My wife sent me a link to these articles last month, and I’m only now getting around to sharing them. The Art of Manliness posted an article on pocket notebooks:
the pocket notebook has a long, important, and manly history. Pocket notebooks were part of the arsenal of a long list of great men from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Edison (we’re working on an in-depth post of how these men used their notebooks for the future). The repositories of eminent men’s personal effects nearly always includes a pocket notebook full of their ideas and musings….
It’s a manly tradition that ought to be continued today. Along with a pocket knife and handkerchief, a notebook should reside in the pocket of every man.
No matter what profession you find yourself in, the most essential function of the pocket notebook is to provide a place to capture the ideas that spring to mind throughout the day. You may get a business idea, an insight into something you or a loved one has been struggling with, or hear a quote you wish to record. Even though you feel sure in the moment that you’ll be able to remember these thoughts when you get home, every one of us has experienced the agony of realizing later that an idea is utterly gone from our minds and that no amount of mental gymnastics can bring it back.
There was also a great followup describing the pocket notebooks of twenty famous men.
It occurs to me that the personal papers of scientists and engineers I’ve worked with almost always include a box of pocket notebooks. I always skipped over those, assuming that they would never be of any real interest. Stupid me.