I’m not a quick reader, especially with non-fiction books where I am trying to absorb information. So short books that read like fictional stories are more my style. “Who Moved My Cheese” is a short business parable that can be finished in just one day.
My Summary: The story involves four characters (two mice and two miniature people) living in a maze in search for cheese. The mice are simple and operate on natural instinct. The people are obviously more complex and critically analyze situations before making a decision to change. At one point, all four characters come across the motherload of cheese and make it home. Life is good and comfortable. However, the cheese supply isn’t endless, and the little people either failed or refused to recognize the depleting stockpile until one day it was gone. The mice, guided by instinct, quickly moved on in search for new cheese. The humans, however, were reluctant to move. Instead of accepting the change, they were scared and stayed put in hopes of the cheese returning. Additionally, they victimized themselves and blamed the world for their sudden misfortune. As expected, the cheese never returns. One of them eventually acknowledges the need to move on and faces the fear associated with change. He braves the unknown maze in search for new cheese, which he eventually finds (as do the mice), though after facing discouragement and obstacles along the way. His friend, unfortunately, never embraces the need to change and does not leave despite the current situation causing him to lose his happiness, health, friend, etc.
My Take Home Points: It’s often said the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing but expecting different results. I feel that should be the unofficial tagline for this book. Change is scary, but oftentimes necessary. Change allows for progress at the individual and organizational levels, personally and professionally. We as humans are blessed with complex brains that allow us to analyze situations before reacting (unlike the mice); however, we are humans with complex brains that oftentimes get in the way of action. We can all identify with each character (sometimes we move too quickly on instinct alone while other times we hesitate or straight up refuse to budge) and find ourselves resembling one character more than the others. And we know others who match each character in the book. The goal is to know the potential strengths and weaknesses of each character type, and ultimately not refusing to or being fearful of change.
My Recommendation: I believe this book to be highly applicable to most everyone as we all have faced and will continue to face changes in our lives, not just those who are career oriented. It’s a good read for those pending an upcoming big change or a life-altering decision. Not fully knowing what the book was about, I happened to get it from our local library when my wife and I decided to transition off active duty military and were facing my release from service. It was good timing as I felt more comfortable with our decision after reading it.