Who Moved My Cheese? Summary In English

Who Moved My Cheese?

About Book

Why you should read this Book

Nothing is permanent in the world and so you must change as well. If you are a breadwinner or a regular employee, you should read this book. The change will always happen. People are depending on you, so you must always be prepared. Who Moved My Cheese is a unique story in which you’ll learn valuable life lessons.

Who should read this

regular employees; Professionals; Bread Winners; people of all occupations

About the author

Spencer Johnson is a medical doctor and best-selling author. He wrote 10 popular books including Who Moved My Cheese and One Minute, Manager. He sold over 50 million copies worldwide. His works had been printed in 47 languages.

Who Moved My Cheese? 

Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese?
Who Moved My Cheese? summary
Who Moved My Cheese? summary in English


Do you want to know the effective way to cope with change? How do you deal with a sudden loss of a job? How do you deal with the unexpected problem in the business? Nothing is permanent in life. The change will always come your way. The difference is how you cope with it. 

Who Moved my Cheese is a story of 4 characters. One of them will teach you the best way to deal with change. The characters live in a maze with many rooms and corridors. The cheese represents what people want most in life. It can be a stable job, a successful business, a loving family, good health, or peace of mind. 

What if one day that cheese is taken away from you? What would you do? You will see yourself in the 4 characters. Sometimes, you find it hard to accept the change. Sometimes you get depressed or anxious about the future. As you follow the adventure of the 4 characters, you will learn valuable lessons which you can apply in your life. 

Who Moved My Cheese?

A long time ago in a distant land, 4 characters live in a maze. Two of them were mice. Their names are Sniff and Scurry. Two of them are people as little as mice. They are called Hem and Haw. 

Sniff and Scurry have good instincts and simple brains. They just search, sniff and scurry for cheese just like all mice do. Hem and Haw meanwhile have more complex brains. They have emotions and beliefs. Cheese is very precious to them. It makes them feel successful and happy.

Every morning, the mice and little people put on their running shoes. They leave their small holes and go around the maze to search for cheese. 

The maze is full of twists and turns. It is a labyrinth of many doors and chambers. Some of them have cheese inside. But some of them are dark and empty. Anyone can lose their way. But the maze has secrets that give happiness and fulfillment in life, to those who can find it.

Sniff and Scurry just use trial and error in their search. They enter a corridor. If it’s empty they just turn around and keep looking. They take note of the empty corridors and move on to new paths. 

Hem and Haw have complex brains though.  complex ways of viewing things. Sometimes, their beliefs and emotions take over them. It makes their search more challenging and complicated.

But all four of them eventually found their way to Cheese Station C. It is where there is pile after pile of cheese. Sniff, Scurry, Hem, and Haw fell into their routines after finding that abundant supply of cheese.

Sniff and Scurry wake up early in the morning like they always do. They put on their running shoes and race their way to Station C. When they get there, they take off their shoes, tie them together and hang them around the neck. That is so they can put the shoes on again quickly for future use.

After that, Sniff and Scurry eat their cheese.

Hem and Haw are different. They wake up a little late every day. They prepare a little slower and walk to Station C. After all, they know that the cheese is there. 

When they get to Station C, Hem and Haw would take a rest and relax. They take off there and put on their slippers. Hem and Haw are comfortable now that they have found where the cheese is.

“This is great. There’s enough Cheese to last us forever.” Hem said. The little people enjoy themselves. They are happy and successful. They feel very secure with their Cheese. 

Hem and Haw built their life around Station C. They found new holes to settle in so they are near the cheese. They feel like Station C is really for them. Hem and Haw write something on the wall to make them smile every day. It says, “Having Cheese Makes You Happy.”

“We deserve this Cheese. We certainly worked hard enough to find it.” Hem would say. He picks up a big chunk of cheese and ate it merrily. Once he is full, Hem would always fall to sleep.

At the end of the day, the little people would walk home with bellies full of Cheese. They wake up with confidence every day, knowing that they will be eating a lot of cheese again. As days pass by, Hem and Haw became more and more arrogant.

Sniff and Scurry, meanwhile, kept waking up early in the morning. They sniffed and scurried around Station C. They would always check for any changes in the area. After that, Sniff and Scurry will sit and nibble their cheese. 

One early morning, the mice arrived at Station C and found that there was no cheese. They were not surprised. Sniff and Scurry noticed that the pile of cheese is getting lesser and lesser every day. They have prepared for this situation.

Sniff and Scurry got their running shoes and put them back on again. They did not overanalyze what happened. For the mice, the problem is simple and so is the answer. Station C has changed. And so they must change as well.

The mice went out to the maze. Sniff continued sniffing and Scurry continued scurrying. They quickly began their search for New Cheese.

After a few hours, Hem and Haw arrived at Station C. They didn’t notice the small changes like Sniff and Scurry did. They haven’t been paying attention. That’s why they were very shocked to find that the cheese is gone.

“What! No Cheese?”  Hem screamed. “No Cheese? No Cheese? Who Moved My Cheese?” Hem kept on screaming as if that would get the cheese back. His face turned red and sour. He clenched his fist and shouted at the top of his voice. “This is not fair!”

Haw just stood there and stared. He could not believe what is happening. He never expected this. He was caught unprepared. The hem was screaming loud but Haw did not hear any of it. Haw had shut himself out in disbelief.

The reactions of the little people are quite understandable. It is hard to find cheese. It isn’t just about having food every day. 

For Haw, cheese means security. It means having his cottage on Cheddar Lane someday. It means having a simple life with a loving family. 

For Hem, cheese means superiority. He wants to manage a Big Cheese and own a big house on Camembert Hill. 

Cheese is very important to little people. They spent a long time thinking about what to do. Hem and Haw did nothing but walk around Station C. They are still hoping that they would find cheese.

Sniff and Scurry went on their way. But Hem and Haw kept on ranting and raging. The words “why”, “it isn’t fair”, and “this can’t be happening” kept spiraling in their heads.

How soon got depressed. Many worries troubled him. What if there is no cheese tomorrow? What would happen to him then? 

At the end of the day, Hem and Haw walked back home feeling hungry and defeated. They wrote on the wall “The More Important Your Cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it.”

The next morning, the little people walked again to Station C. Both of them are still hoping that somehow the cheese is there. But they only got disappointed. Station C is still empty.

Haw wondered where Sniff and Scurry are. Maybe they know something about this. “What would they know?” Hem said. “We’re smarter than mice.”

“I know we’re smarter. But we don’t seem to act smarter at the moment.” Haw replied. “Things are changing, Hem. Maybe we should change as well.”

“Why should we change?” Hem believes that little people are special. They are entitled to their cheese.  “We didn’t cause this problem. Somebody else did this. We should get something out of it” he said.

Haw thought that they should not be overanalyzing the situation. Maybe they should get up and find some new cheese. But Hem got mad. “No! I’ll get to the bottom of this” he said.

While Hem and Haw are still pacing around Station C, Sniff and Scurry have already gone far into the maze. They got into an area which they have never been before. It is called Station N.

The mice squ

sealed in delight. Station N is flowing with cheese. Sniff and Scurry haven’t seen that much cheese in their whole life. 

Back at Station C, Hem and Haw are feeling angry and frustrated. How often thought about the mice? He realized that maybe they should get going as well. 

Haw started to imagine himself having a new adventure in the maze. He saw himself finding new cheese and eating lots of it. The more he imagined, the more Haw was motivated.

“Let’s go!” He exclaimed. 

“No”, Hem said. I like it here.”

The hem is already used in Station C. He is fearful of what’s out there. But Haw encouraged him. They’ve been searching around the maze before. Surely, they can do it again.

But Hem cannot be persuaded. He says he is too old. He doesn’t want to get lost. He doesn’t want to embarrass himself. Hem continued his days like this, full of worries, frustrations, and excuses. 

But Haw is beginning to realize something. They would only get worse if they stay in this situation. “Look at us,” Haw said. “We keep doing the same things over and over again and wonder why things don’t get better” 

“Why don’t you just wait here until the cheese gets back?” Hem said. Haw used to be scared too, of going out again in the maze, of going to the unknown but. Haw realized that the cheese in Station C won’t ever go back. 

It’s time to find new cheese.

Hem argued that Haw might not find cheese out there, that Haw could get lost and never find his way. 

Haw feels uncertainty as well but the thought of the adventure excites him. It makes him feel good to get up and search the maze again. Maybe he will get lost but somehow he knew that he can find his way again. 

Haw imagined himself finding new cheese, delicious cheese which he haven’t tasted before. Maybe he will find mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan cheese. He felt uplifted just thinking about them.

“Sometimes things change and they are never the same again. This looks like one of those times. That’s life! Life moves on. And so should we” he told Hem. 

Haw encouraged his friend some more to come with him. But Hem would not listen.

And so, Haw faced the path ahead. He felt more alive. He got into a silly situation, now he has the strength to get up and laugh at himself. With a smile on his face, Haw announced “It’s maze time!”

Before he left, Haw picked up a stone. He wrote on the wall the words “If you do not change, you will become extinct.” 

Haw remembered the days of feeling depressed. How did he get himself in that situation? Instead of asking who move my cheese, Haw asked himself, “Why didn’t I get up and move with the cheese sooner?”

Haw took a deep breath and walked ahead slowly. 

He noticed that his knees are getting weaker. Haw has been stuck in Station C for so long. He finds it difficult to get out of the maze again. That’s why he said to himself that the next time he loses cheese; he would get out of his comfort zone. He would face change at once. 

Haw smiled at himself and said, “Well, better late than never.”

In the next days, Haw found some crumbs of cheese here and there. Sometimes, he gets confused in the maze. It seems a lot of things have changed. But he continued his little steps. It is a challenge to get out and search for cheese again. But Haw admitted that this isn’t as bad as he thought it would be.

Whenever the going gets tough, Haw reminded himself that this is better than being in that Cheeseless situation. This is better than waiting for the cheese to come back. Right at this moment, Haw is taking control. He doesn’t simply let things happen to him. 

If Sniff and Scurry can do it, then so could he! 

As he was walking down the path, Haw realized that the cheese at Station C probably did not disappear overnight. He should have noticed the little changes happening. The pile of cheese has been getting smaller. It’s beginning to taste old. There might be even molds growing on it.

Haw might have seen this change coming but he ignored it. If he just paid attention to the little changes, if he just anticipated that this could happen, then he would not have been shocked and depressed.

He decided that from now on, he will be alert. From now on, Haw would expect change. He would use his basic instincts and adapt to change more quickly. 

Haw stopped to rest and wrote something on the wall. It read “Smell the Cheese often so you know when it’s getting old.”

He kept on walking and found a big Cheese Station. It is as big as Station C. It looks very promising. Maybe there’s plenty of cheese inside. But when he entered it, he found that it was empty. 

Haw was disappointed. Maybe he should just go back to Station C. At least Hem is there, Haw would not feel so alone. 

He feels weak. He feels like giving up. He is burdened with fear. What Lies ahead? Maybe he would fall off or lose his way, or never find cheese again. Haw imagined bad things happening to him. But then he asked himself, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

He realized that his fears are just making it worse. He should just continue on his journey. Haw wrote on the wall. “Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.”

He laughed at himself. Haw left his fears behind. He realized that he should just let go. He should trust what lies ahead and go on. 

Haw found that he enjoys the journey more and more. “Why do I feel so good? I don’t have cheese and I don’t know where I am going.”

Then he realized why. Haw wrote it on the wall. “When you stop being afraid, you feel good!”

He had been imprisoned by his fear. Now that he is moving in a new direction, he feels free. Haw felt hope. He felt refreshed. Haw had forgotten this feeling, the feeling of joy and excitement, of believing in himself. 

He thought of his fantasy again, of finding that great pile of cheese. He imagined himself surrounded by his favorite kinds of cheese. He imagined enjoying all their flavors. The more he pictured it in his head, the more it felt real. Now, Haw believes that he could get there. He could find new cheese.

He wrote on the wall, “Imagining yourself enjoying new cheese leads you to it.”

Haw used to be pessimistic. Now, he is feeling more and more optimistic. 

Wondered why he always thought that change will lead to something worse. Now, he knows that change can lead to something better.

“Why didn’t I see this before?” he said.

With that, he raced his way through the maze. He felt stronger. He felt motivated. Haw ran forward until he saw another cheese station. There are bits of cheese leading to its door. 

How haven’t seen this type of cheese before? They taste so good. He picked the bits. He ate some and kept some for later. And then, Haw opened the door.

He was very excited. But to his dismay, Haw found that this cheese station is also empty. Maybe someone else has already taken the cheese. If Haw had just moved sooner, maybe he will find more cheese here.

Haw picked up the bits and pieces of cheese. He decided to go back to Hem. Maybe, his friend is now ready to go. Haw tracked his steps back to Station C. He stopped to write on the wall.

“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”

Haw got to Station C and saw Hem. He brought bits of cheese out of his pocket and offered them. Hem appreciated Haw’s gesture but he declined. Hem said, “I don’t think I would like New Cheese. It’s not what I’m used to. I want my Cheese back and I’m not going to change until I get what I want.”

It was sad. Haw just shook his head and left. He turned his back and walked ahead. 

Haw reached the empty cheese station again. Haw missed his friend. But he liked the adventure he has made. He liked the feeling of happiness he got when he let go of his fear. Haw felt very different from when he was in cheeseless Station C. 

Now, Haw is sure that someday he will find that new cheese. He wrote on the wall. “It is safer to search in the maze than to remain in a cheeseless situation.” Haw learned that change is bound to happen, whether you saw it coming or not. 

He remembered the days of feeling scared and hopeless. He remembered thinking of the worse and not hoping for the better. But Haw learned to adapt. He wrote on the wall. 

“Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.”  

The moment he had new beliefs, he had new behavior. You can remain fearful and resist change. Or you can gather hope and face the change. You are in control. What happens to you depends on what you choose to believe. Haw wrote a couple more notes on the wall.

“When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you can change course.”

“Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.”

Right at that moment, Haw left the past behind. He focused on his present. Haw took big steps. He felt stronger than ever. It seemed like his search would last forever. That this journey would not end. But soon enough, it did.

Haw turned into a corridor that he had never seen before. He walked towards it and saw the new cheese station. Alas, it is Cheese Station N.

He entered the door and he was surprised. Station N is overflowing with cheese! It was better than he imagined. Everywhere Haw looked there is cheese. He can see all the kinds of cheese. They look so bright and yummy. And look! There are also his mice friends, Sniff and Scurry.

Sniff nodded and Scurry waved at him. Haw said hello and then he indulged himself with new cheese. How Climbed up to the highest pile of cheese. He tasted every kind of cheese he saw. Haw pulled off his shoes and tied them to his neck. He might need them again someday.

Haw jumped for joy and ran around. He shouted, “Hooray for a change!” Sniff and Scurry are happy for him. Haw lifted a huge chunk of cheese and made a toast. “Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!”

Haw realized that the fastest way to change is to laugh at your folly. Once he was able to see his old self, to look at things differently, he was able to adapt. Haw changed his old ways and that led him to new cheese.

He also learned a lot from Sniff and Scurry. For the mice, life is simple. They did not make things complicated. When they saw that there was no more cheese, they acted fast. The cheese has moved and so they moved as well. Haw will remember that.

Haw thought of Hem. Maybe he could go back and help his friend. But he realized that he already tried. The hem should find his way. The hem should be able to fight his fears. After all, no one could do it for him. No one could make him change unless he does it himself.

If Hem ever comes out of Station C, he would see Haw’s handwriting on the wall. Haw remembered the notes he wrote and made a summary. He drew it on the largest wall of Station N. 

Haw ate some more delicious cheese. And then, they heard footsteps coming. Maybe it’s Hem! Maybe all four friends could finally “Move with the Cheese and Enjoy it!”


Change is a part of life. You have learned the effective ways to adapt to it. The cheese would always be moved and so you must move as well. Sometimes, you might be like Hem who finds it hard to change.

Maybe you lost something or someone you value. Maybe you feel frustrated and angry as well. Maybe you fear what would happen. But instead of thinking of the worse, try to hope for the best.

Negative thoughts will only lead you to negative actions. So choose to be like Haw instead. Let go of your fears and accept the change. In that way, you could move on and find your new cheese. 

There will always be new cheese out there. It is up to you to find it and enjoy its new taste. 

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