Skip to Content

Who Moved My Cheese Summary: A Story of Change

It’s hard to imagine a life without change. The only things that never change are the past and death, but we can’t do anything about those.

Change is inevitable in our lives, and it’s an important part of who we are. Life would be tedious if everything was always predictable. The fun comes from living through adventures with all their twists and turns!

In today’s ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ summary I’ll share some important points from the book to help guide you through some key lessons learned on dealing with changes throughout life.

Who are the characters in the book “Who Moved My Cheese”?

In his book Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson tells a story of two mice; Sniff and Scurry as well as two little people called Hem and Haw.

Sniff: Sniff is the more curious of the two mice and always pays attention to what’s going on around him. He can sniff out change very early.

Scurry: Scurry likes to scurry into action quickly.

Hem: Very skeptical about change, and fears that change could lead to something worse.

Haw: Haw can learn how to adapt when he sees that change can lead to something better.

Everyday, these four characters leave their home in search around the maze day in and day out, looking for cheese.

The cheese in this story is metaphor for the things that we desire in life such as a new career, healthy relationship, a big house and many more.

This cheese represents that thing or goal that we are always chasing. The maze represents where we spend most of our time looking for that cheese.

Who Moved My Cheese Summary – The Premise

So the premise of this story is that every morning, Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw got up early, put on their favorite running shoes and ran around the maze looking for their favorite cheese.

Sniff and Scurry used a trial-and-error approach to find the cheese. One would sniff while the other scurried about.

Hem and Haw used their ‘smart’ brains to find the cheese. Eventually both the mice and the little people found a generous amount of cheese located at Cheese Station C.

All was going very well. They all went to Cheese Station C every morning, ate a lot of cheese and returned home every night.

This went on for a while. As time passed, Sniff and Scurry continued to wake up bright and early and scurry on to the cheese station, sniffed around to see if things had changed as they enjoyed their cheese throughout the day.

Hem and Haw on the other hand, started to get lazy, waking up later each morning and would walk over to the cheese station, expecting there to be cheese waiting for them.

They had so much cheese at Cheese station C that they felt confident that it would continue to be there each morning like clockwork.

They’d become so smug in their success of finding the cheese and a bit too complacent.

Discover unique products that inspire at the
InspiredLife ShopWear Your Motivation. Inspire Your Space.

One morning, all the cheese was gone. When the mice arrived that day, they were not surprised, because they had already seen that the cheese was getting less and less as they did their morning inspections.

They simply put their running shoes back on and set out into the maze again, looking for new cheese. They didn’t overcomplicate the issue.

Since the situation at Station C had changed, Sniff and Scurry decided to change.

Hem and Haw on the other hand, were in absolute shock when they arrived that day. It was like their entire world came crashing down.

They weren’t aware of the changes happening around them, and thought the cheese would always be there.

Hem yelled out, “Who moved my cheese!” with great frustration and anguish. Although Haw was also shocked and in disbelief, he simply stood there in silence.

They went home that night, hoping the cheese would reappear by morning. Of course it didn’t, and it never would again.

The cheese was gone forever and they knew this when they got up in the morning to return, hoping for a different outcome.

Hem, who had complained from the start, now started to blame others for his situation. He was playing the victim of it all.

Sniff and Scurry had already been on the move and had even found new cheese at Cheese Station N.

Talk about adapting and just going with the flow! These mice had life all figured out.

The two characters in the story, Hem and Haw, symbolize many of the emotions that we experience when faced with change.

We have to deal with fear, skepticism, anger and finally acceptance. In this story, they just didn’t want to face the facts.

They didn’t want to have to start over and find cheese again because for them, it meant uncertainty and fear of failing.

They returned to their original station every day, simply because they felt comfortable there. It was what they were used to. Their comfort zone.

Haw eventually came to his senses and realized that fear was controlling him. Haw tried to convince Hem to leave the station and search for new cheese, but Hem refused.

Discover unique products that inspire at the
InspiredLife ShopWear Your Motivation. Inspire Your Space.

Haw eventually built up some courage. Painted a belief in his mind that he was capable of finding new cheese.

Then he set off in the dark maze alone, with no certainty of what was to come next.

Although the journey was hard at first, he soon realized it was worth the adventure.

As Haw continued to look for new cheese, he learned some very valuable lessons along the way.

“Some people who are not aware of change can get so scared that they refuse to do anything, and just worry about what is happening. Others who understand the power of change, can use it as a means of great opportunity.”

“We all have a natural tendency to resist change, but if we can learn how to flow with it and adapt quickly, the rewards are enormous.”

Haw tried to go back and share the lessons he had learned with Hem but Hem was still stuck in his old ways.

Hem wanted his cheese back and didn’t want to change. Haw realized that Hem had to find a way out on his own in order for him to move past the fear of change.

One of the biggest obstacles to change is in ourselves and that nothing improves until we do.

The mice kept things simple. They didn’t overcomplicate things nor did they spend time dwelling on what was wrong.

They were quick to change what would make them happier and found new ways of getting around whatever challenges faced them.

The little people overcomplicated things. They made the situation harder than it needed to be.

The little people were smarter than the mice, but they were spending their time and energy on the wrong things and in the wrong direction.

Who Moved My Cheese Summary: Biggest Lessons and Takeaways

“Who Moved My Cheese?” is a book that teaches us to embrace change. Change can be terrifying, but it also offers new opportunities for growth and success if we allow ourselves to adapt with the times.

The story follows the lives of four characters who are seeking their “cheese” which represents what they want in life. But life always keeps moving and evolving because at the end of the day, nothing is ever constant.

They learn how to adapt by changing themselves rather than waiting around for things to happen on their own. We can apply these same lessons when dealing with any kind of change in our business or personal lives.

Always remember….You have what it takes to do anything, if only you believe in yourself enough to give it a shot. Never resist change!

We hope you enjoyed today’s ‘Who Moved My Cheese summary.’ Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Discover unique products that inspire at the
InspiredLife ShopWear Your Motivation. Inspire Your Space.


Wednesday 14th of September 2022

Thank you very much! I read this book years ago but needed a quick refresher. This was very helpful!