Re: why I like the Dummies books - was Boring documentation

Subject: Re: why I like the Dummies books - was Boring documentation
From: "Jason A. Czekalski" <topsidefarm -at- mva -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 06:57:46 -0500

>> Anyways, that's my two-cents worth. Anyone else brave enough to
admit that they've used a Dummies book? ;-)<<

I've never been afraid to admit when I don't know something. I would
not be in this career today if not for the "for Dummies" series.

About 12 years ago, I bought my first computer at a yard sale. I knew
very little about computers, and the guy selling it didn't have much
in documentation. I went out and bought the "PCs", "DOS", and
editions based on the advice of a friend. Ever since, they are the
first books I turn to when exploring a new subject. They have been
basis of my computer education.

I also advise others to use them. For Christmas 2004, I got the
"Jewelry Making" edition for my teenage daughter. She's a very
artistic kid who wanted to try jewelry making, but knew absolutely
nothing about it (the 'for Dummies" title also helped with a
long-running inside joke between the two of us). By last summer, she
was selling her jewelry in her mom's store. She loved the book, and
looking at other projects to tackle using them.

Looking at her experience and mine, I believe these books work
they follow an established set of principles. They assume that you
intelligent, have common sense, can read and will follow
and that ypu're not stupid, you just don't know this particular
subject. While they have an informal and easygoing style, they aren't
chatty or childish.

BTW, they aren't just for beginners. Some of them have a lot of
things crammed in them that can be useful even for experienced folks.
I have been a beer and wine maker for over 20 years. About three
ago, I acquired the "Homebrewing" edition (a present from the
previously mentioned smartty-pants teenager). I was amazed at some of
the insider tricks it contained that I had never seen before. Several
of those tricks have helped me solve some problems I have had over

All in all, I think they are a great series of books. They accomplish
their stated goal. What else can we ask of any technical document?

Jason A. Czekalski

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