Cheezy book

Please Remove My 'Cheese'

Jon Warshawsky once again demonstrates that Deloitte has a sense of humor.

Hypothetical Publicist from Penguin Putnam: Mr. Warshawsky, we're delighted you've finally had a chance to review Who Moved My Cheese? You're the last person who had not read and benefited from this worldwide mega-bestseller on "An A-Mazing way to deal with change." We'd love a quote from Cappuccino to use on the next version of the book jacket.

JW: Well, I'll try to put a positive spin on this. Who Moved My Cheese? is beyond any shred of doubt the worst and most useless thing in print. It's trite, dull and insulting. So far this year, I can say with some confidence that I've learned more from Snapple bottle caps and Eminem album lyrics.

PP: (Laughs) Love that journalistic wit. Surely you appreciated the storytelling approach to explaining reactions to change? Makes you think, doesn't it? And what a quick read!

JW: There's absolutely no way that 10 million adults actually read about two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two really teeny tiny people named Hem and Haw living in a wee little maze with a disappearing wad of cheese. I'm embarrassed for the consulting profession. I hope my parents don't see this.

PP: 'Cheese' is all about metaphor, so it's even more sophisticated than it appears. Powerful metaphors drive this tale of universal struggle in the face of change. Even the names are ingenious.

JW: Well, you've got me there. Who would've thought Hem and Haw would have 'hemmed and hawed' before seeking the new cheese. And Sniff and Scurry were so perceptive -- and responsive.

PP: Exactly! Now you've got it. Sometimes people can't grasp the great truths in 'Cheese' without mulling them over. It's a quick read. A lot of people keep it on their desk or even front and center on their coffee table. Did I mention that it's a quick read?

JW: It took me a week and a half. I kept it in the bathroom.

PP: So, you keep a few quick-read business books in the loo?

JW: No, not usually.

PP: Well, the insights here have universal relevance. For example, 'Smell the cheese often so you know when it's getting old.' Brilliant, you've got to admit. Will you be giving this book to your colleagues as a practical roadmap to change? A lot of people do.

JW: With nearly 10 million people actively trying to give this book away, I'm having a hard time placing mine, to be honest.

PP: Exactly, it's a phenomenon. Covey's '7 Habits' was pretty good, but people just read it and kept it. 'Cheese' is one of those quick reads made for giving. I'm sure a lot of your Change colleagues at Deloitte have found their professional lives touched by 'Cheese.'

JW: Some have left for other careers, but most have put enough distance between themselves and 'Cheese' that our clients still take them seriously. Our bill rates are down, though. And we've all stopped ordering cheese on our sandwiches. It was making some people ill through association.

PP: Any practical bits from 'Cheese' that strike you as words to live by? A lot of people see bits of themselves in there. People report feeling enlightened. Any insights that resonated with you or constructs that you've transferred to the consulting front lines, so to speak?

JW: No.

PP: Well, all right then. Not all roses, but I'll rework a few of your perspectives -- some great stuff here for the dust jacket of the 48th printing. As a bonus we'll be sending the video, the cheerleading kit and the new Sniff and Scurry plush toys to you at the Cappuccino office. Did you know we've sold nearly one million plush toys?

Posted by Jay Cross at August 29, 2003 06:49 PM | TrackBack

I successfully managed to give away my 'cheese' only to have it returned to me. Ugh!

Posted by: Diane at September 25, 2003 08:37 AM

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