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BOOK PRIMER

“Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

 

Full title: Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson

Number of pages: 94

Year published: 1998

Who it’s for: It’s often recommended as a motivational tool for managers to give employees and for people struggling with changes in their lives.

The big idea: Change, whether it is something we have initiated or something that is done to us, is often stressful. According to this book—which explains its lessons using the metaphor of a mouse caught in a maze—if you simply face your fear and move out of your comfort zone, you will find freedom and a renewed zest for life.

5 things worth learning

  1. Change is part of life. We want to hold onto our achievements and remain in a safe place, so we often ignore signs that change is coming. But change is always happening, whether we want it to or not.
  2. Even good change can be frightening. Or upsetting, stressful, irritating, as well as challenging, exhilarating and exciting—sometimes all at once.
  3. Because change is often scary or uncomfortable, we use all sorts of techniques to avoid it. But dealing with change can bring new opportunities and enrichment into your life.
  4. Simply acknowledging that change occurs makes it more likely that you’ll notice the small changes as they happen. Then you won’t be taken by surprise, and you can also adapt to small changes as they occur. Adapting to small changes makes it much easier to adapt to larger ones.
  5. Doing something to change an untenable situation is better than doing nothing. Taking control, even if it feels scary, can be better than sitting back and letting things happen to you.

Quote it: “Some people never change and they pay a price for it.”

Read, skim, or skip? Skim. This book offers some good points about why we avoid change, but it provides an oversimplified explanation of what makes change scary, and an even more oversimplified set of solutions to the problem.

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