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A Convention For Dummies: Experts on Everything

By Newsweek Magazine – 11/06/2006 – 12:00am

The Dummies are coming to San Francisco! Alan L. Rubin, who organized the conference, wants to share his pride: as author of “Diabetes for Dummies,” he knows how hard it is for Dummies to get respect.

The authors gathering this weekend are ready to swap knowledge on subjects as disparate as Chinese, algebra and estate planning. Four San Francisco bookstores will be holding panel discussions, Q&A sessions and book signings with groups of “Dummies” authors.

The variety of “Dummies” subjects makes for some un-usual panel pairings. The author of “Acne for Dummies” is joining authors of “Sushi for Dummies,” “Living With Hepatitis C for Dummies” and “Lowfat Cooking for Dummies” on one Book Passage panel. Others pair experts on Windows XP and Napoleon, smart homes and calculus. (There weren’t enough of the same kinds of books, so the organizers decided to embrace the randomness.)

The author of “Dreamweaver for Dummies” created a Web site (; the writer of “Branding for Dummies” agreed to publicize the event. Organizer Rubin says the odd mixture of experts in one location is what appeals to him. “I have a great interest in home theater and astronomy, and I get a chance to meet these people,” he says. “Something very interesting can happen when you get these very bright people together.” He’s no dummy.

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