Summary and Explanation of the Book: Who Moved My Cheese by Johnson

Published: 2021-08-10
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University of Richmond
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Research paper
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The book, Who Moved My Cheese by Johnson that was published by Random House in the year 2015 shows how people react to change, and the possible problems one can encounter when one does not follow change. The story relates to management through the change management concept that is known to be the survival kit for the modern world. The story features four characters, two mice, Scurry and Sniff, and two "little people," Hem and Haw, who are almost the size of the mice. The characters in the story live in a dizzy maze where they are chasing happiness in the form of cheese. Cheese used is a metaphor where it denotes to anything that we pursue after in life, and we perceive that it will eventually make us happy. The maze represents the environment that we are in such as home, family, work, or anything that relates to change (Johnson, 2015).

The character of mice is seen to be vigilant, always ready to move on in case the cheese disappears; they kept on monitoring on whether the cheese level is running low. Contrary to the humans they don't foresee the running out of the cheese. Instead, they are arrogant; hence they became blinded by it thus they could not see the declining supply, even though; they are not determined to seek for more. They are fearful of what is out of the maze. They are now used to their old behaviors; they believed that they are the only ones that are entitled to the cheese. Haw and Hem decided to stay since they thought that the cheese would appear once again. They became vicious and blamed one another. They grumble that they worked hard to discover the cheese and therefore, they deserve more. After a long wait, there is no change to their situation; and no new cheese had appeared. They blame one another for their predicament. They decided to take up the sophisticated tools to dig beneath ad behind the walls since they thought that the cheese might be behind there.

Finally, Hem becomes cleaver and explores the maze to see whether he will get more cheese. He convinces his partner Haw to go with him, but he refuses. Hem gets little bits of the new types of the cheese that are in the maze and brings them to Haw. Haw refuses to eat it since he only desired for the old cheese because of his adaptation to what he is used to take. Hem goes ahead to seek for more because these small bits are not enough to satisfy him. As Hem expeditions to new parts of the maze, he comes out of his fear and realizes many family lessons. He went on to write on the wall the lessons that Hem had learned from time to time to inspire himself to move forward and for Haw if he will realize what is important at that time and decides to follow him. Lastly, he finds the new place hidden in the maze where there was the ton of cheese, including all sort of new types. Once again, Hem meets Sniff and Scurry, who had arrived there long ago. The lessons that Hem wrote on the wall included (Johnson, 2015).:

Change Happens They Keep Moving the Cheese

Anticipate Change Get Ready for the Cheese to Move

Monitor Change Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old

Adapt to Change Quickly the Quicker You Let Go of Old Cheese, the Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

Change Move with the Cheese

Enjoy Change! Savor the Adventure and Enjoy the Taste of New Cheese!

Be Ready to Change Quickly and Enjoy It Again They Keep Moving the Cheese.

The Theme of the Book

Change is the central theme of the story. The idea started when the four characters Hem, Haw, Scurry, and Sniff, appear to their cheese station and realize that the cheese is no longer where it was. The cheeses station was abundant with cheese, and now it is empty. There are different reactions from each one of them concerning the predicament they faced in their life. Scurry and Sniff are ready for any change that will occur since they had seen it coming, they expressed low resistance for change and without hesitation, and they continued to pursue another cheese somewhere within the puzzles. As for the "little people," they were comfortable with what they had in their lives, and previously had no any idea that the cheese supply has been depleting, neither were they ready to adapt to the change. Haw used up much time contemplating the next move concerning the change that had occurred, while Hem closed everything out, in one instance, he put his ears and eyes down to put everything out of presence (Johnson, 2015).

The Targeted Audience

The primary target audience for this book includes new and established managers of organizations since they need to be ready for any change that may take place in the organization and prepared on the steps that they will make when any kind if the change will occur. The new and established managers will find the book helpful when they acquire excellent technique of viewing Change in the organization and among the workers and how to adapt in case of up and down that influence the operation of the organization. As for the new manager, he will learn to ponder on his proficiency and experience and adjust to them, the same way Haw learned from the mistakes he did previously and learned through his "handwriting on the wall." The writings on the wall enabled them to discover how to manage change and to be advantageous of higher success and less frustrating experience in the work and personal life. Some of the companies have already adopted the principles of changes as demonstrated in the book Who Moved My Cheese." As in TESCOM investment; an organization based in Dubai carried out a Gaining Change Skill Training Program created on the concept that had an exclusive and lenient attention on the persons by overwhelming the rough terrains with their practical skills. The lessons learned from the book "Who Moved My Cheese are taken severe and adopted in the firms and workers are at breast with them, making them flexible to work under different variation

The Beliefs of the book

The notion and beliefs expressed in the book hold a lot of truth about change that is there in our daily life activities and how to adapt to them. The decision that we see being made by Haw and Hem, while seeking for a "new cheese" in the maze, is similar to the choices that one takes in the daily life. It accounts for how to be aware of changes that might take place and work today rather than waiting for tomorrow. The dominant theme seen in the book relates to the how people change their environment. People in life would behave like Sniff, Scurry or Hem, Haw. Scurry who scurries out, or Sniff, who sniffs out early change. Hem, who resists and denies change since he worries that something worse, would happen, while Hawn learns on how to adapt during the time of changes.

Practical Application of the Book to Real Life Situations

The book has transformed the opinion that we have in view towards the darker side of life and work more positively and enthusiastically. As per the advice provided by the author, that change is inevitable, hence there is no snifter in crying over spilled out milk and observation are essential for the lousy management to prevent it from getting worse.

According to my perspective, the aligned theme of the book is close to the study of strategic management. The story given is in a simple and understandable structure. It is simple to compare the behavior and roles of various characters in the story to the people I know and situation of the practical social situations.

The application of the "maze" in the story is relevant to the realistic representation of the community that I live in, the organization that I work in, and even the relationship that I have. The book conveys a clear message of the choices that I need to make when faced with challenges in the environment that they are operating. The highly competitive environment compels the organizations to create a constant change. Change might happen at all of the time and needs to be put into account as part of nature. It is critical to anticipate any change that would occur and be ready to respond to the effect of changes. That will sustain personal stability as well as handle stress both at the workplace and at home. I learn to be always watchful and flexible, identify new prospects and when available, I will not hesitate to take advantage of them. The ideas and concepts used in the books can precisely incorporate into the workplace activities. I believe that any company has some Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw types of employees working for them.



Johnson, S. (2015). Who moved my cheese? Random House.


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