Today’s worldwide economic uncertainties bring to mind some very sage insights from a book written a few years back. The book, Who Moved My Cheese?, by Spencer Johnson, M.D., is an insightful account of how we become too comfortable with the status quo once we have become successful in our lives – once we have “found our cheese.” The key learning is that in life, as in the story, we often become trapped into doing the same things we have always done to be successful, even after these practices have stopped working as effectively as they once did.
One of the more poignant examples in the book is that of a large encyclopedia company that became very successful with their enormous door-to-door sales force peddling very profitable multiple-book encyclopedia sets. Although it was suggested the company should digitize the material onto one computer disk and begin selling them at a fraction of the cost, they resisted until it was too late. Someone had “moved their cheese” beyond the reach of their large sales force and the appeal of their expensive, well-made books.
Who Moved My Cheese? contains many great insights for effectively dealing with change. In the words of the main character from the story, “The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.” Two particularly relevant lessons from the book include, “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and “old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.”
We live in a world where our “cheese” is moving much faster than it was when Dr. Johnson wrote the book. Social media and the internet are now changing our reality more quickly than Dr. Johnson could have imagined, ironically making the lessons more appropriate than ever.
There is something to be said for keeping up on the latest business publications; but every once in a while, the most valuable insights can be found in a more aged text. Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? is as entertaining and relevant today as when first released over a decade ago. Whether reading for the first time or rereading, this book is worth your time. Sometimes what’s old is new again.