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Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens Hardcover – October 28, 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 3,014 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Having a million-plus copies of the bestselling Who Moved My Cheese? in print hasn't stopped Spencer Johnson, (The One Minute Manager) from repackaging his homily about adapting to life changes for a teenage audience.

The core of this teen book--a cheesy (literally) allegory about four characters navigating a maze in pursuit of happiness (cheese) with varying success--is identical to the cheese-quest story told in Johnson's grownup book. The only difference is that the opening and closing backstory that pads out Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens involves a group of teenagers kibbutzing in the cafeteria, not a group of adults attending their high school reunion.

Of course, it's hard to argue with the essence of Johnson's commonsense message: one of the few constants in life is change, and the sooner we learn to anticipate and adjust to change, the happier we'll be. But most criticisms of the book (and there have been many) boil down to the fact that Cheese is just too reductive and simplistic, and sometimes change in our lives can and should be resisted. (It hasn't helped that the book's popularity among corporate managers has come to be associated with layoffs... er, cheese removals.) But whatever your take on Johnson's philosophy, you'd do well to keep it to yourself. Otherwise, you can count on your teenager to form the exact opposite opinion. (Ages 12 and older) --Paul Hughes

From Publishers Weekly

Spencer Johnson, M.D., adapts his bestselling adult title for a teenage audience, in Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens. Here a teenage student presents the parable (identical to that featured in the adult version) in the high school cafeteria: two mice and two "Littlepeople" (Hem and Haw) who search for cheese in a maze and react to change in distinctly different ways ("The Cheese stands for whatever's important to you like getting on a team, having a boyfriend or girlfriend, getting into college..."). In a concluding discussion, the friends apply the parable to specific situations in their lives. The author's message about the importance of anticipating, accepting and using change to improve one's life can surely benefit this audience. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 28, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399240071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399240072
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,014 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover
If you've been given this book by someone at work it means that something bad is about to happen there. This book is set up to attempt to make you quiet and complacent. The book is arranged in three parts: an introduction which informs you that nearly everyone likes this book. You learn that if you don't like this book it probably means that you're afraid of change, stubborn, a know-it-all, and not likely to weather whatever impending storm your boss has in mind. So, having been conditioned to accept and like the book, you move into its main body which is a story about mice and people in a maze. When the maze changes the mice don't think much, don't question anything, they just adapt. The people think. This causes grief for the people. They don't think TOO hard though. Neither ever thinks "why am I in this maze in the first place and could I try to get out?" or "where is this cheese coming from and why?" They think only about the maze and the cheese in it. The third part of the book is a summation of what you have learned so far, using some old friends at a highschool reunion as examples. Those who think too much or do not adapt instantaneously and quietly end up badly (for example being fired!) Those who behave like mice live happily ever after. Beware of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
"Who Moved My Cheese?" is the epitome of no-fault corporatism at its worst, and the fact that so many people see the message as harmless is frightening. Yet the fact that this book finds such purchase in Human Resourse departments is not surprising.
The central theme of the book is that you are a rat in a maze. While that is quite an insight into how companies that give out this book see their employees, it is not wholly accurate. Throughout the course of this "book," it becomes clear that the theme is that you are more stupid than a rat in a maze.
What the book supports is that workers run around like good little mice and find whatever cheese the company sees fit to give them. The company has no responsibility at all to their employees to provide any kind of security, and if the cheese that they deign to give their employees moves, it is their worker's responsibility to keep up or literally perish. The unthinking constant activity of the mice is heralded as the ideal of behavior. In other words, shut up, do what we tell you as fast as you can, and adapt to our changes, or perish.
Change is obviously inevitable, but this book completely ignores your ability to affect change yourself. It is always the "other" moving the cheese instead of moving the cheese yourself. Self-will and determination are completely thrown out the window. It also completely discounts the capability of thinking about the situation to effect positive results; only unthinking reaction is held up for praise.
Anyone who holds this book up as a laudible reflection on change is completely ill-adjusted for the real thing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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