Jan Bowman

Entry # 116 – READERS TALK BOOKS – Monkey Business: 37 Better Business Practices Learned Through Monkeys – Reviewed by Laura Mueller

Monkey Business, by Heather Wandell, M.A., CLL

Certified Laughter Leader Heather Wandell shares the wisdom of 24 primate coaches and creative consultants in Monkey Business: 37 Better Business Practices Learned Through Monkeys. 

Today marks the first Tuesday of the Month of December 2012, and again, we are fortunate to have a book review from Laura Mueller  about a nonfiction book she recently read and found interesting and useful.  Here are Laura’s comments about: Monkey Business.

As a writer, healer, and busy business owner, this book has  inspired me to spend some time each week re-reading and reflecting upon Heather Wandell’s thoughts about the mystery of the ways of primates – as they interact with each other and with humans.  Reading this book will deepen your capacity to observe Nature and live in harmony with its cycles.

Heather’s achievement is to adopt us all as playful pets – a process that gives us insights into the mystery of primate motivation and makes us privy to their ways of doing business.

Early in the book, I found this insight –  about nonlinear thinking and actions that create meditative rhythm, and connect to deeper thinking – especially interesting.

“In nonlinear thinking, there can be many starting points with ideas springing off in all directions and all at the same time. This is where breakthroughs occur. The tactile act of writing with pen on paper can help to take us into the deeper realms of our being. The physical act of the hand moving the pen across the page creates a meditative rhythm. Speech is linear, while thoughts when writing tend to be nonlinear. Through nonlinear thinking, we discover insights by curbing our mental reflex to think only in terms of what we know. Journaling is an effective way to connect with the deeper realms of self.” (page 12)

Part One of the book looks at “Creating an Environment Where Possibility Thrives” 
Among the monkeys described in this book, we meet Oogie, a fifteen-year-old cinnamon capuchin monkey who is diabetic and blind in one eye. She enjoys being sung to, danced with, and tickled by her favorite people.  In a particularly touching story, we find that Oogie was rescued and now resides at Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary, Inc., in Woodstock, MD.  The Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded by Colleen Layton-Robbins and Scott Robbins.  Since 1970 Colleen has given a second chance at life to injured, orphaned, abandoned wild animals and exotic pet give-ups, thanks to good-hearted volunteers and donations.
The Robbins are people Heather acknowledges as “Lamed-Vovniks” from Jewish folklore.  She sees them as two of the thirty-six anonymous saints who work at humble trades and pass unnoticed, not knowing what only God knows: that the world continues to exist because they respond to the suffering of others, which matters to them and touches them deeply.  You can learn more and support the sanctuary at

In the chapter on, “My Space”  we see the impact of environment and how the use of space allows possibility to thrive. We see how Oogie reacts to Heather’s care of her space.  When Heather moves Oogie’s enclosure while cleaning around it, the spunky monkey flies off like a five-pound firecracker shooting in all directions. Oogie’s surprising vocal volume and speed activates all the other monkeys and birds nearby. Oogie shows us how primates keep energy flowing abundantly in their space. We can learn much about space and how it’s use impacts living creatures. Wandell goes on to describe how clearing stagnation allows creation to take place. 

Wandell’s examples, using observations of primates, generates motivation from deep within us to de-clutter a closet, a desk or a room — and she concludes the chapter with ways to go about looking at our own space and how we use it.  Other chapters look at “movement, metaphors, and gardens and space” – also using observations of primates and how they deal with the complexity of their environment.  Each chapter features a monkey coach demonstrating its lesson, followed by a weekly practice and selected print and online resources to deepen our understanding and connection.  All in all – this is interesting and shows us the many ways we can include these ideas that are “primate based” into our own daily lives, whether in business or personal activities.

As a result of reading this book I was inspired.
Now all stray papers in my home office space have been thrown away, or put away in files, or marked for their next move. During “de-clutter” week, I woke up one morning contemplating the phrase “Moving Gratitude.” I choose to experience myself throughout the day as “Gratitude in Motion.” Emotion becomes “G-Motion.” Gratitude clears away seeds of upset, moves into seedy spaces, and nourishes the growth of happiness!

More fun and Heather’s book can be found at http://www.anotherwaytoseeit.com

Need A Speaker?
Laughter for healthier bodies, minds, and environments,

Heather Wandell, M.A., CLL 410-465-7302                                                                                        www.anotherwaytoseeit.com

Monkey Business: 37 Better Business  Practices Learned Through Monkeys —the book based on the monthly column.  I have observed thousands of hours of human workplace behavior and hundreds of hours of monkey behavior and have found there is a connection!  A portion of every book sold will go to support Frisky’s Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary, Inc. in Woodstock, MD. The book is available now at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=heather+wandell    
Reviewed by:     Laura A. Mueller, M.Ac., L.Ac.410-707-1394 
Acupuncture & Zero Balancing©  Feel free to comment on the blog site or contact Laura, if you’d like to write to her about this review.

to send me your thoughts about what you’ve read and want to share and I’ll plan to post it on the first Tuesday of each month.  I’m looking for a January post, so here’s what you do:
Write a couple of paragraphs if you would like to talk about a book.  Don’t worry about being particularly academic.  This is not intended to be a formal review, unless you really long to write one, and in any case – write what you wish from your own impressions and reactions.  Then send an email to me. I will collect these, edit a bit, if necessary, before posting your comments on the first Tuesday of the month under the title: READERS TALK – Books.email:   janbowmanwriter@gmail.com


Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2011 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:

Website – www.janbowmanwriter.com

Blogsite – http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com