The email I received at the office told me that there was now a fifth edition to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles,” which was coincidental.

Only recently, a friend had told me I had to be a complete idiot to want to buy a motorcycle at my age.

I was being taunted or encouraged. At my age, it’s tough to know which.

It doesn’t matter. The motorcycle of my daydreams is irrelevant to our topic. This particular Complete Idiot’s Guide was the first on a rather lengthy list of new Complete Idiot’s Guides that Alpha Books recently published. So, now we are able to continue our quest to understand life solely based on the subjects of self-help books that don’t count on you being very bright.

Other than reading what insight people offer on their T-shirts, where else could some of us search?


“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Discovering Your Past Lives” is a convenient example. If we can’t figure out our present lives before we’re done here today, maybe we all can take a stab at understanding one of our former selves.

We can talk, as well, about “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Creating a Social Network.” If you’re not having success with relationships in your real life, maybe you can give a social life a shot online.

And, even if you can’t figure out what’s right and wrong for your personal life, you can read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Positive Dog Training” and keep your best friend in line. I haven’t read that one yet, but I’m guessing that somewhere in the first chapter it tells you to lay in a load of treats. Snacks work on most people, too, by the way.


Before you embark on your own investigation of The Idiot’s Guide to the meaning of life — that could be a book under either the “Body, Mind, Spirit” or the “Trivia” categories — let me offer you a bit of advice.

If you’re looking for an understanding of business, start with “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Economics” instead of jumping right into “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to MBA Basics.” Remember, we’re idiots.

When you read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Marathon Training,” don’t follow it up with “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Barefoot Running.” You’ll likely find that life is full of blisters.

And, don’t pair up “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading” with “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raising Goats.” Your neighbors — and they’re closer in the city — may not share your curiosity with the life of a complete idiot.

One last thing. I’m pretty sure that the answers to all of life’s questions can be found in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to HTML5 and CSS3.” If not, check out “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals.” One or the other ought to help.

Gary Brown is a features columnist for The Canton (Ohio) Repository.