Book Title: Who Moved My Cheese?
Author: Dr. Spencer Johnson
First edition: 1998
Reviewer: Pamba Khavayie
Imagine one day you woke up and discovered you no longer have the job you so much adore? Or you no longer are married? Or death has snatched someone very close? Will you commit suicide? Will you slip into a coma because of shock? Will you get a heart attack? Will you blame your employer because you lost your job? Or sue them? Or perhaps you will accept and move on?
In the face of technology, many businesses have suffered tremendously because they might have failed to adapt to change. In the same way, some have flourished because they adapted quickly to change and embraced the technological advances.
By now, you must have heard a million times that the only constant thing is change. Plato once said that everything changes and nothing remains still. Humans being however have a tendency to fear change. Others will resist change while others will take eternity to adapt. In various organizations, changes usually happen and there are those who will be quick to see that there is need to change and adapt, others get things done quickly. Others are hesitant of change initially, but are open-minded and thus, adapt in time. However, there are those who are totally resistant to change and refuse to adapt, thus dragging the organization down. Their fear of change closes up their mind.
Who Moved My Cheese? is a fable that explores change in interesting dimensions, illustrated by four characters: Sniff, Scurry, Hew and Haw, who all look for their cheese in a maze. They always go to the same spot every day and find cheese, but one day, they wake up and find the cheese is no more. They risk starving to death if they do not find new cheese. Sniff and Scurry move on quickly and start looking for new cheese, but Hem and Ham feel entitled and fail to understand who moved their cheese. They think that it is unfair that someone moved their cheese and feel that they had the right to the cheese. This entitlement is what most of us suffer from. The book will clearly demonstrate what happens when change comes and what we ought to do.
The maze has been used allegorically to mean situations or environment which we live in. Cheese can be used to mean anything you hold on to like a job, relationship, habit, source of happiness etc.
The author uses a get-together of high school re-union to demonstrate how cheese applies in various situations. Each of the friends explains why the story about Who Moved My Cheese applies to them.
Here are a few lessons perhaps you will learn with change:
- Be on the lookout for change so that it doesn’t catch you off guard
- Adapt to change quickly
- It is normal to be afraid, but don’t stay there for too long. Get over your fear
- Old beliefs cannot lead to new cheese
- If you don’t change, you become extinct
- Move with your cheese
- Enjoy the journey, while changing
My biggest lesson I’m taking home from this book is “what would you do, if you were not afraid?” Fear cripples our thinking and paralyses our motion.
Perhaps this book couldn’t come at a better time, considering it is just the beginning of the year, when we have various changes to make, to fulfil our resolutions. One last thing, the book is tiny that you’ll take less than hour to read, but its lessons will last a lifetime.
Now, guys, won’t we move with our cheese?