Book: Who Moved My Cheese?
Author: Dr Spencer Johnson
Category: Self-help and Change
Summary: Accept change and move with it.
Anticipate it and enjoy it.
There are four
characters in a maze.
The four characters are:
Sniff and Scurry, two
mice that represent the
simple parts of our
Hem and Haw, two little
people that represent
the complex and
“human” parts of our
Sniff smells change early. Scurry is quick to act.
Hem resist change
as he feels it will
Haw resists at first
but then learns to
adapt as he
change can lead to
The Maze represents your
community, your organisation, the
relationship you are in.
At the beginning of the story
there is a piece of cheese that the
four characters eat.
The cheese in the Maze
represents what makes us happy –
money, stability, good job etc.
The mice check the cheese every
day to see if there have been any
changes and keep their running
shoes around their neck in case
they have to move again.
The little people settle down
around the cheese and become
complacent and self satisfied with
One day they wake up to find that
the cheese is gone.
The mice immediately put on their
running shoes and go off in search
of new cheese.
The Little People stay there in
shock, not believing this terrible
turn of events.
Hem insists on staying where they
are, saying that ‘life is unfair’ and
they should be compensated for
this loss of cheese. He is never
able to abandon the place where
his favourite cheese was and stays
where he is, even if it means
Haw at first shuts the change out,
not wanting to accept that things
At first Haw is frightened of going
back into the maze again, looking
for new cheese.
After a while, however, he realises
that looking for new cheese is
better than staying in an old place
that has no cheese.
He imagines himself finding and
enjoying new cheese and that
pushes him on.
Eventually, and after almost giving
up, he finds new cheese in a part
of the maze where he had never
Sniff and Scurry are already there,
enjoying the cheese.
This time he enjoys the cheese
but continues to go out every day
to discover new parts of the maze
and he checks the cheese every
day for signs of change.
The lessons that Haw takes away
from the loss of the cheese are:
Change happens and we must
move with it.
We should anticipate change and
be ready for things to change.
We should monitor our current
situation so we know when things
are starting not to work.
We should adapt to change
quickly and let go of the old ways
of doing things, or the things
We must change!
We should enjoy the change and
treat it as an adventure!