If I had to choose just one self-help book to take to a desert island, it would have to be this one. I still have the Waterstones 2012 receipt tucked inside acting as a bookmark. I read this book at least once a year as a reminder that change is good and embracing it really does benefit me (and you!)
The book I am referring to is “Who Moved my Cheese” by Dr Spencer Johnson
I first encountered this book when I was spending almost as much time at the personal development stand in Waterstones as I was in my part-time job in a sustainability charity. For those of you who don’t know much about the charity world, it is riddled with uncontrollable change. Funding comes and goes, roles in organisations ebb and flow with said funding and there is always a u-turn waiting to be encountered. It isn’t the most stable of work environments, but the rewards for working with the community and seeing a difference on the ground far outweighs any uncertainty or worry about job permanence.
At one of the times with funding on the line, a chat with our wonderful Director led us to talk about books. “Who Moved my Cheese? came up and he lent me a copy to read. It is a short book that takes me less than three-quarters of an hour to read. Everything in it rung true. I knew people with each view on change and which was me (thankfully, I enjoy change, but I could see my self steering to the other side when things were getting harder!)
🧀 Who Moved My Cheese – Digest (if you pardon the pun!)
👩👦 This book is written for all ages and can be read in under an hour, because of the font size, short chapters, and easy to follow story
💼 It is suitable for implementing in business and life in general
🐭 Written as a metaphor through the use of mice (Sniff & Scurry) and little people (Hem & Haw) looking for food in a maze
The book shares the journey of four characters on a journey through change on the hunt to find cheese. It is a metaphor for the different parts of all of us. Sniff, who sniffs out change early, Scurry, who scurries into action, Hem, who denies and resists change as he fears it will lead to something worse, or Haw, who learns over time to adapt to change when he sees it can lead to something better.
The characters represent the simple parts of us when we are faced with a change in our life and work. Seeing them in this form helps us to identify this in ourselves. It also encourages us to choose which way we approach change in a given circumstance.
👍 How it helps me
😨 I read this book when I am faced with a change in my life which I am feeling resistant to. It helps remind me that I am simply experiencing the different parts of myself in a change situation and help me see past the fear
🗺️ It is like a map for my mind when I am in a flurry around changing situations, which helps me to get back on track
🧘 Taking the time out to read the book is often part of the solution to choosing a path through change
📖 Who should read this book?
🔁 I would say that everyone should read this book, but particularly anyone going through some change in their life at the moment
🤗 If you’re getting bogged down in fearful thinking over change
🔎 Want to explore ways to tackle the everyday changes in life, work and the world
💬 Favourite quotes
“If you do not change, you can become extinct”
“Haw realised that he had been kept captive by his own fear. Moving in a new direction had freed him” …”Once he had gotten past his fear, it turned out to be more enjoyable than he once believed it could be”
“The fear you let build up in your mind is worse than the situation that actually exists”
“Noticing small changes early helps you to adapt to bigger changes that are to come”