Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson – Book Summary

Who Moved My Cheese Book Summary

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  • Who moved my cheese is a fable about four characters who live in a maze and they all love cheese. When the cheese disappears scurry and sniff enthusiastically head out into the maze to find new cheese. 
  • On the other hand, hem and haw feel betrayed and complain. They waste their time and energy hoping the old cheese will return. 
  • Haw realizes the old cheese won’t return, so he sets out into the maze in search for new cheese. He writes what he learns on the walls hoping that hem will follow him.
  • Eventually, he discovers new cheese and sees that scurry and sniff were already there. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life. It could be a good job, loving relationship, money or health. 
  • The very core message of the book is this: Things constantly change, so we must adapt. The quicker we adapt a change, the more satisfied we will be. 
  • With that said, let’s cover the key lessons by looking at a real-life scenario.
  • Tim was an author and sold books on Amazon. He got paid 50 Rs. every time someone bought his book. This was his cheese. He loved his cheese but recently Amazon made a change to their way of paying authors. They introduced a new program called Kindle unlimited, where customers could download his book for free. 
  • The catch is that he only got paid for the amount of pages that customers read. He didn’t like this. His sales were dropping. He got angry at Amazon for taking his cheese. He spent weeks sending nasty emails to Amazon about why they should give his cheese back and complaining to his friends. And then there was Dave. He was an author as well. Instead of complaining, Dave sought out new cheese.

Lesson One:

Change happens. They keep moving the cheese. 

Dave accepted that change is inevitable. Amazon is constantly updating their business systems to meet the demands of their customers. 

Lesson Two

Anticipate change. Get ready for the cheese to move. 

Dave expected things to change so he was not surprised when Amazon changed their payment system.

Lesson Three

Monitor changes. Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old. 

Dave was able to anticipate change because he kept up with the latest news about Amazon. He talked with other authors and paid attention to the frequent emails Amazon sent him. 

Lesson Four

Adapt to change quickly. The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese. 

Dave knew that hanging around and complaining would not change amazon’s payment system. So instead he quickly adapted to the change.

Lesson Five

Change. Move with the cheese. 

To adapt to the change, Dave thought of ways to boost the sales with the new payment system, through brainstorming and creative thinking. He was able to come up with several techniques that would encourage the reader to read more pages in his books. 
One technique was to combine books that weren’t selling into one that was. That way the reader was likely to read everything. As a result, his sales began increasing again.

Lesson Six

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

Dave was happy that his work paid off. His success didn’t end there. He created an online course to teach people how they could adapt to Amazon’s new payment system and it sold like hotcakes.

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