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Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons - One Woman's Quest to Trade Self-Help for Elf-Help

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  310 ratings  ·  51 reviews
With tongue-in-cheek humor, the creator of the award-winning Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress takes on the self-help section, proving that the benefits of the Dungeons & Dragons® game goes far beyond simple entertainment.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Wizards of the Coast (first published January 1st 2011)
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Funny book but kind of disappointing in how much actual D&D stuff is included in the book still the daughter mother dialogues are worth reading just for the sheer fun.
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfic, games
I'm not sure who the audience for this book is supposed to be, which is too bad, because conceptually the audience for a self-help book about Dungeons & Dragons includes definitely me.

This is not for people new to D&D, as it takes no steps to explain the game. References to tieflings, DCs, and initiative rolls are made with no context. The author also clearly plays 4th edition, so even I was put off by talk about strikers and whatever. I feel like an officially licensed book marketed to women th
Timothy McNeil
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
I am two minds about this book.

On one hand, I want Shelly Mazzanoble and everyone like her to get themselves out of 'my hobby' and most assuredly away from D&D. She presents herself as a shallow, insipid, mostly stupid [insert the proper term for the female version of a "man-child" here]. Worse, she doesn't seem to understand D&D beyond what her limited, seemingly work mandated experiences have brought to light. She does not do a good job of explaining D&D to those unfamiliar with it and she com
Mike (the Paladin)
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't know, maybe the book is a bit better than 2 stars. I don't hate it, but I was a bit bored by it.

Don't really go here for stories actually related to D&D....though to be fair I guess the title says it. It's a sort of memoir of how she came to know D&D as a player, other's reaction to it (and don't all of us [gamers] know about that) and the life lessons she learned. t might be said to be a practical application for lessons from D&D book.

I found myself quickly a bit bored and skimming. Th
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sometime during last spring (I want to say April/May time frame), I was able to read Shelly Mazzanoble's Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons. Anyone who knows me would be able to tell you that self-help books are not the sort of reading material that I would go out of my way to read. I am even less likely to read about someone else's experience using self-help books. This is not so much from an issue of self-assuredness, but more from a general distrust of any kind of bo ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book has been on my reading list for a while, and while I said that the first book of the year that I was going to read was going to be The Name of the Rose with my recovery I needed to start out with something not so intimidating. OMG where to start with this book, maybe a little background on me. I started playing D&D when I was in my late teens, I still play D&D, I love D&D. That is enough about me. On to the book.

I started reading this late a night, then in the morning I took it to the
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a funny and smart examination of what people can learn from roleplaying games. Shelly's style is personable and approachable. There might be people who say that the perspective is too girly, but it gives a real sense of some relatable experiences regardless of your gender. There's quite a bit that is universal about the experience of gaming. And it gives some examples of what gamers can learn through the different perspectives of play. This includes things like empathy, communication, ex ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I selected this book purely based upon the title, so I was not quite sure what I was getting into. The book is not really about D&D, so do not go into it expecting much about the game. It is, however, about how the author has used the game to help her make sense of parts of her life.

I enjoyed the book, though I won't say that it is the most groundbreaking read. I chuckled quite a bit, which is what I was hoping for, so it met my needs and expectations. I am a dabbler in D&D, so I recognize many
Jane Higginson
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book - I love that Shelly became a part of the dungeons and dragons official podcast - I love her sense of humour! I thought her experiment of looking at the d+d deities and the kinds of things they stood for and living her life that way for a week was a really interesting study with a variety of interesting results! I always love hearing/reading about conversations with her mum Judy they make me smile and laugh every time and I can feel shelly's frustration leaping off the p ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelly brings the everyday worldly problems of the average mortal into the realm of dungeons and dragons. In doing this she is able to successfully give light to these real world monsters by transforming them into d & d monsters that are able to be battled in a safe environment. Whether it be religion, adult relationships, or OCD all are able to be vanquished. If you are a cynic at heart, a d & d fan, or just enjoy laughing at how strange life seems to throw all its got at you. Then this is defi ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is..YAY! The ending alone made the book one of my personal favorites. Just a ton of happy came from this book. Which really helped as my copy came to me in the mail on the same day my hubby and I received some horrible news. Shelly really cheers me up. Seriously...I am usually carrying one of her books on me to show to other people.
Oct 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
First I have read of her - I didn't read Dragon cover to cover in the last few years, so I missed her column. Some interesting bits, but overall not that great. Only a few references to the subject of the title. I wouldn't at all be surprised if the chapters *were* columns - there's little connection or cohesiveness. ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book got a lot of sub par reviews, but I found it delightful! A fun, quick read about the author's everyday life that happened to involve D&D. Fluff, but sometimes that's exactly what the doctor ordered. ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book to review for GeekMom.com
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
I didn't come to this book with any expectations and so I was surprised at how funny it was! A heavy dose of sarcasm and cynicism, with some good geeky stuff thrown in. Lots of fun! ...more
Danielle Rourke
Jul 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly fun book! I love Shelly's writing style - she makes everything from Dwarven Runes to meal prepping while watching guilty pleasure tv seem relatable and fun! ...more
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I feel like I need some background before I can start this review. I've played tabletop classic roleplaying games like D&D for more than ten years now. I know, some have for way longer, this is not a comparison point, that is my own background. And I can see that the author has some too. So why didn't I really like this book, in which most of the advices are quite true, although maybe a bit on the light side, and are related to the game I know and love this much, because let's be honest here, on ...more
Ανδρέας Μιχαηλίδης
I have to confess I hate self-help books. I hate the whole self-help for $X.99 culture. I got this book on a whim, as will try anything once, when it comes to literature and seeing as it was written by a Dragon Magazine columnist, well...

It's not a terrible book. I guess some people would find it very entertaining, as it illustrates this parallel journey between gaming and the vicissitudes of life, especially from the perspective of a non-millennial woman (don't bite my head off - millennials ha
Sep 29, 2021 rated it liked it
This book takes off a like a rocket, weaving D&D and self-help in ways that had me laughing out loud. Who would've thought these two things would go together so well? The author's wit and funny asides made it feel like a good sitcom. It was like Rachel from Friends playing D&D.

Alas, it doesn't keep up the pace. As the book goes along, there's less D&D and more sitcom, or even rom-com, and my interest started to fade. Recommended for D&D players who are looking for a different take on their favor
Aug 20, 2022 rated it it was ok
Not what I had hoped as there is very little D&D in the book. The book doesn't do D&D or its players any good, actually. Other than Chapter 4, D&D receives the same condescending. isn't-this-over-the-top-whacky tone as her mother does.
For a self-help book this isn't very helpful or insightful. In fact, I think the "self-help" in the title is satire. Were we supposed to see this as a real self-help book?

Side-note: Mrs. Fox and the Tattle Tail? Repugnant. And yes, someone putting boogers in your c
Jun 16, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a painful read. I thought it would be more like her previous book, Confessions, and was sorely disappointed.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Jordan Alexandra
May 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Despite branding itself as a D&D self-help book this book somehow only manages to be a lame, completely unrelatable self-help book that only tangentially relates to D&D.
May 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: d-d
Mazzanoble can be a funny and entertaining author. I like the premise of the book and agree that many RPG skills can be applied in real life with a little imagination.

Many of her example stories were great bits and her storytelling style is something I can relate to (and would wish to emulate). That sense of incredulous, somewhat dry humor, that is by turns self-deprecating and also boastful is one I can get down with.

There were some things that stopped me from rating this any higher than middle
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I purposely waited a few days to write my review for this book, because frankly, I was hoping my disgust would lessen.

It hasn't.

If you, or any woman you know, for that matter, has an interest in gaming of any kind, please just pretend that this book does not exist. It is nothing but a couple hundred pages of apologetic, vain, gamer girl nonsense. Don't get me wrong, the struggles the author faces with her family and relationships are very real, but trying to align them with different D&D mecha
David Brawley
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, 2012
The perfect book for any gamer! Well, maybe, maybe not. Shelly’s brand of D+D is probably not what gamers are used to at their tables. She is very much the feminine type that embraces her love of shopping, shoes, and trashy tv, but also Dungeons and Dragons. It is that love of the game, and her mother’s apparently endless effort to improve her daughter’s life via self help books that inspired this book.

Everyone has issues. How we deal with those issues is often a very personal journey. Being abl
Marco Vadalà
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anthony Meleah
Nov 15, 2011 rated it liked it
The novel details how Shelly Mazzanoble deals with a number different problems in her life usually through the help of some insight gleaned from roleplaying. The stories are generally light-hearted and funny, but by the end of the book I found myself wanting something more. I really enjoyed how Shelly played with the structure and formatting of the different essays like the last section where the story was written like a dungeons and dragons campaign. Seeing these type of formatting decisions wo ...more
BG Josh
Feb 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I feel the need to make a point very clear. Many people have compared Shelly to writers from Cosmo. I invite you to compare the two side by side. Shelly makes those writers look like Proust (mazzanoble fans: you see, that's funny because Proust is a really good writer. You're welcome, that will save you from having to google him.)

Also, it is unfair to level all the blame on Shelly. She has an editor and, one must imagine, friends. They deserve some of the scorn.

I could give a blow by blow of the
Derek Pennycuff
May 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Mazzanoble is a talented writer but I'm just not the target audience for this book. I'm all in favor of expanding the tabletop role playing community and breaking out of stereotypes of what a D&D player should look and behave like. And I don't wanna even imply accusations of "fake gamer girl"-ism. Newcomers to the hobby are just as legit in my mind as those who have been rolling dice since the days of the old school Red Box. But I can't bring myself to rate any book with this many references to ...more
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About a million years ago, Shelly Mazzanoble had a short story published in a literary magazine called Whetstone. They paid her $50 which she used to purchase a keg and threw a great big party.

Motivated by her strong desire to curate menus for cocktail parties and her friends’ penchant for drinking free beer, Shelly has gone on to publish short stories and essays in Carve, The Seattle Times, Scary

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