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Who Moved My Cheese Summary – Dr. Spencer Johnson

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
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One-Sentence Summary

Who Moved My Cheese is a short, light-hearted parable about the different ways we respond to life's changes and how doing so skillfully can help us find more success and happines in our lives - by best-selling author, Dr. Spencer Johnson. (96 pages)

Note: This Who Moved My Cheese summary is part of an ongoing project to summarise the Best Mindset Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

Who Moved My Cheese Review

Who Moved My Cheese? is a short, light-hearted parable about change, by best-selling author, Dr. Spencer Johnson. It follows the physical and emotional journeys of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw) as they search, find, lose and must rediscover their supply of cheese, in a large, twisting maze.

Johnson’s bits of cheese are a metaphor for what you want in life – a good job, a loving relationship, money, possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for it – the organisation you work for, the family or community you live in. And the problem is that no stash of cheese lasts forever. Life changes, cheese supplies run out and we can all find ourselves suddenly cheeseless, whether we like it or not.

Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw’s stories illustrate the importance of and an amazing way to deal with change. And though it’s disarmingly simple (the quicker you let go of old cheese the better; put on your running shoes and keep hunting for new cheese), Who Moved My Cheese? captures and explores powerful and resonant life lessons that could have been written just for you.

Its ultimate conclusion? Change is inevitable. Effective people monitor change, anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace and enjoy it. If you do not change you can become extinct. If you do change you won’t just suffer less stress and unhappiness, you’ll enjoy more success and fulfilment in every part of your life and your work.

My verdict? Who Moved My Cheese? is a bestseller everyone can learn from and enjoy. It’s charming and inspiring and full of actionable, small changes and takeaways for rewiring our complex brains. And at just 92 pages it’s shorter than most of our daily commutes.

I’d definitely recommend picking up the original. Its fact-light, story-heavy format also makes it perfect to devour via audible.

Whether you’re processing change or preparing for the inevitable this book will remind you that you’re not alone and that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Enjoy change! Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese!

And begin your new journey with the Who Moved My Cheese summary below…

Who Moved My Cheese Summary

One-Sentence Summary: Our circumstances are constantly changing, even if we don’t want them to, and the secret to long-lasting happiness is to enjoy the good, easy times when we get them while staying alert to and being ready to change with new circumstances when they come (instead of resenting and/or resisting them and being left behind).

Full Summary: We all strive towards outcomes at work, at home and in our communities because we believe they will make us (or those we love) happy.

It might be a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions. It might be better health or spiritual peace of mind.

And it can feel wonderful when we eventually get them. Those things become cornerstones in our best-laid plans for the future.

Yet life is constantly changing and sometimes it blocks (or even undoes) things we expect, feel we deserve or have worked so long and so hard to accomplish.

But because we fear starting again, looking foolish or that we might end up somewhere worse, we often don’t want to change when things begin changing around us.

We deny change has arrived or was coming. We get frustrated and start to blame others. We cling to what was, instead of what simply now is.

And the more important whatever’s-at-risk feels, the more desperately we try to hold on.

We seethe with impotent stress and vexation. We think more about what could go wrong than go right. We let our fears grow out of control then control us.

But the fact is, like it or not, that the world is constantly changing. And while not all change is good or necessary it always creates new opportunities, whether we recognise them immediately or not.

That’s why it’s important to learn how to deal with change. That’s why it pays to learn how to adapt to new circumstances.

How to Enjoy Change

When change happens, the first thing to realise is that how you react is your choice. The biggest barrier to change is inside you.

The second thing to realise is that the best way to deal with change is to keep things simple, be flexible and move quickly. When change comes along simply change with it.

Ask yourself:

  1. “Where am I likely to find the best opportunities, fighting this change or embracing it?”
  2. “What could my life look like if these new circumstances led to something even better than the ones that I’m leaving?” and
  3. ”What would I do if I wasn’t afraid I might fail?”

Really reflect on your answers.

Visualise them til the details are almost tangible in your head; until you change what you used to believe.

Realise that most of your fears are irrational. Laugh at your previous folly. Let it go.

Then take action – make things happen rather than letting things happen to you. Take control – even if you worry you’ve waited too long.

Recognise that sometimes things change and they are never the same again. And if this is one of those times, that’s life!

Life moves on and if you don’t want to risk going extinct, so must you.

How to Anticipate and Adapt to Change Quickly

And the next time that times are a-changing? Reflect on your previous mistakes and don’t let those changes surprise you!

Recall that no matter how secure something feels, you should always expect change to happen.

Because when you expect change (both gradual and sudden) to happen, you’ll better monitor and anticipate it early.

And when you monitor and anticipate change early, you’ll find it easier to adapt to it quickly.

And when you adapt to change quickly you may find you even enjoy it.

And when you enjoy change you’ll learn to love testing the edge of your comfort zone; you’ll be ready to embrace change again and again when it happens.

You’ll be less stressed, less unhappy and more adaptive than those who resist the inevitable.

You’ll shift your focus from losing what once was, to gaining what might someday be.

You’ll have more time, space and energy to embrace new outcomes that may prove even better than the old ones.

And you’ll enjoy a time-tested path to more success in your life and your work.

Who Moved My Cheese Contents

Who Moved My CheeseHas 12 mini-chapters which all fall within the second of the three parts of the book…

Part 1: A Gathering – Chicago

Part 2: Who Moved My Cheese?: The Story

  1. Four Characters
  2. Finding Cheese
  3. No Cheese!
  4. The Mice: Sniff & Scurry
  5. The Littlepeople: Hem & Haw
  6. Meanwhile, Back In the Maze
  7. Getting Beyond Fear
  8. Enjoying The Adventure
  9. Moving With The Cheese
  10. The Handwriting On The Wall
  11. Tasting New Cheese
  12. Enjoying Change!

Part 3: A Discussion – Later That Same Day

Who Moved My Cheese FAQs

Who Moved My Cheese Short Summary?

Who Moved My Cheese? is a tale about four characters – Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw – who discover the risks and rewards of resisting and adapting to change as they search, find, lose and must rediscover their favourite food, cheese, in a large, twisting maze. Read the full Who Moved My Cheese summary.

What Is the Moral of the Story Who Moved My Cheese?

The moral of Who Moved My Cheese? is that change is inevitable (whether you like it or agree with it or not). Resisting change leads to stress and unhappiness. Embracing change leads to success and fulfillment. Read the full Who Moved My Cheese summary.

Best Who Moved My Cheese Quotes

These Who Moved My Cheese quotes come from The Art of Living's ever-growing central library of thoughts, anecdotes, notes, and inspirational quotes.

Best Who Moved My Cheese Quotes: When you change what you believe, you change what you do.

Who Moved My Cheese PDF Summary

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Read More: 5 Books Like Who Moved My Cheese

Enjoyed this Who Moved My Cheese summary? You might enjoy the rest of the books on these lists of the Best Mindset Books and Best Self Help Books of all time.

And in the meantime...

Here are 5 top books like Who Moved My Cheese...

Books Like Who Moved My Cheese?: As a Man Thinketh
1. As a Man Thinketh - James Allen (FREE Summary)
As a Man Thinketh is THE #1 ranking, uplifting, pocket-sized pep-talk on the power and importance of changing your thoughts as the cornerstone to changing your life - by philosopher and prolific self-help author, James Allen.
Published 1902 // 34 pages // Rated 4.3 over 69,900 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like Who Moved My Cheese?: Think and Grow Rich
2. Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill (FREE Summary)
Think and Grow Rich is a best-selling book of all time and a cornerstone guide to the Law of Attraction and the role of the subconscious in transforming your life - by a titan of the self-help genre, Napoleon Hill.
Published 1937 // 233 pages // Rated 4.2 over 268,100 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like Who Moved My Cheese?: The Magic of Thinking Big
3. The Magic of Thinking Big - David J. Schwartz (FREE Summary)
The Magic of Thinking Big is a powerful, practical and uplifting book to help get you out of a rut, invigorate your goals and empower you towards success - by life-long motivational writer and coach, David J. Schwartz.
Published 1959 // 320 pages // Rated 4.2 over 80,300 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like Who Moved My Cheese?: The Power of Positive Thinking
4. The Power of Positive Thinking - Norman Vincent Peale (FREE Summary)
The Power of Positive Thinking reminds us that we don’t need a PhD in Human Relations to live our best lives if we can learn a few tricks to change how we think - by minister and best-selling author Norman Vincent Peale.
Published 1952 // 128 pages // Rated 4.2 over 96,800 reviews on Goodreads
Books Like Who Moved My Cheese?: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
5. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living - Dale Carnegie (FREE Summary)
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a practical, common-sense bible filled with stories, case studies and simple step-by-step guides to conquering worry, anxiety and depression - by self development guru, Dale Carnegie.
Published 1944 // 358 pages // Rated 4.1 over 87,800 reviews on Goodreads

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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