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Cheese and Change:  Dealing with Trauma in Life and Business
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Spencer Johnson (Foreword by Kenneth Blanchard
Who Moved My Cheese?  (NY:  Simon and Schuster Audio, 1998)

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This audio book begins with an engaging introduction by Johnson with Ken Blanchard, who has written the foreword to Johnson's book.  The subtitle focuses the book's intention:  "An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life."

This audio version is a full text of the creative allegory of the challenge of dealing with change in the workplace.  Blanchard (PhD) and Johnson (MD) are co-authors of The One Minute Manager, which has become "the world's most popular management method."

The pleasant and expressive voice of Tony Roberts reads the active text of the book to us, telling the story of two little mice named Hem and Haw and their friends, Sniff and Scurry.  The allegory develops as Hem and Haw become settled in their comfortable home in a wealthy home.

Hem and Haw planned and used their great intelligence to find cheese in the maze in which they all lived.  Sniff and Scurry found cheese more by trial and error, remembering the productive lanes and nooks hiding the cheese.  Hem and Haw find a plenteous and regular supply of cheese at "Cheese Station C."  Hem and Haw became accustomed to the easy life with the supply of plenty of cheese and were able to organize their life comfortably.  

As Hem and Haw become more affluent and comfortable, they begin to look down on their hard-working neighbors Sniff and Scurry.  But the smart mice Hem and Haw mapped out the places they had found cheese, so they had to work less and less to get food every day.  They became complacent, until one day they went on a trip, then came one day to find no cheese at their "Cheese Station C."

Sniff and Scurry had also been gathering some cheese from Cheese Station C, but they had noticed that the cheese supply there had been diminishing.  Now that there was no more cheese, it was nothing to them.  They shifted their strategy and returned to their industrious pattern of looking in various places.

But Hem and Haw were not that flexible.  They had not developed foraging techniques, so were at a loss.  They continued going to look for cheese at the same cheese station, but finally it was clear cheese was no longer to be found at Cheese Station C.  The way they finally work out a solution spins out the possibilities of learning how to deal with the traumatic change in their situation.

The body of the story is this parable of the cheese, which is then discussed in a dialogue by business colleagues to evaluate their various businesses.  Cheese is the focus then for whatever they as individuals or the company wants.  This works on a personal or a corporate level.  The Maze that was home to Hem and Haw represents the places you looks for what you want.  This could be an organization, the family, the community or the market.

This is an enjoyable little story and the debriefing dialogue of the human characters is realistic.  It is a pleasant experience and provides insights or at least an interesting review of the approaches to change.  The story provides an opportunity for self-evaluation on how one meets change.

Since this story is an allegory, this audio book is an excellent way to get the story.  The superb reading stimulates the mind to conjure up vivid images to enjoy the visual story in your head!

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[Review] By Ken Blanchard:  We Should Already Know This
[review] Dealing with Worldview in Business
[review] Ethical Challenges of Intellectual Poverty in Modern America
[Review] Migration, Ethnicity and Economics

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Heard and first review notes written 24 May 2009
Review expanded 26 May 2009
Posted on Amazon 28 May 2009
Posted on Barnes and Noble and OJTR 29 May 2009

Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © 2009 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email:  orville@jenkins.nu
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