One- man phe­nom­e­non

Townsville Bulletin - - CLASSIFIEDS -

SPENCER John­son, whose book Who Moved My Cheese? sold 25 mil­lion copies and be­came a busi­ness and self- help phe­nom­e­non, has died.

John­son’s ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant Nancy Casey said he died last Mon­day of com­pli­ca­tions from pan­cre­atic can­cer in the San Diego- area city of Encini­tas.

Who Moved My Cheese? was a slim, 94- page fa­ble on the need to em­brace change that was de­rived from a story John­son had told at par­ties and used in speeches.

Pub­lished in 1998, it fea­tured two mice - Sniff and Scurry - and two tiny hu­mans - Hem and Haw - and was set in a maze.

The ti­tle is a quote from one of the hu­mans, who can’t ac­cept that he needs to seek out food in new places, in­stead returning to the same place for it re­peat­edly.

Even­tu­ally, Haw learns to leave his place of com­fort in search of cheese.

“Be­fore long, he knew why he felt good,” John­son wrote. “He stopped to write again on the wall: ‘ When you stop be­ing afraid, you feel good’!”

The book be­came a cul­tural con­stant in the late 1990s. It Ad­ver­tise in the pa­per and on­line. ap­peared in the front win­dows of air­port book­stores, was end­lessly quoted in grad­u­a­tion ad­dresses and mo­ti­va­tional sem­i­nars, and was the go- to gift for Fa­ther’s Day. Par­ody ver­sions soon be­gan pop­ping up.

“Spencer built a fa­ble that helps peo­ple deal with change in a re­ally ac­ces­si­ble way,” Ivan Held, pres­i­dent of G. P. Put­nam Sons at Pen­guin Group USA, John­son’s pub­lisher, said in a pre­pared state­ment.

John­son was a med­i­cal doc­tor­turned chil­dren’s au­thor when he wrote his first hit book, The One Minute Man­ager, in 1982, with coau­thor Ken Blanchard.

The book teaches three tech­niques for be­ing an ef­fec­tive boss, of­fer­ing “one- minute goals,” “one- minute prais­ings” and “one- minute rep­ri­mands.”

It was self- pub­lished at first but sold wildly at con­ven­tions where the au­thors gave pre­sen­ta­tions. Then a ma­jor pub­lisher picked it up and it went on to sell 25 mil­lion copies.

Blanchard made a ca­reer of the book in en­su­ing decades.

Ad­ver­tise your prop­erty or ac­com­mo­da­tion in the pa­per

CUL­TURAL CON­STANT: Spencer John­son’s book be­came a busi­ness and self- help sen­sa­tion.

Who Moved My Cheese

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