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October 16, 2014 / subramanyam

I Moved Your Cheese

How many of us have read the book, “Who Moved My cheese ?”  ?  Almost everyone,  isn’t it ?  It is hard to find a corporate employee who has not read this book, isn’t it ? Published in 1998, Dr. Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life  has sold more than 26 million copies continues to be one of the best-selling business books ever.  This 96 page book that involves the mice “Sniff & Scurry” and the little people “Hem & Haw” speaks about change being the constant thing in our lives.  Sniff,Scurry, Hem and Haw live in a maze and want to have cheese to sustain themselves.  How do they hunt for cheese? What happens after they find the first cheese station? What attitudes do they develop there? How would they realize that change is constant ? All these concepts are very well told in that book.  Needless to say, Sniff,Scurry,Hem and Haw represent us, the humans, the maze represents our work environment and cheese is what we get to sustain ourselves.  Our fears, resenting attitudes, arrogant behaviors and the apprehensions regarding change are all portrayed very well in the plot. The book asks us to be prepared for the change.  It drives home the point  “If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct“.  It undoubtedly is one of the greatest business books of our times and the learnings  we get out of it are of great value.


Now, consider this.  We all know that Sniff , Scurry, Hem and Haw are adapting to  change and are looking for new  cheese in the maze.  They indeed are adapting quite well.  However, what if the maze  is controlled by others. What if the cheese is being MovedCheese_finmoved by some one who controls the maze ? What if the person is constantly moving the cheese just to play with the  inhabitants of the maze? or,  he/she is moving the cheese  just to fulfill their his/her interests or at the worst to derive some sadistic pleasure ?


What should  the inhabitants of the maze do in such  circumstances?  Are the inhabitants doomed to live a life where running after cheese in some else’s maze the only aim of life? Wouldn’t it be great if we can break from the maze and explore the world outside?  Then, can we survive outside that maze.  Well,we never thought of all these dimensions to this problem, did we ?


Most of us would have taken the maze for granted,  however, Deepak Malhotra took another path .  With all his interesting questions he  challenges the very assumptions  of the maze and cheese in his book “I moved your cheese”.  He asks us to think beyond the maze, he asks us to stop living as cheese-scouting-mice in someone else’s maze.  Similar to Spencer Johnson, Deepak too uses mice to drive home his point.He uses 3 mice to tell his story.  Who are those 3 mice ? What  are they searching for?  How will they interact?  How will they stumble on the great truths ?  You will get answers to all these questions once you read the book.


I liked the way Deepak takes us towards the point he wants to make.  The questions, the quest for the answers and the way the answers evolve are all awesome.  In my opinion, the best part of the book is that this  book is not against “Who moved my cheese? “, this book brings out a dimension that the former did not address.  Thus,  this in a way enhances the knowledge of the reader. This is what makes it a must read.


Taking on an established line of thought and proposing something new is always a risky proposition.  Deepak Malhotra did that in a beautiful manner.  He asks us to think beyond the obvious and makes us do it in a simple and succinct way . Do read the book, it definitely adds a new dimension to your thought process.

Happy Reading


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