Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"Who Moved My Cheese?"

I was getting behind on my book-reading goal, so I decided to read a shorter book a few days ago. I read all of Spencer Johnson's "Who Moved My Cheese?" in a single day. A lot better than the last book I finished, that I had been reading on and off since 2006!

It is essentially a parable about two mice and two 'little people' in a big maze looking for cheese. The people became too accustomed to finding cheese in one place, until it disappeared. While the mice head off immediately in search of new cheese, the little people just sulk. One finally gets over it and starts looking for new cheese, and makes several important revelations along the way. This parable is couched within the story of a class reunion where the parable is discussed.

I would say the main moral of the story is 'change happens, go with it.' There are some other related lessons, though some of them feel a little 'psych-up', that attitude is everything. It emphasizes that change is good, but only gives lip service to the thought that some things really should not change. For instance, change away from a foundation of sound principles is something that should be resisted. I admit, the intended audience of this book is someone paralysed by the fear of change in employment or job description, not someone looking for their moral compass. For the intended audience, it is probably a good read, and is short enough to not be too intimidating.

While the author is no Aesop, it is fairly well written. Thankfully this book only cost me $1 at a book sale. The list price of $20 seems a little much, but the market price of $12 is perhaps fair.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Finding & Keeping Good Friends

I have often lamented at how hard it is to find and keep lasting friends. A few months ago, I read one book in hopes that it would help. But Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends & Influence People" was really not what I was searching for. It was more a manual of tools and tactics, which could be used "for good or for evil." While I did learn a few things from it, I was looking for something deeper.

I believe I have found what I wanted in the book I just completed. Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" really hits to the heart of the matter. The section between habits 3 & 4 especially hit home with me:
We can often live for years with the chronic pain of our lack of vision, leadership or management in our personal lives.
Covey also speaks to those who would rely solely on tools such as Dale Carnegie's book:
That's when we try to treat the symptoms with quick fixes and techniques — the band-aids of the Personality Ethic.
While it is something far easier said than done, I will work on implementing the seven habits in my own life, to be come better independent and interdependent.