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I was introduced to Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, MD several years ago and recently went in search of it again. When I found it, I also discovered a sequel written by Dr. Johnson and published posthumously that tells the story of Hem.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Who Moved My Cheese. Visit the Book Discussion for Who Moved My Cheese.
In Who Moved My Cheese, Hem and Haw moved their entire life to be close to Cheese Station C because of the continuous supply of Cheese (with a capital “C”). They were surprised one day to find all the Cheese was gone. Haw finally decided to go out into the Maze to see if he could find a new supply of cheese and urged Hem to go with him, but Hem refused to leave. He wants his own Cheese, so he can stay in his home near Cheese Station C. Haw goes out and eventually finds a new, better supply of cheese and leaves clues for Hem if he ever decides to follow. But in Who Moved My Cheese, we don’t know the fate of Hem. All this time, I assumed he perished of starvation.
Out of the Maze tells us the story of Hem and how he finally gets past his anger and leaves in search of new Cheese. He determines he must do this, or he will die. Along the way, he meets Hope, who offers him a new way to look at things and together, they go in search of more Cheese (and other food). They discover that their old beliefs about the Maze aren’t working, so maybe they need to try something new.
In this story, Hem must examine his reasons for wanting to stay at Cheese Station C instead of going with Haw when he was asked. He spends a lot of time berating himself because he didn’t go with Haw and wonders if his friend is lost or worse. What happened to Haw because Hem wasn’t there?
His beliefs kept him stuck, but it was concern about his safety and the safety of his friend that cause Hem to leave his home to go out into the Maze. It is a hard decision to leave the familiar, especially when hope is hard to find.
- What does the Maze represent? Why is it so scary?
- What would have happened to Hem if he hadn’t met Hope?
- What do the tools Hem carries with him each day mean to you?
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This sequel to Who Moved My Cheese was written because so many wondered what happened to Hem. The story is the natural progression in personal growth and one that is just as important to read as its predecessor.