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The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson

Spencer Johnson, M.D., is the author of several New York Times bestsellers, including The One Minute Manager, all in the entertaining style of a parable that contains useful information readers can use in their own lives. There are more than thirteen million copies of his books in print in over twenty-five languages. Dr. Johnson's education includes a psychology degree from the University of Southern California, an M.D. from the Royal College of Surgeons and medical clerkships at Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic. Biography Spencer Johnson is an M.D. who has become better known for fixing ailing corporations than healing the sick, first with his 1982 business classic The One Minute Manager (coauthored with psychiatrist Kenneth Blanchard) and then, unforgettably, with Who Moved My Cheese?, a word-of-mouth sensation that eventually remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over two years and has been translated into 11 languages. Word had slowly built up about Cheese, based on the strength of recommendations from heavy-hitter executives at Procter & Gamble, GE, Hewlett-Packard and others. Businesses, hit by the downshifting economy, began ordering copies by the thousands; by 2000, it was a national bestseller. The book sets up a story about four characters who live in a maze: Hem and Haw, who are little people; and Sniff and Scurry, who are mice. Johnson, who based the story on the fact that mice rarely go back to the same place to look for cheese and felt that humans might benefit from the example, created the story for himself as a way of helping himself get through a divorce. Urged by former writing partner Blanchard to set the story down in book form, Johnson finally did - and nothing happened, at first. But over two years, the book picked up momentum, not only among companies who were trying to deal with everything from sales downturns to massive layoffs, but among individuals who found the book helped them gain a new perspective on personal situations as well. Johnson's forte is to create allegorical stories that present simple, digestible solutions (or paths to solutions) for seemingly huge challenges. The approach is far from immune to criticism from those who complain that Who Moved My Cheese? is simplistic and silly; Johnson doesn't argue with either barb (though he might prefer "simple" over "simplistic"). His message is that being simpler and sillier makes us better adapters and decision-makers, and all of his books boil down to opening oneself to possibility and better communication. The ideas aren't revolutionary: As Johnson said in an ABC News chat, The challenge always for me and for others is to live the story and not just read about it.

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