BOOK REVIEW

‘Who Moved My Cheese’ offers vital life lesson

Change is inevitable and should be anticipated and adapted to

In Summary

• The book is written as a parable, whereby the reader is supposed to draw lessons

• The author uses humans and mice to convey different reactions to awkward change

Book cover
Book cover
Image: COURTESY

Title: Who Moved My Cheese

Genre: Self-help book, Fiction

Author: Spencer Johnson

How often do we take things for granted? Every time! People can stay in one job, business, relationship or even situation for years, even when it is not fulfilling. Rarely do we stop and think if there are changes that we need to make to make things better.

Well, 'Who Moved My Cheese' gives an insight into how change is inevitable and what it means to embrace or not embrace it. The cheese in the book is a metaphor for anything you yearn for, be it money, peace, happiness, fame, reputation, success, love and so on.

The book is written as a parable and the reader is supposed to draw lessons from what the story implies.

It opens with the reunion of former schoolsmates, chatting about how life panned out after they left school. And as they discuss life challenges, one of them narrates a story that saved his business from collapse.

The story revolves around four characters: Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw. They live in a maze and look for cheese to keep themselves happy.

Sniff and Scurry are mice, while Hem and Haw are humans who are the size of mice. The four test each pathway in the maze until they find one with a tonne of cheese and settle in the spot, called Station C.

At the station, humans settle down and get comfortable while the mice remain vigilant and keep observing changes in the station and size of the cheese. Then one day, the cheese gets finished.

The mice saw it coming and so they are ready to move on and search for new. They soon find another cheese station.

However, the humans are caught by surprise and stay at the station, moaning their loss and hoping someone will restock the cheese.

After a long time of moaning and soul-searching, Haw decides to explore the maze for more cheese, even though his body has grown weak for lack of food and can hardly move around. He tries to convince Hem to join him but he won’t as he is too scared to begin the search for cheese all over again.

At some point, Haw finds tiny bits of a new type of cheese in the maze and brings it to Hem, but Hem refuses to eat it, saying he only wants the old type of cheese, which he is accustomed to.

Haw leaves, pushes past his fears and continues with his search as the tiny bits he had found are not enough.

After a long and tedious search, he finally finds a new spot with lots of cheese, and in there at the station, he finds the mice, Sniff and Scurry, who arrived long before him and have been enjoying all types of cheese.

The story brings out how each character reacts when an unexpected change happens. The mice and humans' reactions to the cheese situation give valuable lessons that help find out how you deal with change to succeed or move forward.

The author, through the short, light-hearted parable, brings out the fact that change is inevitable and should be anticipated and adapted to so as to suffer less stress and unhappiness and find fulfilment in life.