On Monday my family and I arrived at the airport nice and early to be sure that I would not miss my plane, only to find that the flight had been delayed by an hour. So what was there to do in that hour? Visit the newsagent and read books of course!

Unlike most times where I just randomly pick up books that look interesting and read snippets, a particular book caught my attention: Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson. Being one of the books on my 'To Read' list, I was happy to see that it was only about 100 pages with nice big font. The blurb claimed that it would only take half an hour to read, so with one hour to kill, I decided to stand there and finish the book.

If you haven't heard of this book, it is one of the best selling motivation books. In my opinion, a quick and simple summary is:

Adapt To Change Quickly: The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

As you've probably guessed, the book is about change - noticing, accepting and adapting change. Who Moved My Cheese? is essentially a story about four characters, two mice: Sniff and Scurry; two little people: Hem and Haw that all live in the same maze and look for cheese in order to survive. The characters, the maze and the cheese are representations of the real world:

  • Sniff: the part of us that notices change early
  • Scurry: the part of us that put things into action
  • Hem: the part of us that resistant change
  • Haw: the part of us that are willing to change
  • Maze: our environment
  • Cheese: something we need and value, our achievement, our goals etc.

The story is about these four characters who live in the maze and everyday they go out and find cheese in order to survive. One day they find "Cheese Station C" which contains mountains and mountains of cheese. Overtime Hem and Haw become complacent and arrogant and see the cheese as their own, while Sniff and Scurry are alert and check the state of the cheese everyday.

As expected, one day the cheese at Cheese Station C runs out - anticipating this, Sniff and Scurry simply venture back into the maze to find more cheese. On the other hand, Hem and Haw are taken completely by surprise and are furious as they believe someone had moved their cheese. The story then goes on describing how Hem and Haw desperately try to resist the change, believing that the cheese will miraculously reappear and they can get back to their normal routine.

One day Haw realises that he should accept the change, so he leaves Cheese Station C and enters the maze in search for more cheese. During his journey, he learns many things and writes them down on the wall to remind himself of the lessons he has learnt. These reminders written by Haw outline the core messages the story is conveying.

As you can see, the storyline is relatively straight forward, but I feel it is what you learn from the story that really counts. At the moment I must admit I am more like Hem then any of the other characters. There is definitely some room for improvement to be more like Sniff, Scurry and Haw - be alert for change; put words/thoughts into action and be prepared to move with change. I guess this is easier said than done, however as Haw reminds us, "The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese".

I highly recommend this book as there is no way we can escape or prevent change in our lives, the world is constantly changing, Shift Happens. It is definitely worth the time it takes to read it - took me approximately 45 minutes (I'm a slow reader). Though I must warn you, there are some puns that will make you cringe!