For Dummies is an extensive series of instructional / reference books which are intended to present non-intimidating guides for readers. The series has been a worldwide success with editions in numerous languages.

The books are an example of a media franchise , consistently sporting a distinctive cover-usually yellow and black with a triangular-headed cartoon figure known as “Dummies Man”, and an informal, blackboard-style logo. Prose is simple and direct; Bold icons, such as a piece of string tied around an index finger, are placed in the margin to particularly important passages.

Almost all Dummies are organized around sections called “parts”, which are groups of related chapters. Parts are always always preceded by a Rich Tennant . Sometimes the same Tennant drawing reappears in another Dummies book with a new caption.

Another item in the Dummies series is “The Part of Tens”, a section at the end of the books where 10 items are included. They are also used for the purpose of studying the problem.


In November 1991, the first title, DOS For Dummies , [1] was written by Dan Gookin and published by IDG Books. DOS For Dummies became popular due to the rarity of beginner-friendly materials for using DOS. The Windows title written by Andy Rathbone was soon released. While INITIALLY the series Focused Solely on software and technology topics, it later branched out to more general-interest titles, with topics as diverse as Acne For Dummies , Chess For Dummies , Fishing For Dummies And Many other topics, Including recent legal topics with Success As a Mediator for Dummies in 2012.

Landmark For Dummies books

Notable For Dummies books include:

  • DOS For Dummies , the first, published in 1991, whose first printing was just 7,500 copies [3]
  • Windows for Dummies , asserted to be the best-selling computer book of all time, with more than 15 million sold [3]
  • The History Of France For Dummies , the top-selling non-English For Dummies title, with over 400,000 sold [3]

Expansions and alternative versions

Several related series-have-been published, Including Dummies 101 , with step-by-step tutorials in a wide-size book (now discontinued); More … for Dummies , which are essentially sequels to the first … For Dummiesbook on the subject; For Dummies Quick Reference , which is a condensed alphabetical reference to the subject. A larger all-in-one Desk Reference Format offers more comprehensive coverage of the subject, normally running about 750 pages. Also, some books in the series are smaller and do not follow the same formatting as the others.

Wiley has also launched an interactive online course with Learnstreet based on its popular book, Java for Dummies , 5th edition. [4]

Roughly 400 Dummies titles are also available on the Perlego Ebook platform .

A spin-off board game, Crosswords for Dummies , was produced in the late 1990s. [5] The game is similar to Scrabble , but instead of letter tiles, players draw short strips of cardboard containing pre-built English words. The words vary in length from three to seven letters, with more points acquired for playing longer words. Another board game, SAT Game for Dummies , is used in SAT preparation. A Chess for Dummies was made, a black-and-yellow chessboard with a picture of a piece, along with a summary of how the moves, printed its starting positions, although there is a book with the same name.

In 2009, French publisher Anuman Interactive has obtained the digital exploitation rights and many applications based on the Dummies collection, such as Home Design 3D For Dummies and History For Dummies . [6]


With more than 200 million books in print and more than 2,700 titles, [7] For Dummies brings together a bevy of authors including Mark Layton , Dan Gookin and Andy Rathbone . [8] [9]

BitTorrent copyright infringement lawsuits

In October 2011, John Wiley and Sons sued 27 BitTorrent users in New York for making unauthorized uploads and downloads of books from the For Dummies series. The company Claimed That Their Losses to infringement Were “enormous” pointing out That Recorded more than 74,000 downloads since June 6, 2010 for the title single Photoshop CS5 All-in-One-For Dummies . [10] According to TorrentFreak , Wiley is thus “the first book publisher to take this kind of action.” [11]

See also

  • Complete Idiot’s Guides – a series of how-to books from Alpha Books
  • FabJob – a similar series of how-to-books
  • Teach Yourself – another similar series published by Hodder Headline


  1. Jump up^ The For Dummies Success Story
  2. Jump up^ John Wiley & Sons, Inc. to Complete Acquisition of Hungry Minds, Inc.Wiley, September 21, 2001
  3. ^ Jump up to:c “Ten (or So) Eye-Popping Statistics” . For Dummies.
  4. Jump up^ “Online Java for Dummies” . Retrieved 28 March 2017 .
  5. Jump up^ Parker, E. Timothy. “Tips for Solving Crossword Puzzles” . .
  6. Jump up^ “Software: Anuman Interactive attacks the American market” . 5 January 2004 . Retrieved 28 March 2017 .
  7. Jump up^ “For Dummies titles, page 109” .
  8. Jump up^
  9. Jump up^ “Wiley: For Dummies” . John Wiley & Sons . Retrieved August 29, 2014 .
  10. Jump up^ Milliot, Jim. Wiley Goes After Bit Torrent Pirates. Publishers Weekly. November 1, 2011.
  11. Jump up^ Major Book Publisher Files Mass-BitTorrent Lawsuit. Torrent Freak. October 31, 2011.

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