All Blogging Is Local

This article was originally published on Humorality, on January 4, 2010.

Book Review: The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging

Apart from being a severe fire hazard, your local bookstore is a great place to find information on things you would like to learn how to do. For example, let’s say you wanted to understand the features of the digital SLR camera that you received for Christmas. Your local book shop has dozens of works on photography techniques for both beginning and intermediate shutterbugs. By picking up one or two books on the subject, you will discover—and if the author is really good, it might take just a few days—that you can return the camera for a full refund before it’s too late.

So, when my wife wanted to start her own blog, I made a special trip to the bookstore to find her an introductory text on how to create a quality site. Let me tell you, it’s not an easy book to find. I scanned the shelves for probably twenty minutes. And then one book caught my eye: How to Use Your New Digital SLR Camera. And incorrectly shelved right next to that one was The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging. Written by Arianna Huffington and the editors of “The Huffington Post” blog—one of the most popular show-off blogs on the Interne—the book introduces readers to the world of blogging in three convenient sections:

  • The Nuts and Bolts of Blogging
  • George W. Bush is a Weenie
  • Resources for Getting Rid of Weenies like George W. Bush

I’m not saying that the book was overtly political. I’m saying that it was overtly political and light on details about blogging. Of the book’s 230 pages, only about 80 pages deal with the actual craft of building a blog, give or take 80 pages. The rest of the book documents how “The Huffington Post” blog came to be, replete with sample writings by famous members of its “HuffPost” community.

For those interested in a political book that makes passing references to internet-based content management systems—and if your bookseller is all out of Electronic Socialism for Dummies—this might be just the book for you. The sample blog entries explaining how Republicans want poor kids to die (page 223), or how Ms. Huffington suffered greatly as her BlackBerry committed suicide in the Mediterranean Sea (page 143), will certainly provide the essential skills required for blog-centric ideologues.

I am certainly glad that there is no Huffington Post Complete Guide to Heart Surgery, because any doctor entrusted with such a book would only get about one-third the way into the procedure before being forced to read about the history of Arianna Huffington’s elective sinus surgery.

In all fairness, the book does provide some relevant content about starting and maintaining a blog. And although it is somewhat dated, the text also introduces the basic tools and vocabulary needed to be a left-wing congressional lobbyist. And a so-so blogger, assuming that you will be writing journalistic articles covering current events. Otherwise you’re hosed.

Unfortunately, the bookstore didn’t have much else available on blogging, apart from geek books discussing the internals of blogging systems. As much as I love my local bookstore, I might have to take my search online. It shouldn’t be too hard to find what I need, just as soon as I can figure out how to start the web browser on this digital camera.

Verdict: 2 Out of 5 Stars

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and life in Japan. Find his latest books at

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