Reviewer: Boris B.
Publication Date: September 1, 1998
Although more analytical and skeptical readers may find the tale a little too simplistic, its beauty is that it sums up all natural history in just 94 pages: Things change. They always have changed and always will change. And while there’s no single way to deal with change, the consequence of pretending change won’t happen is always the same: The cheese runs out. The point of the story is that we have to be alert to changes in the cheese, and be prepared to go running off in search of new sources of cheese when the cheese we have runs out.
The story starts when a group of good friends meet up after their high school reunion. They begin talking about the past and how it has affected them. One of the friends points out that the entire group of friends are having difficultly adapting to changes in their lives, both in their careers and personal lives. One friend named Michael starts telling everyone how a big change occurred in his business. It was really hard to adapt and the business was failing. Everything changed until he heard a little story about two mice, Sniff and Scurry, and two little people, Hem and Haw, who live inside a maze.
The mice and the people are both looking for special cheese, which they need to survive. The mice, Sniff and Scurry, possess only simple rodent brains but have good instincts. The two little people, Hem and Haw, use their brains filled with beliefs and emotions. As different as the little people and mice are, they share something in common. After finding a large amount of their special cheese, both became very comfortable. They believe that the cheese will never run out. One morning their special cheese was gone. The story then focuses on the process of learning and discovery that the mice and the little people go through on their quest to find a new source of cheese. The story is a metaphor on adapting to change.
The book provides simple lessons, such as: Change Happens (the cheese keeps moving), Anticipate Change (get ready for the cheese to move), Monitor Change (smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old), Adapt to Change Quickly (the quicker you let go of old cheese the sooner you can enjoy new cheese), and finally Enjoy Change (savour the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese).
I recommend this book as it helps sharpen things in life that we know but rarely do something about them. Be aware of what is happening around you and do not get too comfortable! Always teach yourself new skills that can help you to survive in the fast changing world of ours.