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Everything I need to know I learned from Dungeons & Dragons

“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.”

During PAX Prime 2011 NERD TREK met with Wizards of the Coast to discuss their new line of Neverwinter products.  After the interview we spoke briefly with Shelly Mazzanoble, author of “Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress”.  Although her first book was intended for a female audience, I had read it in hopes of passing it on to my wife.  (Everyone wants their wife to play D&D right?)  When I found out she had a new book entitled “Everything I need to know I learned from Dungeons & Dragons” I just had to read it.  After a short interview with Shelly she handed me a copy of the book which I stashed in my bag of holding (seriously, a bag of holding!) and went on my merry way.

Months later I am finally getting around to reading that book and writing this review.  It may be a little on the late side, but someone with Wisdom 18 once said “better late than never”.

I started out planning to read the book from start to finish and immediately ran into many roadblocks.  These roadblocks took the form of the author’s overbearing mother who seems to affect not only her writing, but her very life.  Obviously Shelly takes the incessant nagging her mother throws at her and attempts to wrangle it into something digestible, but fails.  This caused me to start this book and then toss it back into the pile on my nightstand, playing rotation for many months with other literary works.

A few days ago I decided to give Shelly’s book another shot.  I skipped the beginning of the book and hopped around from chapter to chapter.  Ah ha!  I found the secret passage Shelly… although you shouldn’t have made it so difficult to locate.  (I had to roll a nat 20 on Perception.)  The key to this book lies in the varied nature that the author gives each section.  Little quizzes, personal emails, and other people’s intimate experiences with D&D.  That is what makes this book great!  Once I started flipping through and reading bits and pieces I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Everything I need to know I learned from Dungeons & Dragons”.

Shelly Mazzanoble’s writing style sucks you in, I found myself reading more than just the intended blurb when I flipped to any given page.  The little side stories and hilarious anecdotes give Mazzanoble a unique writing style that is very personable.  If you enjoy tabletop RPGs of any kind there is something special hidden for you in this book.


  • Unique Concept
  • Fun Layout
  • Subject Matter I love
  • Describes Places I am familiar with (Seattle)



  • Too much focus on overbearing mother
  • Feeling of treading water in the beginning of the book (hard to keep reading)



This book is an excellent read for anyone looking for additional insight into why people play tabletop role-playing games and what they get out of them.

I think Shelly’s next book should be called “This book is NOT about my mother.”

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