Who Moved My Cheese by Spenser Johnson, MD essay

The word “changes” rather terrifies than evokes pleasant thoughts. They can grow slowly and unnoticed, or rush into one’s life without any warning and turn everything upside down. Spenser Johnson in his book Who Moved My Cheese? Tries to deliver the idea that changes are the inevitable parts of our life, which can bring a great benefit to every person if one manages to transform his attitude towards them.


The story follows the adventures of four characters: a pair of mice, Sniff and Scurry, and a pair of little people, Hem and Haw, who by moving through the Maze try to find their own Cheese. Each character has his own strong features that help succeed in their search, for example, Sniff has a good sense of smell, which helps the mice decide the correct direction of movement, Scurry is capable of running very fast, which gives the opportunity to inspect big areas of the Maze in a small period of time. Both mice, in my opinion, work more according to their instincts, which, as the story shows, is very useful. Little men, on the contrary, use their knowledge and complex brains to reach Cheese, although the different characteristics of their personalities and the different attitude towards the changes bring one of them, Haw, to success and the other, Hem, to failure.

Choosing the favorite character among these four, I would like to mark that all of them except Hem have something to teach the reader. I believe that Sniff and Scurry are a good example of the teamwork. When the cheese they found disappears, they do not fight or argue. Both of them share the same goal and they both understand that each of them has a specific quality, which helps them find the new cheese and that together they can do more, than separately. I think that mice found the new cheese sooner not only because they reacted to the change quickly, but also because they supported each other and worked as a team. Of course, I liked the character of Haw most of all since he found the strength in himself not only to fight his inner fears, laziness and old false beliefs and expectations, but also to go against his only friend and companion and leave him behind. This Haw’s strength is a great source of inspiration for me since getting rid of old habits, relations and bonds, fighting the fear of the perspective to stay alone and moving in a chosen direction regardless of what the authorities or close people say  requires a great willpower. Haw is an illustration of how every person should act if he wants to achieve success, this is why he is my favorite character of this story.

I enjoyed reading Spenser Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese very much. Although this book is not big, it, perhaps, teaches the reader more than the hundreds of big books do. In a very easy form of a fable, the author talks about complicated things. I liked the manner in which Spenser Johnson delivers his ideas and thoughts since it focuses on the most important without distracting the reader to some other issues. I also liked that the author did not use any complicated terms or sophisticated concepts, which makes the book available to understanding not only to the people with higher education or those, who have the great knowledge in some field of science, but to readers of all ages and education levels. Every regular person can read this book and understand its ideas, thus, this book can help everyone go through difficult periods of their lives and find support or a guide to what to do next. Since every person, some more some less frequently, face changes, I think that every man should read this book in order not to make a great mistake of missing the correct moment of letting the changes in one’s life or wasting time on waiting for something, when one should really move forward.

In my opinion, Who Moved My Cheese was assigned to read as a Career Educational Development class because it teaches that one should not be afraid of changes, which is very important to remember while making the career. The book emphasizes that the world around is not stable, and the situation can change any moment without a warning. Sometimes changes come unexpectedly, sometimes a person has an opportunity to see that the changes are coming and do something with this knowledge – either to adapt to the new conditions or to move forward to other aims. The same can happen while working at some enterprise or company – a person can be transferred to other department or location, a worker can be required to learn to do something new or in a different manner, or even be fired. Spenser Johnson teaches that a person should not be afraid of these changes, they should be accepted not as a punishment because they offer an opportunity to get something even better in the future – a career development or a new working place with better conditions.

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It is very complicated to make a successful accountant career therefore, after getting a place at some company it is very important to monitor the condition of the “cheese”. For example, to get a promotion or a salary increase I should keep my knowledge up to date, I should know how to use the latest programs and control the bank accounts of my company. I should be aware of all the expenses of the company, its incomes and losses since the accountant is one of the first people, who can notice that the company, for example, is moving to bankruptcy or “the disappearance of cheese”. Thus, as an accountant, it would be my duty to inform the chief about some problems without a fear to counter the authority. I should convince him to change something in the policy of the company and search for a new “cheese” for the entire enterprise. In addition, if he would not agree with me and would like to leave everything as it is and hope that, somehow, the income will increase by itself, like Hem did, waiting for the cheese to come back, I should not be afraid to start looking for a new job. I would understand that my “cheese” is old and close to its disappearance.

I believe the information I received from Spenser Johnson’s book will be very useful for my future search of job and for building my career. First of all, I understood that every effort eventually will bring a reward. The same as at the beginning of the story the characters were searching for a very long time before they found their first cheese, I see that I will have to work hard and a lot before I will reach some significant results and have an opportunity to climb to higher steps of the career ladder. After reading this book, I also understood that after achieving my goals, I should not simply relax and do nothing because sooner or later something will change. Therefore, I will always be checking whether my “cheese” is not getting old – I will try to always keep my skills up to date, learn something new in my area like new methods of handling some work processes. I will also try not to miss the chance to change the working place or department only because of my fear of moving to some new team or working with some unfamiliar documents, materials or software. I understand now that in order to remain successful I should not hold on to my past or old habits and convictions. When the changes come, I will be ready for them and do everything to get the maximum benefit from those changes.

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I think the best ways of behavior with the gained “cheese” are described in the book. First, since my cheese is a result of my hard and persistent work, I will take some time to enjoy it. But, just like Sniff and Scurry and later Haw, did not put away their sport suits after finding their cheese, the same way I will not simply relax and forget what actions took me to my goal and what was the motivation that pushed me forward. I will do everything to prevent thinking that now I am safe and that my “cheese” will always be with me. Of course, I will try to take the greatest benefit from my “cheese”, but I will also both check it every time to see whether it is not old or outdated and I will never consider that with finding one “cheese” I should stop. I will always try to find the opportunity to get new, better “cheese” without waiting until my old “cheese” disappears. I will do everything to be ready to move to another source of “cheese” the precise moment I will notice that something is wrong with my old one without any fears or doubts.

It was a great pleasure for me to read this book. I have learnt how to act when success is achieved and what to do when great changes occur. I understood that transformations in life are inevitable and that they will come, sooner or later, so they should not be considered as a loss, but as a sign to move forward. I think that this book can be useful not only for people, who want to make a successful career but for everyone, who face some changes in their lives.

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Who Moved My Cheese by Spenser Johnson, MD essay

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