Who moved my cheese by Spencer Johnson is a simple, short & very interesting book based on a parable (story), which revolves around 4 characters who represent human’s way of responding to changes. You will learn to adopt new changes through an interesting story.
In his book summary “cheese” represent what you want to have in your life like a good job, relationship, etc. & “maze” is where you look for what you want like company, your family, etc. Before jumping to the who moved my cheese summary, let’s introduce characters in this book.
Who Moved My Cheese Character summary
Out of 4 imaginary characters Sniff & Scurry are two mice, Hem & Haw are people little as mice but act like today’s human being. Each of them have special charactoristics like:
Sniff- detects the change early
Scurry- take action & move with quick short steps
Hem- afraid of change & resist to change
Haw- Learns & adopt in time when he sees changing can lead to something better.
Who moved my cheese story
Every morning, Sniff, Scurry, Hem & Haw put their running shoes & run through the maze in search of cheese which makes them healthy & happy.
Sniff, Scurry, the two mice have simple brain & good instincts which helps them finding special kind of cheese they like.
Hen & Haw, two little people having complex brain, emotions & beliefs helped them finding “Capital C” kind of cheese that they like.
They run through the maze which consist of corriors & containers. They run through the corridors, if found empty they remember the path & search the new areas. Despite many failures like going to the wrong way, trapped in dak containers they somehow succeeded to find the special cheese. It was in Cheese Station C in one of the corridors.
Every day, sniff & scurry raced to the cheese station C & enjoy the cheese. Whereas Hem & Haw brought their home near cheese station. They used to wake up late, come to the cheese station & enjoy cheese. They are happy & proud of their success. They decorated their home with writings. Haw writes on the wall- “Having cheese make you happy.”
Many days passed. Every morning sniff & scurry with their good instincts observing changes in nearby areas & cheese. They noticed cheese is decreasing day by day. Whereas Hem & Haw become arrogant of their success. They didn’t notice the change. They thought cheese will remain forever.
One day cheese disappeared from the Cheese Station C. Sniff & scurry didn’t surprise as they knew cheese is decreasing day by day. Without thinking & analyzing they put their running shoes & moved to find new cheese.
When Hem & Haw came to the cheese station they shocked. “Who moved my cheese?”, Yem yelled. Haw shook his head in disbelief. They stood there for some time. They went home that night hungry & discouraged. Haw wrote on the wall- “The more important cheese is to you the more you want to hold on it.”
The next day Hem & Haw come in hope of finding cheese. They looked around the cheese station but didn’t find it. Haw thought about sniff & scurry. He thought they should move on to find new cheese. He shared his idea with Hem but disappointed as Hem did not want to do the hard work again to find new cheese leaving his comfortable home.
At the same time, sniff & scurry were on the way to find new cheese. They failed sometimes but later they found new cheese at cheese station N. This cheese was delicious than the previous one.
In the meantime, Hem & Haw were analyzing the same thing again & again. Due to lack of cheese they were growing weak.
Haw realized cheese will never come again & he had to find new cheese. He tried to convince Hem but failed. He decided to move alone. Before leaning he wrote on the wall- “If you do not change, you become extinct.”
He went into the maze. Due to lack of cheese, his steps were painful & slower. He was anxious & thinking of going back. He imagined his future having new cheese. He managed to move into an unknown container in search of cheese. He wrote on the wall- “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
At one cheese station he found small pieces of cheese. He realized if he did come earlier he could have more cheese. He wrote on the wall- “Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.”
Now he was feeling good & put his head into the maze without fear. He wrote on the wall- “When you stop being afraid, you feel good.” After some failures He come at cheese station N. When he entere into the container, he delighted looking a huge amount of cheese.
Sniff & scurry were already there eating cheese. Haw met them & enjoyed new cheese with them. Every day he inspecitng new cheese station & he is aware of every moment.
One day, he found his friend Hem. Hem came there tracing his writing on the wall.
Every character in this story behaves like all of us. Some people are like sniff & scurry who take action immediately as change happens & some people like Hem take action after realizing change. And some people like Hem, change at the last. Here are some lessons to learn from the summary of Who moved my cheese?
Who Moved My Cheese Lessons
Lesson #1 Don’t hold your cheese (change will happen)
Embrace change. Change is the only constant in the world. Whether it is your job or business, things change over time & you need to change as well. Otherwise, you will lose your cheese like Hem in the story.
People or businesses who didn’t changed over time lost their customers. Nokia is good example of it.
Lesson #2 Don’t react, Respond
When cheese disappeared Hem & Haw reacted to the change. They reacted with blaming each other & did nothing to change conditions. Instead they could have done things which were in their control. Similarly, as change happen we need to look for new opportunities & ways to grow.
Lesson #3 Overcome Fear
You might stay where you are because of your fear like Haw. But when you imagine your good fortune that will come with adopting change, your fear will disappear. Remember the Haw’s words,” What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”.
Lesson #4 Stay Aware
There are some people like sniff & scurry who always stay aware of changing situations. These are the people who notice the change earlier, adopt it & enjoy the benefits. You must do the same. Look for changes that will happen in the next 5-10 years. Start learning new skills & moving your business.
Lesson #5 Enjoy Change
Many people think of change is bad. They always look in the past. Change is not always bad. In fact, whatever technology we are enjoying now is the result of new changes happened over time. When you admit change & think positively about it, you will start enjoying the change.
Read Also- The New One Minute Manager summary
Who Moved My Cheese? Quotes
“The Quicker you let go of your old cheese the sooner you fing new cheese.”
“Imaining yourself enjoying your new cheese leads you to it.”
“Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.”
“When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese you change course.”
“Noticing small change early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”
“Movement in new direction helps you find new cheese.”
“When you stop being afraid, you feel good!”
With this, we come to the end of Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese Summary. Keep changing & keep reading.