of them in himself. That introduces the reader to two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two little people, Hem and Haw who seem to have an infinite supply of cheese at Station C in their maze, until one day...

The book examines how each character reacts to crises in his life, the crises of change, the actions they take to adapt to change or the mechanisms employed to resist it. We get a glimpse of the thinking of two characters in particular, and the discoveries they make about themselves. We, the readers are invited to make those same discoveries about our thinking to our outside stimuli and how we react, adapt or maladapt.

There is no harm in reading such a self-help book. It is not dripping with cheer and self-confidence, nor is the approach slick or cheesy. (Sorry). I often doubt the efficacy of such messages unless they are read over and over again on a fairly continual basis simply because self-examination is ultimately forgiving and very, well, you might say, subjective.

There is a fair amount of wisdom in 93 pages of large print.

It's an oldy but not a moldy. It has a bite and is very sharp.

As the late Viktor Frankl said: "When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."
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