Summary of Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

  • Post category:Summaries
  • Post last modified:November 1, 2022

Summary: 4 min

Book reading time: 1h22

Score: 9/10

Book published in: 1998

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  • Things constantly change. You’ll never reach a point in life where you have everything you want and that’s it.
  • You need to evolve with the world. When what you want disappears, you need to get back out there to find something else.
  • Never quit. What you desire to have is out there. You’ll find it if you stick long enough.

What Who Moved My Cheese Talks About

Who Moved My Cheese is a book written by Spencer Johnson. It is a short story about how most of us deal with change and how we should do it instead. It contains a lot of wisdom and asks the crucial question: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? It taught me that life is constantly changing and that we should adapt to change instead of resisting it.

It took me a long time before reading this book because of its title.

Believe it or not, the word “cheese” made the whole story “smell bad”.

That’s too bad, as it’s a great book!

Enjoy the summary!


Buy the book here.

Summary of Who Moved My Cheese Written by Spencer Johnson

Once upon a time, there was a maze that contained cheese.

Two mice were running around to find it. Every day, they’d wake up, and spend the day looking for a cheese station.

Two Littlepeople did the same.

One day, all of them found a lot of cheese at station C. They were happy.

The mice woke up early, and came to eat the cheese every day.

The Littlepeople were happy too, but as time went by, they became comfortable. They got used to the cheese. Then they became arrogant and entitled.

They didn’t notice that the portion of cheese was diminishing every day.

One day the cheese had completely disappeared. So the mice went back into the maze to look for new cheese.

The Littlepeople though, were shocked. “This is not fair, they said, who took my cheese away”?

They spent the day complaining, and returned the next day thinking that maybe, the cheese would come back…but it never did.

Meanwhile, the mice had looked enough so that they had found a new cheese station: station N.

During that time, the Littlepeople were still complaining the cheese had disappeared.

One of them declared at some point “that’s enough, the mice have probably found new cheese by now. Let’s go back into the maze”. But the other, afraid of the efforts and the risk of failure, objected.

What’s your cheese you’re looking for in the maze? Photo by Tobias Rademacher on Unsplash

As time went by, they became more irritated. So they decided to drill a hole into the wall to see if the cheese was there. They worked hard, but to no avail.

There was no cheese.

This is how they learned the difference between activity and productivity.

Eventually, one of them decided to go back into the maze. He understood cheese at station C was never coming back.

If you do not change, you become extinct.

The other did not want to. He was afraid to fail to find cheese. So his friend went back into the maze without him.

It was no fun though, and he had a hard time in the maze. He couldn’t find enough cheese to sustain for a long time, and he was constantly afraid.

Afraid not to make it, afraid to starve, afraid…

Hearing himself, he laughed. Being afraid did not make things better, but much worse!

He asked himself what he would do if he wasn’t afraid. “I’d keep on moving forward“, he thought.

So he did.

He felt better.

When you stop being afraid, you feel good.

Once he had gotten past his fear, he enjoyed himself much more.

He started imagining himself eating all of the cheese he ever wanted to have.

Imagining yourself enjoying your new cheese leads to it.

He understood that while a change could lead to worse, it could also lead to better. He quickly spotted new cheese and tried it out. He liked it, and took a bit of it for when he’d visit his friend back at station C.

As he was nearing a new station, he felt that one was the right one…but it wasn’t. Someone had already eaten all of the cheese.

The quicker you let go of old cheese, the quicker you find new one.

He went back to station C and offered the new cheese to his friend, who refused, thinking he would not like it.

So he went back into the maze. He realized he loved looking for cheese as long as he wasn’t afraid. He also realized that he’d always be looking for cheese. Change was the only constant.

Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.

He wished he had left station C earlier, but what was done was done.

Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to bigger changes later on.

Then it happened. He found station N and met his friends the mice.

He realized the mice, despite being animals, were much smarter. When the cheese moved, they went back to the maze and looked for new cheese. No drama.

So, what else did he learn?

  • He started to change when he laughed at his own folly.
  • He envisioned himself finding new cheese to find it.
  • He used the mistakes he made to get better in the future.
  • No need to overcomplicate the situation with fear.
  • The faster he adapts, the better it is.
  • There is always some new cheese.
  • Most fears are irrational
  • Change is a blessing in disguise.

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