Friday, August 19, 2011

Top Six Failed For Dummies Books

The For Dummies book series (see disclosure at the end) has been around now for two decades. In that time, they've published gazillions of books that have helped people do everything from creating a home network to playing the clarinet to building a chicken coop (seriously!).

But not every swing can be a home run. For Dummies has seen its share of flops. Here are the six biggest publishing failures of the well-known For Dummies series:


The CIA For Dummies

After painstakingly researching the history and current goings-on of the United States' leading covert agency, the author of this book sent his completed manuscript to an agent in Langley for a technical edit and some fact-checking. The manuscript that was returned was heavily redacted and was accompanied by a photograph of the author asleep in his bedroom the night before.

It was never published.


Learn to Read For Dummies

Somehow, the publishers had a difficult time connecting with their intended audience for this book.


Pyromania For Dummies

The first print run of 10,000 copies of this book was completely lost in a warehouse fire in Ames, Iowa. The publishers ordered a second printing of 5,000 copies, but just before the presses began running, the printer's business was razed in a mysterious explosion.

The causes of the explosion — as well as the possibility of ordering another print run of Pyromania For Dummies — are still under investigation.


Time Travel For Dummies

After an initial legal battle with H.G. Wells is ironed out, Time Travel For Dummies will have received both popular and critical success when it was published in 2035. Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking is quoted as will having said, "It's so good, I'm going to read it again last week!"

Unfortunately, recent research has proven that time travel is impossible, so this book will no longer have been published in our timeline.
NASA StarChild image of Stephen Hawking.Image via Wikipedia
"It's so good, I'm going to read it again last week!"
Stephen Hawking, sometime in the future, 1996


Dial-Up Modems For Dummies

The first draft of this book has been uploading to the publisher's servers since 2002.


Procrastination For Dummies

Originally launched in 2001, the publication date for this book has been pushed back fourteen times. The book was recently handed off to its fifth editor.

Disclosure and disclaimer: For Dummies is a trademark of Wiley Publishing, who is not responsible for this blog. However, I am affiliated with Wiley Publishing. I work for Wiley, and specifically for
   The titles above were never actually published (though I wouldn't be surprised to see The CIA For Dummies actually hit the shelves sometime in the future). The faux titles above are intended as parody only. I am solely responsible for the content of this blog.
   Please don't sue me.

If you like the CIA For Dummies "novelty edition" book cover above, you can make your own by using the official For Dummies cover generator.
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