“Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson

Published 16 May 2017

The book “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson is a story about two humans and two mice – after living in a maze they are faced with inevitable change. It is a matter of fact that changes are something which can’t be avoided as change is essential and inevitable part of the modern society and its significance is really dominant and great. They are phenomena which are universally accepted. The problem in the story is that cheese is moved and we see that reactions are different – they vary from quick adjustment to new location of the cheeses to simply waiting the change to suit needs. (Johnson, 1998)

In such a way the author shows adjusting attitudes towards changes in life stressing their importance in working environment. Changes are sudden and often they are unexpected, but they occur despite the fact that people are not ready. Changes don’t ask permission to occur; they simply enter professional and private life. Johnson claims that changes can be positive and he asks to anticipate changes, letting them provide new and fresh insights, not to be afraid of them. (Johnson, 1998)

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If to deepen in the plot the author presents two mice – Scurry and Sniff, and two humans – Haw and Hem. We see that Sniff is a new type of mouse who is seeking for new opportunities and realizes the importance of change. Sniff really enjoys being the first, to be the leader, whereas Scurry is no dummy either. Scurry is very quick in taking action. In contrast to ‘modern’ mice, Haw is presented as a person who isn’t willing to embrace the notion of change as he feels comfortable in his living conditions. He used to his living, to location of the cheese and doesn’t want changes to occur in his life. The positive moment is that Haw is able to break past fears and to cope with change despite his unwillingness. Finally, Hem is the only person in the story who fails to accept the change or it is possible to say that he simply refuses to accept change stressing they are not important and people should live the way they used to. (Johnson, 1998)

Through the images of four characters the author symbolically provides different perspectives and attitudes towards change, reasons why people resist changes and benefits of changes. The author stresses that fear is the most powerful obstacle to change as people are really afraid about their future; whether the change will bring positive consequences as otherwise the life would be broken, etc. One more interesting idea is that ‘cheese’ brings new relations with the same person – old relations are broken and it is time to establish new ones.

It is not wise to repeat the same behaviour as the same results will be obtained. I think that the book helps the audience in defining themselves, in shaping relations with others and to choose their own way in adjusting to changes in terms of Scurry, Sniff, Haw and Hem. The author shows the change fro the new perspective. (Johnson, 1998) The four perspectives on change are presented as following:

  • Change happens – “they keep moving the cheese”;
  • Change is anticipated – “get ready for the cheese to move”;
  • Change is actually made – “move with the cheese”;
  • The fruits of change are enjoyed – “enjoy the taste of new cheese”. (Johnson, 1998)

Modern corporate world is very turbulent and every processional should realize the importance to understand and to anticipate occurring changes. The book is very simple and every will understand its hidden sense. The cheese is what people want to get in their lives – small house or luxurious apartments. Actually, some people are satisfied with what they have in their life and they resist changes, whereas others people are open to new opportunities and they are ready to accept and anticipate changes as they may bring new house, income, benefits, etc. Тew opportunities will be found in case you are going the right directions, not remaining on the constant place and waiting for cheese to return to you. The quicker you let old life to go, the quicker new opportunities will be found. (Johnson, 1998)


  • Johnson, Spencer. (1998). Who Moved the Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Changes in Your Work and in Your Life. New York: Penguin.
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