Book Review: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons

The masters have said I need to contribute more to the Podcast if I ever truly want to have fans like they do. Also they said I should learn how to be a better person, and Joe thinking he is so clever gave me Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons: One Woman’s Quest to Trade Self-Help for Elf-Help by Shelly Mazzanoble.

As the title would suggest it is a self help book written as a reflection on Shelly’s life experience living, breathing and working D&D. She started working for Wizards of the Coast, the owners of D&D, and then found not only that she likes to play D&D but that it can shape her life for the better, chronicled in her first book Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the D&D Game). After this discovery it did not take long for her to realize that many other people might also benefit from a little D&D in their lives.

Broadly speaking the book is a self help book, but it is told in a very autobiographical form as the author proceeds to tell you of a life challenge that she faced and then how she solved it using D&D or from lessons learned from D&D. I would estimate the book would relate best to women age 20+ but personally I would recommend the book to anyone interested in D&D, role-playing, or how to have fun and make your life better for it. She is very informal in her personal stories and consistently breaks the 4th wall, as in talking directly to the reader of the book. Sometimes it does seem that her writing rambles along or goes too long to make a point. I did find myself lost a couple of times in the middle of a three sentence paragraph because the topic had shifted drastically and I was lost. However, it does add to the charm of the book and makes it seem that you are drinking with a friend and they are telling you some very choice life stories. True to all things role playing there is no table of contents, bibliography, or index and at least a bibliography or a book/persons of interest section would have been really appreciated.

The book is interesting to me because I have met very few other couples who game together, or at all. I would also say this is the first time I heard a story of people in the same game later dating and not ruining the game, group, or their friendship.  Part of that makes me realize how unique my own life situation is at times being married to a woman I game with every week. Shelly also really reinforced the idea that having a good time playing a game, any game, can really bridge any gap between people and that it can be a great way to pass the time in any situation. I found the last two chapters of this book very poignant because it deals with her experience of living with a significant other for the first time and their discussions on children, and both have also been recent experiences in my own life.

Shelly created a self help book providing example of her own life and how D&D helped her either solve problems or enrich her experience. I would recommend this book to anyone who has heard of or played D&D (Role playing games) or who has never heard of it and would like know more about it and the people who play.

So now I shall sit back and wait for you, all of my adoring fans, to leave me comments on how brilliant of a writer I am and shower me with gifts!


PS. The great benevolent masters Wizard of the Cost said I should link them and not Amazon… so you can find Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons and Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress on their most magnificent website.


About thehousedragon

i like beer and in exchange for publishing a podcast these two demigods give me beer.
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2 Responses to Book Review: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons

  1. joewolz says:

    This would be a perfect thing to discuss on our forums.

  2. Pingback: Where Did All This News Come From? | Shelly Mazzanoble / Writer

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