Even before the pandemic forced the masses to work from home, there has been a cadre of freelancers, road warriors and digital nomads who have been working remotely.\u00a0 And the one thing they all had in common was the need to collaborate with people virtually - WITHOUT using email. And this is where the Slack story begins. Slack was launched in 2013 to make collaborating easier and eliminate the dreaded, frustrating but necessary need to \u201cdeal with email.\u201d Seven years later, Slack is so much more than a messaging tool.\u00a0 But this is where I have to stop and make my confession. Even as an avid \u201cvirtual business tool\u201d junkie, I\u2019ve not been very active with Slack.\u00a0 I have it installed, I\u2019ve used it to communicate with a few people (because that is what they used) but I am a complete \u201cSlack Dummy\u201d. I\u2019ve always wanted to learn more about Slack and recently got the opportunity when I received a copy of Slack for Dummies written by my friend Phil Simon.\u00a0 Simon has written eight books on technology including the prescient,\u00a0 Age of the Platform, and has a knack for making hard-to-understand principles accessible to those of us who aren\u2019t quite as tech savvy. S-L-A-C-K Right out of the gate you get Slack trivia and brain goodies. Slack is an acronym! Who knew? It stands for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge. With that, I can close the book and consider my life transformed!\u00a0 But wait -- it\u2019s a \u201cbackronym\u201d which means that they came up with it in reverse.\u00a0 Even BETTER. The first few pages are an introduction to Slack for the novice.\u00a0 But, as you\u2019ve just seen, there are some super nuggets in there that are bound to deliver a few tidbits you didn\u2019t know. Like this: Slack was actually a pivot. The founders were actually working on something completely different -- that failed. But discovered their \u201ccobbled together\u201d tool actually held promise. 12 million people (and growing) use Slack. There are 5 billion \u201ctransactions\u201d each week on Slack. If you\u2019ve heard of slack and still feel like you don\u2019t really understand the appeal, the first two chapters are critical. If you\u2019re a Slack user and looking to up your game, then you are free to bounce around the book based on what area you\u2019d like to learn about. Why Bother With Slack 75% of your current employees will leave your organization within 5 years. And if you are currently using email as a repository of conversations, this is a big problem. Slack\u2019s strength isn\u2019t just in moving conversations from email to \u201clive chat\u201d, it\u2019s a surprisingly simple way to create a sort of knowledge base for your organization. One of the things I really like about Slack for Dummies is that Simon shares both the educational and technical details of using the platform along with the fun and entertainin ways that employees can build connections and engagements. What About the Self Employed There was one thing that really surprised me about this book.\u00a0 It was almost wholly written for employees in organizations.\u00a0 Granted, the tool was created to help employees inside of organizations with multiple locations. But, there wasn\u2019t a lot of content around those of us who are self-employed. While solid numbers are hard to come by, about 30% of the U.S. population is self-employed.\u00a0 And in 2020, this number is bound to be growing. One benefit that Slack offers is a simple way to create a virtual organization made up of people who don\u2019t share a corporate email address. In fact, Slack has dozens of open channels where you can become part of a larger community. Who Should Read Slack for Dummies If you\u2019re a business that has had your employees scattered across the region due to work-from-home orders, Slack is a low-cost way to stay connected and on the same page. If you\u2019re a freelancer who has been frustrated with bouncing from Skype to Email to Google Chat and who knows how many other communication apps, Slack might be worth checking out. If someone you work with has recommended you use Slack, but you\u2019ve been overwhelmed -- this is the ideal book for you. Finishing Up Slack for Dummies is surprisingly short for a \u201cDummies\u201d book.\u00a0 And this should inspire you to pick it up for yourself. Like all the books in the Dummies series, there are simple step-by-step instructions along with pictures that will help you follow along.\u00a0 It\u2019s really like a help file in your pocket (errr- table), where you don\u2019t have to read the instructions ten times over to realize you\u2019ve missed something insanely simple.\u00a0 You\u2019ll get it right away. I think that\u2019s because author, Phil Simon, not only knows a lot about technology, but he\u2019s gone through the process of discovering Slack and then learning to become a power user. And you really \u201cget\u201d that from the way the book is written.\u00a0 It\u2019s like he remembers what could potentially be confusing and then explains it to you before you go down the rabbit hole. I\u2019m so glad I got this copy of Slack for Dummies!\u00a0 I\u2019ve been lukewarm about using Slack and I\u2019m pretty sure it\u2019s because I simply didn\u2019t know how to get the most out of it.\u00a0 I\u2019ll be working my way through this book. So, until then -- See you on Slack!