What an unfortunately named book!
I have been looking for a very long time for a book for people very new to Buddhism who want to know basic information and all the many flavors of Buddhist schools, their beliefs and practices. Most of the books I encountered until now were tilted to one particular school or view, too simple, new agey or dry, or otherwise not up to par.
Despite the silly title, this is a very smart, well written, comprehensive and detailed yet easy (and fun) to read, humorous and serious guide, covers most of the major bases and in quite some detail, gives fair treatment to the many flavors of Buddhism, is very down to earth about the more magical aspects of Buddhism (it tries to present a more psychological than literal take on Karma and Rebirth, for example) .... and it covers everything and the kitchen sink. I learned a thing or two. I just wish they would change the title!
Buddhism For Dummies
by Jonathan Landaw, Stephan Bodian
Thank you to Hans for first pointing this book out to me. I am going to add it to our recommended book list.
If I have one criticism, I wish they had done a better job in explaining the different approaches of Zen, such a Koan Introspection Zazen and Shikantaza, which they sometimes explain but sometimes lump and mash all together.
Although folks who have more experience with Buddhism may also find the book interesting in many parts, I primarily recommend it for newcomers who don't know Thai from Tendai from Tibetan.