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The Napkin, The Melon & The Monkey: How to Be Happy and Successful at Work and in Life by Simply Changing Your Mind [Hardcover]

Barbara Burke

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Book Description

8 Mar 2010

Barbara Burke's tale of success follows Olivia as she learns to take control of her life and gain pleasure from her work. With easy-to-understand parables and down-to-earth language, this human story of achievement will appeal to everyone who has ever looked for the answers to their work worries.

Olivia was failing in her career as a customer service representative, alienated from her husband and agitated with her children. At breaking point, she found comfort and guidance in a close friend and the life parables that had been handed down from her ancestors. We follow Olivia as she uses her new found knowledge to deal with every day problems in healthy ways. Olivia's life lessons are amusing and memorable, and offer key lessons and principles explained in a digestible fashion. Her story is one that every worker can relate to, and her route to success is one that every worker can learn from.

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More About the Author

For last 24 years I've made my living as a management consultant working with customer service call centers. I have witnessed the emotional toll the constant barrage of anger and negativity has on service providers. So, when I discovered the 4-step "SODA" (Stop.Observe.Decide.Act) process and saw how effective it was in helping people rise above work and life challenges, I decided to write a little story with the hope that more people would discover the power of mindfulness.

I self-published The Napkin, the Melon & the Monkey in 2006. By 2008 the book was in its third printing and garnering attention not only in customer service but from people in education, health care, non-profits and government.

In 2008, Hay House purchased US and World rights to the book. The beautiful hardcover edition was released February 2010 in the US; March in the UK; April in India.

FREE TRAINING MATERIALS with book purchase: If you are interested in using the book within your organization as leadership tool to improve employee engagement, productivity and customer satisfaction then check out the FREE Leaders Guide available as a download on my website ( Simply buy a copy of the book from any bookseller, fill out the form ( complete the download.

The LEADERS GUIDE is a complete DIY kit that has everything you need to conduct an inspiring team meeting including: the Leaders Guide, PowerPoint and handouts. This is the first module in a series that will be offered in coming months.

I couldn't be more thrilled with the reception the book has received throughout the world. I'm open to invitations to speak to your group or conduct a workshop to help your employees integrate the book's powerful ideas into their work - and their life.

To learn more about my services and about how to use the book to make a difference visit:

P.S. After you read the book please help to spread the word by writing a review on

Product Description

About the Author

Barbara Burke is an internationally known consultant, speaker and author who specialises in the 'people side' of customer service management. The Napkin, The Melon & The Monkey is her first book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A helpful and useful book 20 Jan 2010
By Cheryl Koch - Published on
For anyone who has ever had a job where you have to deal with customers then you will relate to the everything in this book. Barbara Burke is an internationally known consultant, speaker, and author who specializes in the "people side" of customer service management. In the Napkin, the Melon & the Monkey, Barbara shares her tips for how to deal with customer service situations without losing your cool.

Here are just a few of Barbara's helpful tips:

AHA! #1 - I will always have problems

AHA! #2 - It's not about me

AHA! #3 - Problems can be gifts in disguise

AHA! #4 -Just sit there. Do Nothing

AHA! #5- There is no such thing as a difficult situation

AHA! #6- When all else fails, have a SODA (Stop, Observe, Decide, and Act)

AHA! #7 - Withholding judgment allows me to observe what is

AHA! #8 - The nicer I am to myself, the nicer I am to others

AHA! #9 - A simple apology works wonders

AHA! # 10 - The less I talk, the more I learn

I liked this book. I have been in the business of customer service since I started working my first official job when I was sixteen. All in different forms of customer service from ...retail to phone. There have been many times when I would go home stressed out and take it out on my husband and not meaning too. I would try taking bathes, reading or watching television to calm down and sometimes it would help for a little while and then I would get that one really challenging phone call or customer and I would lose it again.

Barbara presents how to apply her tips by writing a story about Isabel. Isabel is a mother and she owes for a electric company. Isabel loves helping people but try as she may; she ends up yelling at the customer every time they yell at her. Isabel asks her mentor Olivia how she stays so clam and cool headed. Olivia applies the tips Barbara shares in the Napkin, the Melon & the Monkey. Soon Isabel is loving her job and so can you with this handy book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Change the way you think, change your life! 13 Feb 2010
By Jeremiah T. Shaw - Published on
In many ways this book has saved and continues to save my life. While that may seem to be a dramatic statement, anyone in the field of customer service can tell you dealing with angry, irate, frustrated customers can take a serious toll on one's spirit. Ms. Burke teaches us we can turn any situation around simply by changing our approach. She reminds us to put people first, both ourselves AND our customers. If we do this, everything falls into place. Her fable reinforces the concept that we are all responsible for our own destiny. Through a series of AHA! moments we are empowered to handle any situation. If you are in the field of Customer Service, I strongly recommend keeping a copy of this book at home, in your office, car, wherever.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Parable for Positive Change 5 Feb 2010
By M. Muiznieks - Published on
If customer service brings you more frustration than satisfaction, then buy The Napkin The Melon & The Monkey. This quick, fun-to-read parable is packed with practical wisdom for dealing with difficult people and everyday stress. Author and customer service specialist Barbara Burke reveals, with gifted storytelling, how we often get in our own way and how we can fix that with simple attitude adjustments. As a self-improvement seeker and occasional difficult customer, I highly recommend this book for everyone because afterall, at the end of the day, we're all in customer service.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "How-To" on Life! 22 Jan 2010
By D. Wilbert - Published on
Not too long. Not too short. Simply an AWESOME read. Since the book is broken down into numerous "Aha!" moments (tidbits on how to handle different situations - and stories to go along with the taglines), it is very easy to follow. You'll find you can easily to relate to the fictional characters in the book, whether you're a part of a customer service team or frankly, just a self-proclaimed Joe-schmo looking for some enlightenment.

We all need reminded of the simple lessons in life. This book is a manual for those life lessons that will remain valuable to you for as long as you live.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book! 18 Feb 2010
By LUVS BOOKS - Published on
This is a great little book, packed with wisdom. It's a very easy read with practical advice for getting along with others, learning to let go and just making life easier all around. It's not just for people who work in customer service - it works for anyone in all walks of life - basically if you deal with other people you will benefit from this book.
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