Photo of the Computer Science section at Barnes and Noble

Shared by John Cook in the Boing Boing G+ Community. Facebook for Dummies might actually be useful, because Facebook confuses me.


  1. At first I was amazed that Facebook For Dummies is that thick, but then I realized that 75% of the book is how to retain ownership of your photos and keep information that you want to remain private that way. Basically they’ve found a lengthy and complicated way to say, “If you’re that concerned about privacy don’t create a Facebook account.”

    An additional 20% of the book is how to ignore and block your annoying ex who keeps bugging you to play Bubble Safari.

    The remaining 5% covers the basics of getting started, adding friends, sharing pictures, and how to cheat at Fish Wrangler.

  2. They need to put these into a more accurate category than computer science. Maybe something like “Internet Applications”? These titles are about as pertinent to computer science as Mario Kart is to automotive engineering.

      1. I know, right?  Now here’s the question: David Mitchell vs. John Cleese, both in their prime, in a rant-off.  Who wins?

        1. I think elix has hit on the crux of it. Cleese would win on volume and ability to extemporize absurdities. Basically, once he gets going, he has a decent chance of continuing until Mitchell gives up. But Mitchell has a puncher’s chance because if Cleese says something that sets him off he’ll sort of slide into a tiny gap and systematically dismantle the elaborate structure of farce Cleese has built. Mitchell just doesn’t sustain like Cleese could in his prime.

          1. Easy reader companion guide for Bottle Imp’s comment: Cleese will win, unless he activates Mitchell’s trap card, and the angry logic counterattack begins then.

  3. It’s the “New in Computing” shelf. Probably all of these were updated and placed on the shelf, and the Dummy publishers paid a little extra to be there. 

    It does describe what most people do with their PCs in general, sadly. But computing books are a loss proposition for brick & mortars. I don’t blame them for pairing down what they do carry. But I do miss the glory days, when a majority of a sidewall and an entire backwall would be dedicated to books on programs, PC How-To Bibles, etc. It was one way I’d find out about great programs and decide to buy based on the How-To book.

  4. Does anybody else feel the need to photoshop up the cover for “Applications of Asymptotic Analysis to Computational Complexity Theory For Dummies” and stick it to one of the books in this section, just to see if anybody notices?

    1. I’d buy it

      /wife got me “On Formally Undecidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems” for my b’day one year.

      1. I wasn’t sure whether or not that was an awesome birthday present or not, so I added an axiom that says it was.

  5. Facebook for Dummies makes sense considering the amount of people that post nonsense worrying and complaining about everyone being able to see their posts when they have their status updates set to “public”.

  6. Good lord, there is no shortage of baby boomers with no computer or Googling skills, a love of printed books, and far too much money on their hands.

    1. Kiddo has a definite “My mother is on the cover of ‘Mom Blogging for Dummies’, and she’s smiling. No, but… wait… my genes… I’m doomed.” expression going on there.

      1. basically you tell the entire world the composition of you child’s poop and that you need more wine (unless you’re mormon then you talk about how #blessed you are for having 8 kids).

  7. I’d personally like to see a Boing Boing For Dummies.  You know, so all of us pseudo-pseudo-intellectuals can keep up with you pseudo-intellectuals.

    1. I would include things like rushing to post the first “Christ what an asshole” comment on any post of someone doing bad, and then how to spend all the up votes you get.

  8. What I noticed right away is that all the shelves in the background of the shot also have a lot of those yellow “for dummies” covers on them, including the Investing, Personal Finance, Real Estate and Entrepreneurship shelves. When I go to my local B&N (a rarity these days) I don’t see as many for dummies books on the shelves. Maybe the photographer just lives in a particularly dumb area.

  9. I’d like folks to remember that B&N is a business. Not a bastion of knowledge and culture. It’s easy to confuse that a bookseller with a history of carrying just about any type of book around now only carries what HAS SOLD in the past x number of months. (I work at a B&N and really have seen the company change a lot since the IPO in the late 90s.

    Booksellers are frequently seen as some sort of pop culture “wonderful space” where all folks of all kinds can buy all books of all kinds. Yes, in an “ideal” world they might be. Now competition from everywhere else (including your grocery store) has turned them into businesses as fierce as hungry predators

  10. I can’t speak to “x for Dummies”, but “The idiot’s guide to solos and improvisation” and “The idiot’s guide to music theory” are tops on my shelf.  They are thorough, break ideas down into small digestible pieces, and make no assumptions about what you bring to the table. ‘Normal’ theory books leave me behind in all the things they assume I already know…..

  11. Joke all you want about the Dummy Books, but their DOS book in the early 90s saved my ass more than I care to admit. (God, how I hated DOS.)

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