Book Review :: Who Moved My Cheese?

I hope no one has been spying on my Shelfari bookshelf. If you have, you’ll notice that Who Moved My Cheese? has been on the “I’m reading now” shelf for quite a while. Well, it has finally been moved off. And, while you may think I’m on a non-fiction kick with two in a row, I’ll be back to my regular topics come tomorrow.

Maybe it is where I am in life, but I was very disappointed with Who Moved My Cheese? This is another book that has been on my TBR pile for a long time because it came so highly recommended. I started it sometime toward the end of 2009 and because I knew it wasn’t doing anything for me, let it sit for a long time. However, this too, is a quick read so I finally said, “to heck with it” and finished it.

Cheese is subtitled “An A-mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life.” It’s a parable of two little people (Hem and Haw) and two mice (Sniff and Scurry) who live in a maze. Cheese represents whatever it is in life that you work for: clients, money, home, luxury, status, image. The four maze residents awake one day to discover that their cheese is no longer where it had been the day before.

And so the message within the metaphor is in how each of the four animals react to their “cheese” being moved. Sniff and Scurry have little trouble adapting because they had already realized that the cheese supply was dwindling. Besides, they’ve always been attracted to the place where cheese was because they smelled the cheese there, not because it was the location they were accustomed to going to. Haw eventually gets it, writing messages “on the wall” (yes, the cheese in this book is endless) to remind himself of lessons learned, but then also struggles because he wants Hem to catch up, too.

Perhaps the lesson in Who Moved My Cheese? puts the familiar idiom – “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” – on its head to instead say, “If you do what you’ve always done, you best be prepared for when things change and it no longer works as it always has.”

My problem with this book was in its simplicity. I kept thinking, “Duh? Is there nothing more?” I guess I’ve had so much change in my adult life – four careers, four homes, marriage, divorce, re-marriage – I’ve never operated on the assumption that change won’t come, so this metaphor didn’t offer me anything.

Perhaps this would be a good group read for a unit that is undergoing adjustments – I could see where it would inspire some discussion concerning people’s reactions to what is happening in their environment. Otherwise, skip it and pick up yesterday’s subject.

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2 Replies to “Book Review :: Who Moved My Cheese?

  1. Goodness I remember this book. Our company a few years ago made us watch the animation of 'wheres my cheese' (yes there is one) before giving us all a cheese shaped stress reliever. I dont know what they were thinking LOL

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