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20 min / Published
By Renew

Who Moved My Cheese



In a maze lived four characters. Two were mice, named Sniff and Scurry, and two were little people, named Hem and Haw. Their intertwined stories unfold in two parts. The first part is a parable entitled Who Moved My Cheese, and the second is called Out of the Maze. The former tells the story of how each character reacts when their stocks of cheese vanish one day. It tells of how the loss affects them and the strategies they use to cope. The second part focuses on Hem, who is particularly unwilling to accept the fact that the cheese is gone for good. For a long time, he stays where he is in the maze, frozen, unable to move. But, eventually, even Hem starts to take action and goes off in search of fresh cheese with the help of a new character named Hope. With Hope’s influence, he changes little by little. Finally, transformed, Hem walks out of the dark maze once and for all. These simple but insightful stories will teach you how to cope with changes and, if you are stuck in a situation, get unstuck.


Overview | Chapter 1

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book Who Moved My Cheese and Out of the Maze.


Life is a labyrinth of choices, turnings in every direction. In this maze, everyone is looking for their own “cheese”. It could be a stable job, a healthy body, strong relationships, or love. In this search, it is inevitable to encounter turnings that will take you by surprise. One day, you may find your perfectly ripened cheese has gone bad or it has already been eaten: then, what will you do? These two books may help you with encouraging inspiration.


The first book, Who Moved My Cheese, rapidly gained wide acclaim as soon as it was first published in 1988. The second, Out of the Maze, was not only an anticipated sequel but also a legacy left by Spencer Johnson, as it was the last book he wrote before he passed away. The first book introduces the maze. In this environment live four characters, two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two little people named Hem and Haw. The story describes how one day, their cheese vanishes, how each character responds and how they learn to cope with change in their lives. The sequel continues the story of Hem. Hem has stayed in the maze, and with the help of a new friend, Hope, he starts to take action. Little by little, he changes and transforms himself, eventually stepping outside the maze once and for all.


Cheese is Johnson’s metaphor for all the beautiful things we pursue in our lives. The four characters represent four typical reactions to a significant change in life. In this situation, some will be put on the alert, staying vigilant, and prepared for further dangers. When their cheese simply vanishes, with no explanation, they won’t question who may be responsible but adapt to the new circumstances. Others indulge themselves. They don’t acknowledge that there has been a change; they ignore it. Ultimately, such people may harden their resolve and eventually take actions. In order to do so, they must leave their comfort zone, overcoming their initial fear. Another type of person is like an ostrich, burying its head in the sand. They don’t accept the change and live in the false hope that everything will reset to normal. They won’t consider changing themselves until they are sure there’s no other course. Perhaps, the vast majority of people are inclined to be like ostriches.


The stories of these four characters are told in the manner of parables. Johnson is a vivid and witty narrator. His simple tales unfold, offering readers insight and wisdom, giving them encouragement and provoking them to question their choices. The two books are cultural phenomena, adopted as a coaching handbook and training manual by many top-notch organisations, used to help all sorts of people to improve their careers, marriages and life prospects.

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About Bookey
A podcast by Renew
A good read, read good books
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