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Who Moved My Cheese Outline

Updated on January 23, 2013

Who Moved My Cheese?

This book is a simple parable that tells an amusing story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. They represent the way different people behave when they face change in their life.

In this parable, cheese is a metaphor for what we want to have in life: a job, a relationship, money, a big house, freedom, health, recognition, etc. The maze represents where you spend time looking for what you want.

The 4 characters are made up of 2 mice, Sniff and Scurry, and 2 "little people", Hem and Haw.

  • Sniff -- sniffs out change early before others are aware of it.
  • Scurry -- sees what is needed and takes action immediately (scurries into action).
  • Hem -- "hems" and "haws" in a new situation and wishes the change wasn't happening. That is to say, he denies and resists change as he fears it will lead to something worse.
  • Haw -- laughs at himself for not wanting to change, then moves on to explore the "maze" and comes to enjoy the taste of new "cheese". In other words, he learns to adapt in time when he sees changing leads to something better.

Following, I have outlined and summarized Dr. Spencer Johnson's book. All quotes and information comes from the book. This outline/summary is not intended to replace the book ... only to enhance your reading experience by providing a guideline of key points

I see myself as ...


It is beneficial to identify which character you relate to the most. In this way you can see how you are and adjust to react to change better.

Who do relate most closely with?

See results

The Writing on the Wall

Hem and Haw's words of wisdom

To make themselves feel more at home, Hem and Haw decorated the walls of the maze with sayings and even drew pictures of Cheese around them, which made them smile.

  • Having cheese makes you happy
  • The more important your cheese is to you, the more you want to hold on to it.
  • If you do not change, you can become extinct.
  • What would you do if you weren't afraid?
  • Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old.
  • Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.
  • When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.
  • Imagining myself enjoying new cheese, even before I find it, leads me to it.
  • The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.
  • It is safer to search in the maze then remain in a cheeseless situation.
  • Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.
  • When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course.
  • Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come.

The summary for the handwriting on the wall:

Change Happens

They Keep Moving The Cheese

Anticipate Change

Get Ready For The Cheese To Move

Monitor Change

Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old.

Adapt To Change Quickly

The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese.


Move With The Cheese

Enjoy Change!

Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese.

Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again

They Keep Moving The Cheese.

Help me through my maze and leave me some cheese!

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    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 7 years ago

      I love that there are characters Hem and Haw in a book about life decisions!