Posts Tagged ‘notes’

Why You Really Need to Carry a Pocket Notebook

August 26, 2010

One of my all-time best practices as a thinker is to carry a pocket notebook. This allows you to capture ideas at the moment they occur to you. Recording an idea at the moment of inspiration is crucial, as you will lose most ideas if you wait to write them down later.

A great article on this topic appears on Brett and Kate McKay’s Art of Manliness web site — see “The Manly Tradition of the Pocket Notebook.” The McKays found some great historical quotes about pocket notebooks, such as this one from a doctor, written in 1918:

When I started in practice, I got in the habit of putting many of my spare moments (had plenty of them!) into studying up some of the rarer diseases that we had to deal with. I would read up all I could find on one subject, then I would take some time in thinking it over, then I would formulate a plan of treatment and write it out in a pocket-notebook. In after years, that old notebook helped me out of a good many difficult situations; and some of the best work I have ever done has come from those notes.

From Toothpaste for Dinner comes this great cartoon:

Why you need to write down your ideas

AB — 26 August 2010

Spine labels for spiral notebooks — Somebody please invent them!

August 23, 2009

I’ve never seen a solution to this problem: When you’ve used spiral notebooks for many years, how do you tell them apart on the shelf? Here’s what I mean:


Kind of a mess, huh? How can I find all of the treasures no doubt concealed in these notebooks?

I guess you might be able to slip a label down inside the spiral of a notebook, but if you opened it a lot, the label would probably get mauled.

Anyway, this seems like a niche need for which someone might be able to invent a marketable solution!

AB — 23 August 2009

My thinker’s shirt-pocket gear

August 23, 2009

My family is ashamed to be seen in public with me, but I am prepared for most situations that thinkers encounter away from home, because I always have my custom gear in my shirt-pocket:


Here’s the exploded view with specs below:


From left to right:

1. Spiral-bound note pad, 3″ x 4″, blank (not lined!) paper — I get these custom-made cheap at the print shop of any big-box office-supply store like Staples. They can be made from an off-the-shelf package of note pads.

2. Four-color ballpoint pen — The only one I’ve been able to find is the one made by Bic. Includes colors blue, black, red, and green.

3. Pen-size highlighter — The one shown is a Sharpie.

4. Three-way pen — includes ballpoint (blue or black), mechanical pencil, and PDA stylus — This one is the PhD Multi by Papermate, the most dependable of its type and price range.

5. .005/.20 mm fine-line marker for very fine notations and interlinear notes — The one shown is the Micron pen, but Prismacolor also makes a pen of this type.

AB — 23 August 2009