Review of Who Moved My Cheese

Who-moved-my-cheese

Hi guys, just writing a quick post to apologize for the lack of reviews lately. I am currently working a long stretch of 4pm to midnight shifts, which makes it difficult for me to find enough time to scribble something. What little free time I have had lately has been spent catching up with friends, who recently flew in from abroad, and playing Bloodborne on my newly purchased PS4. Souls games tend to make me rage quit, but I am enjoying this one thanks to its horror setting and more generous amount of healing items.

I have a couple of days off this weekend so keep an eye out for an anime centric review then. In the meantime, to tide you over, I am pasting a book review I wrote below. It’s not anime or gaming related, but perhaps you will find it entertaining. The review originally appeared in Ciao. You can read it over there if you prefer the site’s formatting or if you would like to see my hideous face (I can’t imagine why.)


Ah, what bliss! Today is my day off, meaning that I have enough free time to pen a new review. Time off work is something to be cherished, especially now that office morale is at an all time low. What is the root of my discontent? Staff cuts – a phenomena that is all too common in these times of economic strife. You know the drill. Company posts dire financial results. Company excises loyal staff to reduce expenditure. Bigwigs who orchestrated the mess depart for more lucrative posts (taking with them lavish severance packages that add to business’ deficit.)

I should be overjoyed about surviving the redundancy process, but sadly that is not the case. The aftermath to the company restructure has created a rather stressful work environment. Management berates its underlings for not meeting targets. Gasp, who could have ever envisioned that reduced manpower and increased workload is a recipe for disaster? To cope with this period of change it was recommended that I peruse Who Moved My Cheese written by Dr Spencer Johnson. Yes, I’m sure that a patronizing self help book will succeed in satiating my inner turmoil. Those paperbacks claiming to cure shyness did after all transform me into the extrovert I am today (this sentence’s sarcasm levels are through the roof.)

OVERVIEW

Who Moved My Cheese is set in a labyrinth populated by two rodents named Sniffy and Scurry along with a pair of diminutive humanoids (think the Borrowers) named Hem and Haw. The aforementioned quartet spends their days navigating the intertwining corridors seeking cheesy nourishment. Wow this reminds me a lot of Pac-Man (a game were a ball of cheddar patrols a haunted maze.) One day our heroes discover a room housing an inexhaustible amount of Stilton. All is well with the world – they’ll never need to worry about finding a meal ever again. Months later however the cheese stockpile vanishes without a trace.

Sniffy and Scurry, being the simple-minded creatures that they are, do not dwell on the disaster. They accept the situation and set off to explore the depths of the maze for new rations of cheese. Hem and Haw on the other hand are distraught. They turn the room upside down, convinced that the cheese must be hidden somewhere nearby. Their dairy sleuthing detective skills however fail to uncover the missing coagulated milk. Depressed they stay in the room convinced that the unseen force responsible for nabbing their snacks will return the cheese to them some day.

Hunger sets in and eventually Haw accepts his plight. He abandons the stubborn Hem, who refuses to leave the room, and joins the mice in their quest to find new sources of cheese. Getting away from his comfort zone allows Haw to rediscover the thrill of mapping out the maze. In the end he finds new areas filled with cheese, which are even more scrumptious than his previous haul. He realizes that he was a fool for fearing change. Rather than nostalgically reminisce about the past he should have embraced life’s new challenges from the offset. The moral of the story is almost as cheesy as its McGuffin.

VERDICT

Like a lactose intolerant person trying to consume cheese, my cynical mind was unable to digest the contents of this book. Its message relies on all change being positive, which certainly does not hold up to scrutiny. Anyone who has upgraded to a newer version of Windows will attest to that. Why change from your stable OS to a newer version that is full of bugs? Change can be good in some cases, but sometimes the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” certainly applies. There are numerous examples of successful companies going bust after changing their business model without thinking things through.

My rating for this book is two stars. It did nothing for me personally, but awarding it one star would be harsh. The parable’s optimistic outlook has helped some people get through tough times so there is some merit to it. The book isn’t a huge time investment either, so even if you gleam nothing from the experience you’ll still have the rest of your evening free to spend on more productive pursuits (such as masturbating to animated porn.) I could’ve done without the needless epilogue featuring a group of office workers who discuss the story though. They comment how colleagues who refused to adapt to change got sacked and ridicule anyone who resists change for being daft like the inflexible Hem. Change is good because the majority say so. If you have a different mind-set and do not go along with the crowd you are stupid. Sorry, I don’t agree. Making a point by resorting to peer pressure comes across as weak.

Dr Spencer Johnson has sold millions of books so maybe change is good after all. Perhaps I should consider changing jobs. Change from being a dreary office worker to a writer. Evidently there is good money to be made off writing brainwashing pieces for companies looking to quell rambunctious staff.

12 thoughts on “Review of Who Moved My Cheese

  1. I remember reading this years ago, and I think I came to the same conclusion you did. Not all change is good. I have seen changes made at my day job that were not for the better. I usually put my “Who Moved My Cheese” moments down to my age (I’m in the American Baby-Boom generation). From my perspective, technology changes so rapidly I often feel like I cannot keep up.

  2. This book has been sitting on my shelf since I was a kid and I was never interested enough to pick it up. But I think I don’t need to actually read it to disagree with it, and looks like now I most likely will never be interested in it.

  3. I had to watch some terribly animated version of this in a business communications class. All I remember is leaving that class and skipping my next one since I was craving cheese.

  4. I remember reading this book in Grad school. I wasn’t a fan. I felt as though I had wasted my money. This is not to say it is bad, I just didn’t care for it.

  5. Your opening remarks really struck a chord because the lace where I work is going through a massive redundancy / restructuring at the moment. I’m 99% certain I’m staying, but have no idea what my job will be in a few month’s time. The rodent analogy seems quite an interesting way to get the message across but from what you’ve said it doesn’t sound like a book that would help me too much personally even though I’m probably exactly the target audience at the moment. Interesting to hear about it, though.

  6. I have read this book, had it presented in a corporation setting, had to watch the animated clip, and so on. The message itself I think is fairly simple. It did not do anything for me personally either. I was surprised that it sold as well as it had.

  7. Sorry to hear about your (and your colleagues) situation – it really annoys me how company managers don’t realize their employees are people not robots. Good review too.

  8. I’d heard of this book, and even had it recommended to me by someone who thought my outlook was too pessimistic. I never got around to reading it, but now I’m happy I didn’t. This sounds like just the kind of hivemind philosophy that discourages ways of thinking that deviate from the normal. Maybe this is unfair, but it really sounds like Dr. Johnson wrote this book for the exact purpose of selling it to thousands of companies for their management to distribute to workers to put them in a “positive mindset.” Or maybe he really is genuine – I haven’t read the book, after all. Am I just too cynical?

    • Some people have said the story’s message had a positive affect on them, but it did nothing for me personally. If you search Youtube you can find animated retellings of the book if you are interested.

      • I had the chance to watch a video based on the book, and I agree that it’s way too simplistic. The most disturbing thing about the book’s message is the suggestion that we don’t think critically about change but, like the mice, just accept it. Because mindlessly pursuing the cheese is truly what makes humanity great.

        Though I can’t rate the book having not read it, I’ll give the video one star. Even if it did help some people through hard times, I think that’s totally incidental to Dr. Johnson. The fact that he added a part in the book where office workers talk about the parable suggests his true motive was simply to sell loads of copies to companies. In fact, adding a chapter to your book talking about how great and helpful your book was is a kind of masturbation in itself, isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s