A self-help book that will make you feel really smart (&disillusioned) in 45 minutes

Dr. Spencer Johnson: Who moved my cheese?” is the dumbest book I’ve read in my (adult) life.

I’ve reached a whole new level in the self help industry : the most insulting read of my life from the recommendation list of James Clear, one of my favorite self-help author.

In Hungarian we have a term called “szófosás”. It means “diarrhea of words”: this book is an just an hour long read that says no more than
“Things change. Adapt. Laugh at yourself.”


“Who moved my cheese?” is an insulting attempt to close your mind on an intelligent reader. Sniff, scurry, hem and haw are the four characters that are those drawers where every person is supposed to fit in. The book only describes 2 of the 4 characters (since 2 are human (!?) and 2 are mice). So practically you have 2 choices to “find yourself” in this “motivational business fable” where you are portrayed as a rat mouse in a race maze  that runs for the cheese and when it disappears you have 2 (two!) choices: adapt and find new cheese or don’t adapt, be miserable and get fired.

I felt like sitting on one of those very long, boring, senseless and still, insulting US company kick-off meetings that can mess with your brain for a couple weeks after. Anyways, the mice in the maze it’s not all there is. There is a group guys in a class reunion that talk about this story (WTF!?). And by the way, what kind of reunion is it where all people talk about is leaving your comfort zone and how to make better business? (and everyone from the class is a businessman!?)

This book convinced me further on that you really don’t have to be smart or special in any way to make money or be famous (26 million pieces sold worldwide, translated to 37 languages!) or to write one of the bestselling business books of all time.


Then it hit me. Am I the member of the same species that holds a book that shouldn’t be taught above the age of 3 in the highest esteem? And suddenly I could feel my ever-optimistic faith in humanity leaving me (I’ve read the book at the entrance of the Auschwitz State Musem, in front of the former camp while waiting up on my group of passengers).
But fortunately I found the top-rated reviews of the book and I instantly felt better. I realized (hoped?) that it wasn’t individuals that bought this book but corporations, trying to squeeze more out of their employees. 26 million pieces sold and -even though just a 1 hour read- probably half of the printed copies were never read. I had a laugh.

Best moments from the other reviews:
– I think that I would have enjoyed the Spanish version better. I don’t speak Spanish.
– [the book’s characters] are the type of people for whom warning labels are placed on hot coffee cups
– If your boss gives you this to read find a new job.
– I wish I could un-read this book.
– So, who moved/stole their cheese? That question is never answered.
My 9 month old son has books with smaller type and which make more sense. The author is worse than Hitler.
– It only took about 15-30 minutes to read, but I was begging God to give that time back to me.


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