Like many of you, I carry a small notebook around with me in which to scribble ideas, phone numbers, and such. I learned it from my father, who always carried one of those little vertical spiral-bound jobbies. (I still have the one that was with his things I received from the hospital after he died. It’s full of tiny drawings of tool stands and phone numbers of friends and tool suppliers.)
I’ll admit to having tried going digital back with the Palm was new, but I never was able to fully make the transition. While PDAs are great for phone books and calendars, I just can’t draw effectively in them. And Toolmongers need to draw.
So I made my way back to notebooks, and about three years ago I came across Moleskine’s offerings. Their small, hardcover notebook is easily the best one I’ve ever owned. It’s sized perfectly to slip in an inside coat pocket — or a jeans back pocket in the shop — and it’s incredibly durable. Read on past the jump for more of me gushing about it complete with photos.
There’s an elastic band built into the cover which can be used to keep the notebook closed, but I’ve fallen into the habit of wrapping it around the unused pages so that the Moleskine falls open to the page I’m currently using easily. It does lead to some fraying of the other pages, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
Moleskine offers versions with lined pages, grid pages, or blank pages. I started out with the lined version, but eventually switched to grid because I tend to sketch ideas, and the lines help me. (Unlike Sean, I didn’t attend art school, and I’m a lousy artist. But with a good grid, I can sometimes get the idea across.) Sean appreciates the blank version more as he doesn’t like to be limited by pre-existing formats.
I’m extraordinarily hard on notebooks, and even the Moleskine’s binding gives way over time — especially if you jam the pocket clip of a pen in it like I do. But I’ve learned that if I apply a small strip of gaffers’ tape to the backing every time I pick up a new one, they easly last as long as it takes me to fill them — about seven months to a year.
I keep the ones I’ve already filled stacked up in a desk drawer for reference. I often refer to them to resolve questions like, “Who was that guy we talked to about plastic casting last year?”
Moleskine’s advertising schtick calls these “the legendary notebook used by European artists and thinkers for the past two centuries” and includes a picture of one that served as Vincent van Gogh’s sketchbook from 1888-1890. (Apparently he doodles slower than I do.) Name dropping aside, I thought I’d pass on my find.
Buy hey don’t just listen to me — check out what others are doing with Moleskines.
If you’re addicted to notebooks like I am, you might want to give these a try. They’re available from tons of sources online, and you can find ’em at most Borders book stores and some Container Stores. Street pricing starts around $10.
Moleskine Notebooks [Corporate Site]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
My Favorite Moleskine Via Amazon (Small Squared) [What’s this?]
Sean’s Favorite Moleskine Via Amazon (Small Plain) [What’s this?]