Are Dummies Books Really for Dummies?

by Katie Fetting-Schlerf on August 2, 2012

Dummies book logo

When the Dummies books first hit the market in the early 1990s, many were concerned their titles insulted prospective readers.  After all, anyone seriously seeking education can hardly be called a dummy.

Fun, instructive and easy to read, the series kicked off with DOS for Dummies and has grown into a series that, according to their website, has “250 million books in print and more than 1,800 titles.”

Often illustrated with clever cartoons, the Dummies books grew out of a layman’s need for digestible information on often complex topics.

As one who has perused the Dummies series on occasion, I can assure you that only dummies don’t read them.

Below are some favorites:

The Bible for Dummies

By Jeffrey C. Geoghegan and Michael M. Homan
Looking for a good synthesis of (possibly) the most influential and important book in the history of mankind?  Look no further.  The Bible for Dummies takes you from Genesis to Revelations, not missing many stops in between.  Packed with excellent commentary and criticism from various biblical scholars, the book reveals without preaching.

Sex for Dummies

By Ruth K. Westheimer and Pierre A. Lehu
Everyone’s doing it… but apparently not very well.  Sex for Dummies is co-written by Dr. Ruth, one of the foremost scholars on fornication, and explores the Big O, low libido, safe sex and more.  Consider it the common sense Kama Sutra.

Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten
Ever felt like optimizing your website?  (And, no, that’s not a euphemism.)  This book will teach you how.  Clocking in at an insane 937 pages (3 whole pounds!), Web Marketing for Dummies is like getting 8 books in 1.  From the nuts and bolts of SEO and pay-per-click to the elegance of web analytics, email and social, this is the only book you’ll need to beat the search engine game.  And, word on the street is a new one’s coming out any day now.

Knitting for Dummies

By Pam Allen
Knitting is a much more complex activity than is suggested by old ladies on TV.  Covering everything from hardware to yarn selection, Knitting for Dummies takes readers through the basics while providing helpful tips on choosing needles, yarn and more.

Raising Chickens for Dummies

By Kimberley Willis and Rob Ludlow
If you’re looking to make a little extra income or just really like fowl, consider raising chickens.  Raising Chickens for Dummies is an A to Z on growing our feathered friends, including tips on everything from basic chicken biology and keeping your coop clean to handling health problems and raising chicks.

iPad for Seniors for Dummies

by Nancy C. Muir
Sometimes adopting a new technology can be daunting – especially when you don’t feel particularly comfortable with the hardware.  Designed to allay the nerves of even the biggest technophobe, iPad for Seniors for Dummies explains the basics of the popular Apple product while offering tips on taking pictures, making FaceTime calls and using voice dictation.  Published in large type.

Food Allergies for Dummies

By Robert A. Wood, MD and Joe Kraynak
If you have a peanut allergy, this is the book for you.  With an entire chapter on the subject, Food Allergies for Dummies gives suggestions on recognizing this and various other allergies.  The book also offers tips on ways to keep your allergy from controlling your life by offering common sense alternatives while eating out and traveling.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Liza LaCasse August 3, 2012 at 10:46 am

The timing is funny. I just found out today that a required book for one of my classes next semester is ‘Small Business for Dummies’. I shall read it with pride. : )

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