Who Moved My Cheese?

Littlepeople and rodents
Littlepeople and rodents

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson (1998) is like a fly in amber. The question is not, “What is it?” but rather, “How did it get there?”

This book  is used by hundreds and hundreds of big corporations: BF Goodrich, Bristol Meyers, Citibank, Exxon, General Motors, Georgia Pacific, Greyhound, Hewlitt Packard, Lockheed Martin, Mercedes Benz, Pillsbury, Texaco, Time Warner, the US Armed Forces and the list goes on and on.

Corporations distribute this book to their employees and have deeply emotional discussion groups. The introduction is filled with testimonials by people who swear it saved their careers and made them happier, more fulfilled human beings.

I urge you to read it. It turns up at tag sales all the time. I guarantee you will marvel at what simpletons these people are — all of them! It’s like going to an expensive psychiatrist and finding him baring his soul to a sock puppet and weeping.

This book is an entree into the tiny minds of America’s corporate managers — many of whom, studies show, are psychopaths — and it’s full of toxic ideas, first and foremost the belief that workers are rodents. They squander their cheese on rent and health care, while the “littlepeople” (the managers) use it for a cozy cottage on Cheddar Lane or a big house on Camembert Hill.

The book’s message is: Follow the rodents, find their cheese, and take it from them.

There is a real sock puppet quality to this book, because it allows those reading and discussing it to fully indulge their adoration of money and the terror they feel at the idea of losing it.

Cheese is not money exactly; it’s just… what enables you to meet your needs and provide for your family and send you grandchildren to Bennington.

When the usual consignment of cheese doesn’t turn up at Cheese Station C, the mice take off and look for more, while the “littlepeople” get nervous.

“Their homes were not the nurturing places they once were, and the littlepeople had difficulty sleeping and were having nightmares ab0ut not finding any cheese.”

As I said, the question is not, “What is this piece of tripe?” but rather, “How did it remain on the bestseller list for five years?”

The answer is a little depressing: American corporate managers are simpletons who adore money and think workers are rodents. And from what I can gather, they have not read a single work of literature. Maybe that’s the answer.