Self-help author Dr. Johnson dies

Obit Spencer Johnson

ENCINITAS, Calif. — Dr. 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 Saturday that he died Monday of complications from pancreatic cancer.

“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!'”