“Who moved my cheese?” is a very timely book given what we are all going through right now. It is a time of great change for all of us. This book is about how we think about and deal with change.
It’s a short parable. It takes about an hour to read. Don’t let the shortness fool you, it carries some deep insights. The parable tells the story of 4 creatures in a maze looking for cheese. Of course cheese is a metaphor for success and the maze is a metaphor for life.
There are 2 mice:
- Sniff is always smelling out new cheese. He’s ahead of the curve he is always anticipating change.
- Scurry is all about action. He is always running ahead. Sometimes he gets lost or hits a dead end, but he always keeps moving.
There are also 2 little people or humanlike characters.
- Hem is very resistant to change. He first denies, then resists it and eventually becomes a victim of it.
- Haw is at first resistant but once he sees the benefits of change he slowly adapts to it.
The story begins with the 4 of them finding a large supply of cheese in the maze. The bulk is hat happens once the cheese runs out. It then follows Haw as grapples with and finally adapts to the change. He gathers various nuggets of wisdom along the way which he shares by writing them on the wall of the maze.
The best part of this is actually not the parable itself. It is quite good, but the best part is the way it is introduced and the analysis afterwards. It is introduced by a group of guests at a high school reunion. They are all sitting around talking about how things have changed.One of them brings up the parable and starts to tell it. At the end everyone reflects on different lessons that they saw in the parable. It is quite powerful.
In these times of change it is important to be like Haw (or perhaps Scurry and Sniff) and adapt to the change. It is happening whether you like it or not. The real decision is: Are you going to be left behind or are you going to adapt? If you are waiting for things to go back to the way they were you will be sorely disappointed. Better to get ahead of the curve.