Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bookstore update: Evolution for Dummies

The customer approached me on the sales floor. "I can't find Evolution for Dummies," she explained. "You must have it, right?"
We chatted as I checked the computer inventory. "What are you using it for?" I asked.
"Actually, I'm kind of insulted," she answered. "I'm a grad student in education, and we're a classful of science teachers who have all been teaching this stuff for years. But the prof thinks we need this in addition to our other reading."
"Well, the Dummies books are generally thorough groundings in whatever," I said, thinking positively.
"I know! I'm using the one for bridge*, and it's terrific, but we were all science majors, and besides, we're also reading Origin," she replied.
She'd really caught my attention now. "What else are you reading? Any Ernst Mayr?"
"Yes," and she named a couple other writers vital to any sound discussion of evolution today. It sounded like a heavier reading load than you might expect, and the customer agreed that the prof has a good reputation and people come out of his classes well prepared.

She was right! We didn't have the book on our shelves, but I found it for her at the Bookstore C branch in White Plains. I reflected that the customer's true objection to buying the book was being told that she needed a Dummies as a text.

Dummies books are scattered through the store, shelved with others of their subject matter. I resolved not to hesitate about using them for my own classes should the need arise. There's a Bible for Dummies and a New Testament for Dummies. Probably not a UU Church Polity for Dummies, though.

*Full disclosure: from where I sit right now, I can reach out to Dummies books on Digital Photography, Photoshop 7, Excel 2003, Word, eBay, and starting an eBay business.

1 comment:

Christine Lehner said...

FYI: Beekeeping for Dummies is also a really good book. We still use it as a handy reference, and we often recommend it to beginner beekeepers - whose initial reaction is often similar to your customer's, or even more pronounced.