Slack for Dummies Gives Readers a Quick How-to on This Popular Collaboration Tool


Slack for Dummies is the fastest way to learn and understand Slack. Ideal for virtual teams and newly created work-from-home organizations.

slack for dummies book review

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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.  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 “deal with email.”

Seven years later, Slack is so much more than a messaging tool.  But this is where I have to stop and make my confession.

Even as an avid “virtual business tool” junkie, I’ve not been very active with Slack.  I have it installed, I’ve used it to communicate with a few people (because that is what they used) but I am a complete “Slack Dummy”.

I’ve 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.  Simon has written eight books on technology including the prescient,  Age of the Platform, and has a knack for making hard-to-understand principles accessible to those of us who aren’t quite as tech savvy.


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!  But wait — it’s a “backronym” which means that they came up with it in reverse.  Even BETTER.

The first few pages are an introduction to Slack for the novice.  But, as you’ve just seen, there are some super nuggets in there that are bound to deliver a few tidbits you didn’t know.

Like this:

  • Slack was actually a pivot. The founders were actually working on something completely different — that failed. But
  • discovered their “cobbled together” tool actually held promise.
  • 12 million people (and growing) use Slack.
  • There are 5 billion “transactions” each week on Slack.
  • If you’ve heard of slack and still feel like you don’t really understand the appeal, the first two chapters are critical.

If you’re a Slack user and looking to up your game, then you are free to bounce around the book based on what area you’d 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’s strength isn’t just in moving conversations from email to “live chat”, it’s 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.  It was almost wholly written for employees in organizations.  Granted, the tool was created to help employees inside of organizations with multiple locations. But, there wasn’t 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.  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’t 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’re 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’re 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’ve been overwhelmed — this is the ideal book for you.

Finishing Up

Slack for Dummies is surprisingly short for a “Dummies” book.  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.  It’s really like a help file in your pocket (errr- table), where you don’t have to read the instructions ten times over to realize you’ve missed something insanely simple.  You’ll get it right away.

I think that’s because author, Phil Simon, not only knows a lot about technology, but he’s gone through the process of discovering Slack and then learning to become a power user.

And you really “get” that from the way the book is written.  It’s like he remembers what could potentially be confusing and then explains it to you before you go down the rabbit hole.

I’m so glad I got this copy of Slack for Dummies!  I’ve been lukewarm about using Slack and I’m pretty sure it’s because I simply didn’t know how to get the most out of it.  I’ll be working my way through this book. So, until then — See you on Slack!

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Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."