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Dummies for Dummies: Enough is Enough

Jul 17, 2008
In an attempt to improve my writing I recently remembered a phrase handed down by a university lecturer to my creative writing class - "God help the writer who doesn't read." Accordingly a trip to a large, chain-style, book shop followed and, after wandering around for a while staring glassy eyed at the latest best sellers, I came to a section unknown to me before, the For Dummies section.

We've all seen an example of the For Dummies series before, perhaps a co-worker has an Excel for Dummies sat on their desk but I'd never known just how many titles there were. My intrigue was aroused when I saw the edition entitled Sex For Dummies and wondered "if you need a basic manual you really shouldn't be doing it." There were a number of more unusual titles there but a quick search on the internet found a much larger list of available titles and so many, many strange ones.

The series was initially begun way back in 1991 when Dan Gookin wrote DOS For Dummies. From there the books began tackling a lot of other software and technological subjects where there were a lack of guides for beginners. It's understandable that things such as CSS would be better for a beginners guide, but at what point does this apply to Siberian Huskies?

Here, for general amusement and bafflement, are some of the stranger ones and, no word of a lie, all of these are genuine.

Building Self-Confidence For Dummies. Really; trying to improve your confidence from a book that insults you in the title?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Dummies. If you're looking into something so scientific you may want to use a book that doesn't have a picture of a "dummy" on the front that signals to the rest of the class that you don't really know what you're doing.

Forensics for Dummies. If it's not written by Columbo there'll be nothing more reassuring at a murder scene than someone consulting this bad boy.

Screenwriting for Dummies. So that's where the script for Transformers came from.

Hypnotherapy for Dummies. Seriously, someone who considers themselves a dummy wants to know how to access the subconscious mind of other people?

Songwriting for Dummies. Ah, so that's where the Transformers Soundtrack came from.

Hacking and Hacking Wireless Networks for Dummies. Is this to be encouraged in the first place let alone in a For Dummies book? Turns out BillGates is not a back door password to everything. Dummy.

British Citizenship Test for Dummies. Everyone gets in.

Breaking Into Acting for Dummies. Ah, so this is where Dwayne 'The Rock' Hudson came from.

George W Bush: For Dummies. Oh, no, wait; that was just his election slogan.

Religion for Dummies. It really is.

Given the 'common sense' elements that this series of books prides itself on, this article has decided to offer a money-saving and time-saving exercise by telling you all you need to know and save you giving up your hard earned money for some of these titles and, again, these are genuine titles in the series. Let's have a go:

Stock Investing for Dummies. If you consider yourself a dummy, don't do this.

Marathon Training for Dummies. Run. Run some more.

Rabbits for Dummies. Buy one, name one, get it a hutch. Feed it, water it, stroke it. If it's sick take it to the vet, don't try and consult the obviously non-medically trained yellow book Vet Skills for Dummies. They're cute, they're fluffy and multiply like, well, rabbits.

Siberian Huskies for Dummies... Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies. It's a dog. Feed it, water it, stroke it, take it for a walk.

Catholicism for Dummies. Feel guilty.

The Internet for Dummies. It's porn. A lot of porn.

Dogtricks for Dummies. If you buy this, your dog is already smarter than you.

There really has to be a point, as with all things, someone says "enough is enough" but I get the feeling that that will never happen for the For Dummies people. After all, why do that when you can write a book called "Calling It A Day, For Dummies."
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