Who Moved My Cheese - Summary

Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese Book Cover


In the world of self-help literature, “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson has become a timeless classic. Published in 1998, this short but impactful book has sold millions of copies worldwide and continues to resonate with readers of all ages. Johnson uses a simple yet powerful allegory to explore the concept of change and its impact on individuals and organizations. Through relatable characters and thought-provoking anecdotes, the book offers valuable insights and practical strategies for adapting to change and finding success in an ever-evolving world.

The Story of “Who Moved My Cheese”

The book begins by introducing us to four characters: two mice named Sniff and Scurry, and two little people named Hem and Haw. They all live in a maze and have one common goal – to find cheese, which represents happiness and success in their lives. The maze symbolizes the complex and unpredictable nature of the world we live in, while the cheese represents the things we desire and strive for.

Change Happens: The Cheese is Moved

At the beginning of the story, the characters discover a vast cheese supply in a specific location within the maze. They become comfortable and complacent, relying on the cheese to fulfill their needs. However, one day, they wake up to find that the cheese has been moved. While Sniff and Scurry quickly adapt to the change and venture out to find new cheese, Hem and Haw resist and cling to their old ways.

Adapting to Change: Sniff and Scurry’s Approach

Sniff and Scurry embody the characteristics of individuals who embrace change and are willing to take risks. They accept the reality that the cheese has been moved and immediately set out to explore new areas of the maze. They don’t waste time dwelling on the past or hoping for the cheese to return. Instead, they remain open-minded and adaptable, ready to seize new opportunities.

Resisting Change: Hem and Haw’s Struggle

On the other hand, Hem and Haw represent those who resist change and fear the unknown. They are initially in denial, refusing to accept that the cheese is gone. They blame others for their predicament and desperately wait for the cheese to reappear. As time passes, their situation worsens, and they become bitter and frustrated. It is only when Haw decides to confront his fears and venture into the unknown that he begins to discover new possibilities.

Embracing Change: Haw’s Journey

Haw’s journey through the maze becomes a metaphor for personal growth and adaptation. He realizes that change is inevitable and that he must let go of his old beliefs and behaviors to find new cheese. Along the way, he learns valuable lessons about the importance of being proactive, embracing change, and letting go of fear. Haw leaves inspiring messages on the walls of the maze, encouraging Hem and others to embrace change and seek new opportunities.

Lessons for Personal Growth and Success

“Who Moved My Cheese” offers several valuable lessons that can be applied to both personal and professional life:

  1. Change is inevitable: The book emphasizes that change is a natural part of life and resisting it only leads to frustration and stagnation. Accepting change and adapting to it is crucial for personal growth and success.

  2. Embrace the unknown: Stepping out of our comfort zones and exploring new possibilities is essential for finding new sources of happiness and success. Embracing the unknown can lead to unexpected opportunities and personal transformation.

  3. Let go of fear: Fear often holds us back from embracing change. By letting go of fear and taking calculated risks, we can overcome obstacles and achieve our goals.

  4. Be proactive: Waiting for change to happen is futile. Taking proactive steps and being open to new experiences is key to finding new cheese and achieving success.

Applying the Lessons in Real Life

The allegory presented in “Who Moved My Cheese” can be applied to various aspects of life, including career changes, relationships, and personal development. For example, in the professional world, individuals who are resistant to change may find themselves left behind as industries evolve and new technologies emerge. Those who embrace change, on the other hand, can seize new opportunities and thrive in a dynamic environment.


“Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson is a captivating and insightful book that explores the concept of change and its impact on individuals and organizations. Through relatable characters and relatable anecdotes, the book provides valuable lessons on adapting to change, letting go of fear, and embracing new opportunities. By applying these lessons in our own lives, we can navigate the maze of life with confidence and find our own “cheese” – happiness and success.

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