We attribute the paternity of the expression “the monkey on the shoulder” – or “Monkey on the back” – to the American William Oncken Jr (1912-1988). He used this expression in his lectures he had through all the United States on the time management for the company executives.
William Oncken would have found his inspiration for this analogy in the Persian fable ” Sinbad the sailor ” and more particularly in his adventures during his fifth journey. In this episode Sinbad tries desperately to get rid of an old man who caught solidly on his back.
Whatever the exact origin the expression is, it had a worldwide success and became a great classic in the theories of management and more recently in the coaching ones.