[[quoteright:319:[[TVTropesWillRuinYourLife http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dummies_8292.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:319:[[http://www.signgenerator.org/books/dummies/ They really do have a book for everything, don't they?]] [[note]][[ComicallyMissingThePoint That book's a few years out of date.]][[/note]]]]

->'''[[BigBadWannabe Harmony]]:''' I'm not gonna make the same mistakes you did. I've been doing my homework, reading books and stuff.
->'''Spike:''' What, ''Evil for Dummies?''
-->-- ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', "Real Me"

The ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_Dummies For Dummies]]'' series of books is a popular way of learning just about anything, [[JustForFun/TheUniversalGenreSavvyGuide from C++ programming to Divorce Law to African-American History]], achieved by simple explanations. They also provide a very useful quick reference for those already familiar with the subject.

As a result of their popularity, these books are often parodied, and fictional entries to the series are often conjured into existence. This is often done to show that a character knows next to nothing about a subject but is now trying to find out. They will occasionally be ludicrously specific to the task the character is attempting at the time.

Works created before the "For Dummies" series was started will use titles like "How to Do Tropes in N Easy Steps" or "You, Too, Can Trope!" or "Hey, You're not a Genius. Who Cares? Read This and You Won't Suck at X" or "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Tropes But Were Afraid to Ask." Often, titles may also parody the "Complete Idiot's Guide to _______" series as well.

SisterTrope to CorrespondenceCourse and SpecificSituationBooks. Also compare {{Snowclone}} and TheJoyOfX, which lead to similar titling conventions. If it's bad enough that only a dummy would fail to realize that how useless it is, it's a FauxToGuide.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW'' #26 has Pinkie Pie reading a book entitled ''Ventriloquism for [[SuperSpeedReading Speed Readers]]''.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Foxtrot}}''
** Roger tries to buy an actual ''For Dummies'' book, but can't bring himself to pronounce the name and admit himself a "dummy", instead asking for a book for "college-educated professionals who majored in the humanities before computers existed."
** In another strip, Jason comments while browsing the "For Dummies" section of the library:
--->'''Jason:''' [[ChildProdigy I'm starting to feel really left out of this culture.]]
* In ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', when the company produces a product that doesn't work and its instruction manual is complete fiction. The Pointy-Headed Boss's reply: "Ship it and hope someone publishes a 'For Dummies' guide."
* ''ComicStrip/WhatsNewWithPhilAndDixie'' has ''[[http://www.airshipentertainment.com/growfcomic.php?date=20090315 Gothic Romance for Dummies.]]''

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''The Trouble with Timelines'' LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya goes searching for a missing [[MacGuffin jigsaw puzzle]] using techniques taken from ''Dowsing for Dummies''.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4740990/3/The-Master-s-Gambit The Master's Gambit]]'' a recently-freed Dobby steals Lucius Malfoy's library and one of the few books left behind is ''Spell-Creation for Dummies''.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2876785/6/It-Only-Takes-A-Drop-of-Blood It Only Takes a Drop of Blood]]'' Harry searches the Black library for books on transportation and comes across one called ''Magical Transportation for Trolls''.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3127854/4/Harry-Potter-and-the-Pack-of-Shadows Harry Potter and the Pack of Shadows]]'' Hermione sends Harry ''Occlumency for Dummies'' as a birthday gift.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9578599/5/Whence-Magic Whence Magic]]'' Draco Malfoy leaves Harry a dark book disguised as ''Simple Spells for the Spectacularly Stupid''.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8286766/1/Coach-Granger Coach Granger]]'' Harry gives Draco Malfoy ''Snappy Put-Downs for Dummies''.
* In ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9104885/9/It-s-OK-Not-To-Be-OK-But-I-Promise-I-m-Trying It's OK Not to Be OK (But I Promise I'm Trying)]]'' [=McGonagall=] picks out some instructional guides on Potions for Harry, one of which is ''Potion Making for Dummies''.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4945904/9/Living-My-Life-Harry-s-Beginning Living My Life: Harry's Beginning]]'' Harry comes across ''Bondings and Rituals for Dummies''.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8912494/15/The-Son-of-Prongs-and-the-Snitch-and-Stone The Son of Prongs and the Snitch and Stone]]'' Harry receives ''Dueling for Dummies'' for Christmas.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/3426676/5/Rising-Phoenix Rising Phoenix]]'' Scrimgeour throws Harry in jail and Hermione has Harry's phoenix bring him ''Beginning and Intermediate Sex for Witch and Wizard Dummies'' to keep him busy.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9946888/5/Black-and-White Black and White]]'' Hermione reads a copy of ''Broom Flying for Nimrods'' before their first flying lesson.
* In ''[[http://www.potionsandsnitches.org/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=3180&textsize=0&chapter=2 Sealed with Lies]]'' a newly-turned Harry wonders if there's a book like ''Becoming a Vampire for Dummies''.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12048619/8/The-Ilvermorny-Champion The Ilvermorny Champion]]'' Lily asks Ted to translate the Triwizard Tournament rulebook into non-jargon and he comments that she must be looking for the equivalent of ''Triwizard Tournaments for Dummies''.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12089693/2/The-Last-Straw The Last Straw]]'' Harry buys a copy of ''Sex for Dummies''.
* [[TheGadfly Doctor Strange]] gives Harry a copy of ''Everything You Wanted To Know About Vampires But Were Too Afraid To Ask'' and ''Blood Magic For Morons'' in ''FanFic/ChildOfTheStorm,'' the latter [[StealthInsult right after Harry did something particularly stupid.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Kirk, from ''WesternAnimation/{{Hoodwinked}}'', doesn't even know which part of an ax goes toward the wood. Fortunately, he finds a copy of ''Chopping for [[SelfDeprecation Actors]]''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MickeyDonaldGoofyTheThreeMusketeers'' has Goofy reading a ''Complete Idiot's Guide''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}} [[ChristmasSpecial the Halls]]'' with ''Christmas for Village Idiots''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Planes}}'': Chug briefly reads ''Air Racing for Dummies'' at the beginning.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/EvanAlmighty'': God presents Evan with ''[[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1961597184/tt0413099 Ark Building for Dummies.]]''
* ''Film/TheWaterboy'' used the rival learning series ''Complete Idiot's Guide'' with ''The Complete Idiot's Guide to Football'' being read by the incompetent football coach, who is then mocked when the rival competent coach is seen reading the exact same book and laughing.
* ''Film/BrideOfChucky'' has Tiffany resurrecting Chucky from the dead through knowledge from a ''Voodoo for Dummies'' book.
* ''Film/TheMasterOfDisguise'' features ''[[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MasterofDisguiseforDummies_4995.jpg The Master of Disguise for dummies.]]''
* ''Film/LooneyTunesBackInAction'' has Bugs Bunny fighting Marvin the Martian with lightsabers while Bugs reads ''The Force for Dummies''.
* ''Film/InspectorGadget 2'' had ''Quantum Physics for Dimwits''.
* An UrExample could be the 1968 British comedy film ''The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom''. The main character's lover -- who lives secretly in her attic -- uses a series of dubious Do-It-Yourself manuals to build all sorts of items there, including a room-size mainframe computer.

* One full book-length parody of both series is called ''Compleet Idoit's Guide for Dumies'' -- misspellings theirs, and presumably intentional.
* Series/{{Discworld}}:
** In ''Discworld/{{Wintersmith}}'', one village of anti-witchcraft fanatics get their information from the ''Magavenatio Obtusis'', which [[FootnoteFever a footnote]] helpfully translates as ''Witch-Hunting for Dumb People''.
** ''Discworld/SoulMusic'' has ''Blert Wheedown's Guitar Primer: Play Your Way to Success in Three Easy Lessons and Eighteen Hard Lessons''.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Eric of ''Series/BoyMeetsWorld'' defeats the witches who want to sacrifice the Hunters with the help of ''Witchcraft for Dumb-dumbs''.
* In ''Series/CoryInTheHouse'', Cory procures a copy of ''Horses for Numb-Nuts'' (but with the stylized cover identical to the Dummies series).
* J.D. in ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' reads ''The Iraq War for Dummies''.
-->'''J.D.:''' [[TakeThat I just reached "mission accomplished", but there's still like 400 pages left!]]
* In ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' season 6 episode "The Courtship of Wyatt's Father". Elder Gideon presents a page in a book titled ''Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Portals But Were Afraid to Ask''.
* The Investigation Discovery channel has a commercial for their week of specials about {{Black Widow}}s that has a woman at the register with normal Thanksgiving stuff, but the last thing the cashier scans is a book called ''Killing Your Husband for Dummies''.

* Budgie's "Crash Course in Brain Surgery" (later CoveredUp by Music/{{Metallica}}).

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* In ''Film/ItsAVeryMerryMuppetChristmasMovie'', Daniel is given the book ''Performing Miracles for Dummies''.
* Upon her arrival in Munchkinland in ''Film/TheMuppetsWizardOfOz'', the Munchkins quiz her on exactly what they are using the book ''Oz for Dummies''.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' worlds bless dummies with more literature:
** ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' has something close -- {{canon}}ically, [[FictionalDocument Volo's Guides]] are an awful mix of brilliant investigations and silly hearsay. The most infamous was "Volo's Guide to All Things Magical", the "second edition" of which claimed that v 1.0 contained a lot of [[Literature/AnarchistCookbook recipes how to kill oneself in a funny way]] -- and so much of sensitive information that Volo hesitated to introduce himself in a hearing range of other wizards ever after, and Elminster had to personally hunt down and destroy every last copy.
** Cover art of ''d20 Modern Arcana SRD''[[note]]visible in full resolution if [[http://enworld.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=18135 downloaded]] (it's free)[[/note]] from Infinite Dreamers has a horned greenish lad reading ''[[spoiler:13 Easy Steps to Overthrow Your Demonic Master]]'', with a readable annotation traditional for this sort of literature on its back cover.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Bio-Tech'' includes several quotes from ''Nanovirus for Dummies'' by possible MadScientist Dr Lucien Locke. One excerpt has Dr Locke assuring the reader that a GreyGoo scenario can't possibly happen unless you intend it to. And if you ''do'' intend it to, here's what you do...

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The [[BribingYourWayToVictory somewhat free]] MMO ''VideoGame/{{Roblox}}'' once had a hat for sale with the title ''Quantum Thermodynamics for Dummies''. It was, indeed, a "For Dummies"-style book that could be worn as a hat (just a mesh, though, so you couldn't read it or anything...).
* ''VideoGame/TheBindingOfIsaac'' features the "Telepathy For Dummies" power-up, granting homing tears for a single room upon use.
* ''Unraveling God'' has a bookshelf which, along with a couple more serious-sounding books, sports a copy of ''Cellular Molecular Biology for Dummies, Volume 1''.
* A bookshelf in a private home in ''VideoGame/DinkSmallwood'' mod ''Terrania'' has a copy of ''Etiquette for Dummies''.
* The introduction to ''Magic Life'' shows a student making a potion while reading ''Alchemy for Dummies''.
* In ''Cartographer'' one of the books on Reuben's desk at the inn he runs is ''Managing Inns for Dummies: Version 3.2''.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''
** ''Data Structures for Assholes'', which parodies many of the elements associated with programming manuals that bill themselves as accessible to the novice: [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=002291 lengthy explanations of simple topics, clip art, diagrams...]]
** Rose also mentions getting ''Knitting for Assholes'' after getting her yarn and knitting needles from John as a birthday gift.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Vaarsuvius is looking for a way to regain spellcasting power without sleeping, due to a recurring nightmare. The rules of this ''D&D''-based universe says a spellcaster needs to ''rest'' rather than ''sleep'' to regain spells, so Vaarsuvius needs something not mentally taxing that would still help his/her ongoing research into finding Haley. ''[[TakeThat Finding Plot Holes]] [[FanDumb for Dummies]]'' does the trick.
** Also, Xykon's line from ''Recap/StartOfDarkness'': "This magic is in my bones, not cribbed off of ''Magic for Dummies''."
* ''WebComic/EightBitTheater'' has ''[[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2009/02/26/episode-1099-more-like-borrissey/ Necromantic Arts for Dummies.]]''
* ''Webcomic/{{Slackerz}}'': One of the characters attempts to program his own game called Matt's Kickass Game for Winners (a reference to VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople.) However, he knows absolutely nothing about programming. So he consults a regular programming book, a For Dummies book, and a book called [[Series/SesameStreet Grover's Magical C++ Garden]]. (He even denounces that as too difficult.)
* ''Webcomic/UserFriendly'' -- ''[[http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=19980726 Evil Geniuses for Dummies.]]'' ''Evil Geniuses in a Nutshell'' later became the title of the second print collection.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' presents: ''[[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20030519 Advanced Mechanics for the Mad.]]''
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'' once had Grace reading ''[[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2003-12-05 Untying Knots for Squirrels]]'' as a gag in a storyline cover.
* ''Webcomic/YetAnotherFantasyGamerComic'' has ''[[http://yafgc.net/comic/0248-nuts-to-that-solution/ Dimension Doors for Dummies.]]''
* ''[[http://www.yip.org/dosmoron.html DOS For Complete and Utter Morons, Like You, Fuckhead]]''
* ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}''
** ''War for Dummies'' is in its [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2004-05-06 bestseller list]].
** Lil' E uses ''[[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2008-08-18 Black Magic for Dummies]]'' to summon a savage demon {{hellhound}} (for dummies).
** Later he reads ''"[[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2012-06-05 World Domination Manual.]]''
* ''Webcomic/{{Bug|Martini}}'' has ''[[http://www.bugcomic.com/comics/read-between-the-whines/ The Complete Idiot's Guide to Musical Belching.]]''
* In ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'' when Ralph started programming he tried ''For Dummies'', ''The Complete Idiot's Guide'', and finally ''For Ralph Dewclaw''. Surprisingly he proved rather competent.
* ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}''' in-world books series is ''[[TheWikiRule Wiki]]'s _____ for Beginners'', for example ''[[http://asherhyder.deviantart.com/art/Roommates-309-Astronomy-362859230 Wiki's Astronomy for Beginners.]]'
* ''Webcomic/BrunoTheBandit'' has ''[[http://www.brunothebandit.com/d/19991029.html Sorcery for Fatheads.]]''

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''The Emperor's New Clones'', the second ''Franchise/StarWars'' parody from Creator/BackyardProductions, features Vader reading ''The Dark Side for Dummies'', and Han Solo's father checking ''The Star Wars Guide to Techno-Babble''.
* One of the naughty-scene-re-enactors in WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's review of ''Film/{{Showgirls}}'' is reading ''Opera for Dummies'' throughout the whole thing.
* Fredrik K.T.Andersson, the author of ''Webcomic/{{Pawn}}'', in his equally NSFW gallery on Elfwood [[http://www.elfwood.com/u/andersson2/image/4ead9c30-26ee-11e4-b4db-0dd96224e40a/censoring-for-dummies presents]]: ''[[MoralGuardians Censoring]] for Dummies''.
* In ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights'', Ma-Ti showed up with a book to help 8-Bit Mickey's problem. It's ''Goatf*cking for Dummies''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'', Frylock lends "Mummies for Dummies" from the library to learn how to escape a mummy's curse.
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'': "Berry Scary" has a whole bookstore shelf full of "...for Blockheads" books, including the one Bloo and Mac are looking for, "World Records for Blockheads".
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** ''Literature/MobyDick for Dummies''. FridgeBrilliance: For Dummies and Cliffs Notes have the same publisher.
--->'''Bart:''' "Call me Ishmael, Dummy!"
** One episode has Homer going to a book fair, with an entire ''library'' of Books for Dummies where he is quite at home.
** When the Simpsons go to Brazil, Bart learns Spanish on the flight there, which is ''Español para Dummies'' with Bumblebee Man as the instructor. Marge is quick to point out that Brazilians speak Portuguese, causing Bart to fly off in an angry rant in Spanish.
* ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' with ''The Complete Moron's Guide to Picking Up Space Chicks''.
* ''Astrophysics for Morons'' from the "Shelf Life" episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents''
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'', in episode "Rodeo Daze", has a book titled ''How to Open Things''. [=SpongeBob=] can't open Sandy's door, but Patrick brings out the book. It conveniently has a whole page about Sandy's door. Also, [=SpongeBob=] claims to have seen TheFilmOfTheBook of ''How to Open Things''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "Look Before You Sleep", Twilight Sparkle hosts a slumber party, but has no idea how, so she relies on a book titled ''Slumber 101: [[Creator/WoodyAllen All You've Ever Wanted to Know About Slumber Parties]] ([[GettingCrapPastTheRadar But Were Afraid to Ask]])''.
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'': When Valerie takes interest in hunting ghosts, she checks out a library book titled ''Ghost Killing for Dimwits''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'': One episode had a scene where kids are checking out books from a bookmobile, a dopey looking boy with a hillbilly accent asks the librarian for ''The Dunderheads Guide to Idiocy''.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* ISIS recruits are often so ignorant about Islam that they have (or are ordered) to buy [[http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-documents-leak-recruits-islam-sharia-religion-faith-syria-iraq-a7193086.html Islam for Dummies.]]