Who Moved My Cheese? (Johnson)

Discussion Questions 
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points—and activities—to help get a discussion started for Who Moved My Cheese:

1. In Johnson's book the cheese is a metaphor. What does it represent?

2. What does the maze represent?

3. Identify both the cheese and the maze in your own life. Then consider what might happen if someone moved your cheese. Imagine the ways you might have to cope with the changes.

4. What changes have you already experienced in your life? How did you react to the changes? Were you threatened, angry, frightened, disoriented, or excited by the challenge (come on...be honest!)? After reading Who Moved My Cheese? do you feel you dealt as well as you could have with those changes?

5. Has Johnson's book helped you see how change can be beneficial...in life in general, as well as in your own work or personal life?

6. If you read "A Discussion," the book's third section, what did you learn from the way others interpreted the book? Were any situations similar to your own?

7. Do you wish Johnson had offered concrete answers to the question of dealing with change? Would you have preferred a "how-to" approach, say, a step-by step guide? Or do you appreciate the way in which readers are free to interpret and apply the parable for themselves? Which approach is more helpful to you?

8. In the parable, Johnson says the four characters represent the four parts of ourselves, from the simple to the complex. What does he mean: which character represents which part of ourselves? Is there one character you relate to more than the others?

9. Why is it so hard for most of us (all of us?) to accept change?

_______________

Activities

1. For the hostess or leader of the discussion: without telling members ahead of time, change the format of the book club meeting— perhaps where you sit, when you discuss vs. when you socialize, the manner in which you discuss... whatever changes you can think of (and only for this meeting). This is an experiment to see how members deal with the changes facing them in the here and now.

2. Invite members to write down on a sheet of paper an aspect of their own lives that could be—or is in the process of being—affected by change—a move, new job, a child off to college, a divorce...whatever. Then pass around a basket or hat holding folded pieces of paper with the names of the characters from the parable (Hem, Haw, etc.). Make sure there are enough papers for everyone. Each member should draw one of the folded papers and talk about how that parable character would approach the change he/she wrote on the sheet of paper.

3. Pass around paper and pencils for each member to write down and describe his/her personal maze. Fold the paper. Appoint a moderator to collect and read out loud each member's maze—anonymously. The group tries to guess which maze belongs to which member. (This requires a high degree of trust among members.)

4. Divide up into teams of 2-4 people. Each team begins working on its own project—a jigsaw puzzle, or solving a riddle, or writing a group story—anything that involves teamwork. After several minutes, a moderator rings a bell and chooses a member from each team to move to another team. Let everyone begin working on their team projects again, this time with a new member. Wait for another interval, ring the bell, and shuffle members around again. Keep this up as long as you can stand it. The idea is to replicate how difficult it is to change— both in terms of disrupting group coherence and having to fit into a new group.

(Questions and activities by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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