Who moved my Cheese? I moved your Cheese!
Spencer Johnson wrote “Who Moved My Cheese?” in 1998. It´´s a motivational book written as a business fable. It describes change in one’s work and life, and four typical reactions to said change.
Who moved my cheese? What´s the original message:
See the synopsis on Wikipedia for the getting the details. The story of the book is about change. The cheese stands for money, work, relationship, life quality or whatsoever – something which people seek for in their life. Change happens and is uncontrollable, so we need to know this and accept the changes. “The mouse must take the maze as given”.
Wikipedia summarized it pretty well:
- 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 whole story is presented very well and plausible. It´s an eyeopener, it lets us rethink our perspectives.
BUT now there is Deepak Malhotra.
He states that “I moved your cheese” is incomplete and kinda incorrect. Right from the beginning we know that this book isn´t a extension, summary or analysis of “Who moved my cheese?”.
Deepak mimicks the fable and uses it as basis for his own. Instead of focussing Spencer´s fact that “the mouse must take the maze as given” and that we need to accept every change and adapt to change quickly, he focusses on the “maze in the mouse”.
Deepak introduces three characters. Max, who is curious, asking questions and tries to find a way to change the pattern according to his own will. He tries to get out of the maze. Zed, who has learned a lot. He stands out from the crowd with his wisdom. And Big, as the last protagonist, is talented, a disciplined “worker” and waiting for the chance to leave the maze.
The maze stands for our life, society, business and so on. Also the cheese is again an important point. Most mize spend their life seeking more cheese. When ever the cheese moves they try to adapt to the change just to get their cheese again. The maze around them is a given and in their eyes uncontrollable – so they accept this and start to look for new cheese again and again (according to the message of “the good book”, which stands for the message of “Who moved my cheese”).
Max, Zed and Big found their own ways to get out of the maze and make their own rules – controll how to get the cheese. Everyone in his own way. Max by trying to get “as high as possible”/”on top of the maze” to become free.
“I learned the language of the people, I spent much of my time studying them. I learned why they moved the cheese and how they decided where to move it.”
“I learned all of this, and it explained why things work the way they do in the maze.”
“I moved the cheese for all sorts of mice in the maze – and I influenced them. By moving their cheese, I changed how they thought, what they felt, which direction they traveled, and what they believed”.
Zed by putting the maze into question
“I challenged assumptions. I broke rules. I ignored constraints. I refused to believe that anything was a given. The result was inevitable. The maze ceased to exist. [...] For most mize, [the maze exists]. They define themselves – their very existence – in reference to the maze. The problem is not the mouse in the maze, but that the maze is in the mouse.”
And Big by selfdevelopment, learning and finally noticing that his usual and known “ways” are getting more crowded day by day and his usual activities are less helpful day by day. With the will to leave the maze after understanding what is going on with his experience he was finally able to leave the maze.
Deepak shares this three reactions of “people” with us to think about “the maze in the mouse” and which character is most connected to us.
This book lets you think about the maze, about change, about our everyday life. It shows us that the most important and influencing maze is in ourselves and not our surroundings like business, job or society. Once we know how to handle it, once we can accept our own rules we´ll be able to get out of the maze and get rid of constraints and frustrations.
With 70 pages this book is definitely a must-read and is great for discussions!