What’s With the Ninja Monkey?

A question I am asked a lot (I get asked all sorts, you may have noticed), is why did you call the book Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play?

There are actually two answers to this, the “official” one and the “Unofficial” one. The official one is in the book and reads

I went through many iterations of the title. I went on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and more asking for advice. Then my daughter made an amazing comment. “Daddy, when I grow up I want to be a ninja or a unicorn with wings called Princess Unicorn.”

Then it struck me. It didn’t really matter what the title was, so I tried to think of the coolest thing I could. Who doesn’t love monkeys or ninjas? So, equipped with that insight into my mind, read on, enjoy and remember – even ninja monkeys (or unicorns with wings) like to play!

That is partially true, there is another reason that was mostly to amuse me…

Before I wrote the book, there had been a few people referencing my User Types Hexad in research and they had been coming up against a particular issue common to academia it seems. They were referencing my blog. This does not cut the mustard in the academic world and they were getting negative comments about it. In response, I wrote a paper with the help of the amazing guys at AIT. This was rejected, the main reason being that the work was not original. When they said that it was not original, they referred to the fact that it was already published on my website… Can you see the issue here, the ridiculous paradox that the academics created there? You can’t reference the website because it is not a published paper, you can’t create a published paper because the work is already on a website that you can’t reference because it isn’t a published paper but you can’t write a paper because…. You see where the issue is, a lovely Catch 22.

It turns out that the academic world is less picky about books though. It is much easier to reference a book, even if it is self-published and contains the exact same information as the website. So that is what I did, I wrote a book. When it came to the title, I was genuinely influenced by my kids. One because of her crazy ideas and love of ninjas, the other because of her love of monkeys. However, the title also made me smile or at least one thought. The thought of serious papers written about gamification having to put the book title in their list of references of other serious papers and book. Half way down the list, they have to include the words “Even Ninja Monkeys Like to Play”.

A reference 500x421 What 8217 s With the Ninja Monkey

It just tickles me and is a very (very very) petty bit of revenge.



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4 thoughts on “What’s With the Ninja Monkey?”

  1. haha Great explanation! Glad to be helping with adding references to the ninja monkey into serious papers! 🙂

    Just for the sake of historical accuracy, I believe the first paper you wrote before the book and was rejected was with the folks from the Austrian Institute of Technology. We (the HCI Games Group) began working with the user types right after you published the book. I remember the first time I contacted you was around the same time when you received news that the paper would not be accepted.


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