Ever since I was a wee lad I thought I might one day write an epic book that at least two people will read. I realize now it's difficult to write a book when you're coding all the time.
The internet doesn't help either.
However something good did come out of this obsession with writing - at some point in high school I realized it would be incredibly useful to always keep a notebook on hand to jot down any idea that might pop up at an unexpected time.
And so the notebook fetishism began.
My first pocket notebook looked more like a collection of post-it notes inside a cardboard case thing. Of course it proved unwieldy to keep in my pocket and needless to say it eventually broke down so much it seems I've thrown it out ... can't find it anywhere.
Here's all the notebooks that survived through the years, ordered roughly in chronologically. The right-most three I'm using right now (the big one and two under it) ... ok, actually the totally rightmost one is still waiting to begin its career. There's also a fake moleskine in there; that first black notebook from the left.
It's taken me years to discover the wonder that is Moleskine. Now sure, some might say it's an overpriced notebook designed to take money away from hapless hipsters.
But I think Moleskine is really the Apple of notebooks, which again will say to most people that it's an overpriced piece of kit designed to take money away from hapless hipsters. Their latest PR blunder aside, I have to say I really love these things - probably won't be buying any other brand in the foreseeable future.
At least not for the ones I like to keep in my pocket. That big moleskine right there? Yeah, that was kind of stupid, sure I love it to bits, but 17 euro for a notebook with ~200 pages that for some reason isn't even hardcover? O.o
Moleskine just seems to care more about details than most other notebooks I've tried. Where else does each notebook come with a tracking number and a note that should there be anything funky, you should just report that particular notebook and the particular quality assurance person in charge of that particular notebook will be thwapped over the nose?
I'm sure the marketing story coming with each notebook is bullshit, but it feels nice that they even care enough to include it.
However, the ultimate test came when I started using the ultra skinny ones. You know, the one you can actually keep in your backpocket at all times so you literally never find yourself without a notebook as long as you aren't naked.
Kept it there, nice and cosy next to my arse, for two months every day. Sat on it, sweated on it when it was hot and I was in a hurry, did unspeakably horrible things to it ... nothing happened. Sure it looks battered and the covers are bent and crinkley. But not a single paper fell out, the stitching is still perfect ... the cover didn't even start layering!
Any other notebook I've had felt like it was about to die after a week of staying in my pocket ... papers starting to fall out, the back breaking ... things like that.
Anyone else a fan of notebooks that just work?
- Notably Cute Notebooks (fabsugar.com)
- Mini Review: Rhodia 5×5 Grid Pad No. 10 (nopenintended.wordpress.com)
- A Little House Notebook (practicalpages.wordpress.com)
- Moleskine Alternatives For GTD Hacking (newcommbiz.com)
- Notes on notebooks (guardian.co.uk)
Learned something new?
Read more Software Engineering Lessons from Production
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Software Engineering Lessons from Production
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️