adrift on a cosmic ocean

Writings on various topics (mostly technical) from Oliver Hookins and Angela Collins. We have lived in Berlin since 2009, have two kids, and have far too little time to really justify having a blog.

Micro book review: Who Moved My Cheese?

Posted by Oliver on the 15th of March, 2020 in category Thoughts
Tagged with: Books

who moved my cheese Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr Spencer Johnson is another book mentioned to me last year (I think by my manager). It sounds like a book I already knew about, but maybe that is because of the conventional and obvious sounding title. And the content is obvious, in many ways - it's an allegory for change management.

As the tale goes, four mice with strange names are feasting on cheese and then the cheese disappears. The two change-resistent mice believe it was simply moved and will return. The other two recognise that it has run out and need to find new cheese. One of the two laggards comes around a bit faster while the other is stuck in his ways and almost perishes. The metaphor is pretty obvious, although it's a nice story and captures some of the main lessons of dealing with change in a nice way.

Perhaps due to its age (although it's not nearly as dated), it reminded me of Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends And Influence People. Adapting to change is not all about taking on the challenger mindset and keeping your chin up. If someone has lost their job in an extremely difficult market, with little hope of getting another one, I don't find it productive to say "don't drop into the victim mentality" - it lacks any kind of empathy for the realities of the situation. That being said, I think the book does offer useful tools, and combined with some nice frameworks for helping others deal with change (such as the SCARF model) it can be a handy (and brief) reference.

Worth a read as it can be knocked over in an afternoon. 3/5.

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