How to Make a Moleskine PDA

by Brett on April 27, 2009 · 58 comments

in Manly Skills, Projects


Image by Starbuck Guy

Editor’s Note: On Tuesdays, we’ll be featuring an excellent article or video that was originally posted in the Art of Manliness Community by a community member. Today we’ve selected a post from Stephen Young about pocket notebooks that makes a great companion to the “What’s in Your Pocket Giveaway” we have going on right now. I’ve tried a couple of different PDA’s but nothing has worked as well for me as the pen and paper model. I carry a moleksine around with me wherever I go, and you should too. You never know when you’re going to get an idea or remember something you need to do, and you can write down these insights as soon as they burst upon your brain.

Of all the tools in your arsenal, without a doubt the most important is your pocket notebook. Notebooks are the obvious precursor to PDA’s and computers, and still have the upper hand on these gadgets in that they are quickly accessible, absolutely customizable and completely unique. No other technology will allow you to easily compile lists, sketches, calendars, notes, plans, links – exactly the way you want them.

Selecting Your Pocket Notebook

One of the most popular notebooks available is the moleskine. Why? Because it’s the classic – the notebook of Van Gogh, Hemingway and Picasso. It’s popularity makes it very easy to find, though as far as notebooks go, it is pricey (both because of the quality of construction and the desirability of the brand). Of course Moleskine is not the only notebook out there, so shop around and pick what is best for you. Here are some other options to check out:

Field Notes. Field Notes offers a less slick verison of the Moleskine, with notebooks inspired by old agricultural memo books.

Rite in the Rain Tactical Field Books. These books are made with all-weather writing paper to allow you do just what the name of the company suggests.

Jas Townsend and Sons Brass and Ivory Pocket Notebook. If moleskines are a throwback to a time before PDA’s, these are a throw way way back. Based off of the design of the most OG pocket notebook carrier of them all-Thomas Jefferson-the ivory plates can be written on with pencil, smudged off with your finger, and used over and over again.

The Hipster PDA. Of course, why plunk down some dough for something you can make yourself? The hipster PDA consists of some notecards and a clip to hold them together. And there are plenty of variations out there on this theme.

My suggestion: If you’re going to buy a pocket notebook, buy your journal from an independent bookstore and support your local vendors. If you can, get something locally made or fair trade – and of course, the notebook has to feel right for you.

In the Vancouver, BC Area, I’d suggest Oscar’s Art Books (at Granville and Broadway)

Picking a Style of Notebook


My moleskine is a pocket-size blank notebook. I prefer the blankness, because it is versatile for including drawings, and for writing more haphazardly, which consequently maps better my scatterbrained ideas. They also offer ruled and squared notebooks, in regular style or journalist flip-style. The total listing of their products can be found here. It’s a good idea to look them over in the store, and then take time to browse the rest of the store while you think over what suits your needs best.

Building Your Notebook into a GTD System

GTD: Getting Things Done. This is a popular trend in Moleskine usage, and what are referred to as Moleskine Hacks [Hack: Method of making something perform a different/extra function or act more according to one's personal style.]

The entirety of a GTD system is based around either tabs or an index. In these, the user can categorize notebook sections, allowing space for different types of content. I prefer the visual feel of tabs, but there are many equally great tutorials on how to index your notebook.

Visit the Monster List of Moleskine tips, tricks and hacks for more ideas.

For the sake of this article, I’m going to discuss tabbed notebooking. You may click on the link above to learn more about other ways to organize your notebook.


Image by Walker Cleavelands

Though some tab systems for the moleskine are elaborate, this will walk you through the easiest setup to prepare. First of all you’ll need some supplies:

Moleskine / other notebook
Ink Pen
Rubber Band
Sticky note page markers
GTD Application

To better organize yourself, I’ve put together a GTD application, which can be used to organize the sections you wish to use in your moleskine. Version 1.0 is here. The application allows for a local save, which uses flash cookies.

Building Your System


I suggest you number your pages. To preserve space, I numbered only the odd pages in my moleskine. But find whatever works best for you. Numbered pages allow you to make a note of important page numbers as you write, so the important stuff doesn’t get lost.


Open the GTD Application. This application allows you to organize and plan the order and lengths of your notebook sections. The last column in the table tells you which page to start your new section at (so you don’t have to count out your pages). Once you’re happy with the layout you’ve prepared, check to be sure you didn’t use too many pages (an amount is at the bottom, based on the number of pages inserted near the top of the screen). Then start tabbing! Write section titles onto the ends of your tabs, and place them sticking out the side. To avoid them being torn out, try to have most of the body of your sticky markers inside the notebook. When applying your tabs, be sure to leave a half-inch gap near the middle of the notebook; we’ll discuss that in a moment. Also, be sure to apply the sticky side of your tabs to the near side of the page (if the notebook is open, the tab should be sticking to the left-hand page), so that when they are pulled towards you, they pull the weight of the pages, instead of just detaching.



Image by Walker Cleavelands

Your pen. Every good writer needs a good pen – and if you’re putting out money for a notebook, you don’t want a pen that dies halfway through writing your first sentence (if you’re anything like me, it would result in the first page being scratched to oblivion in an attempt to draw out some ink). Invest in a quality pen. I use an ink roller pen, which bleeds a little bit through the pages, but in a non-distracting manner – use whatever you feel comfortable with.

To be sure you always have a pen with your notebook, put a rubber band around the body of the notebook, in the gap you left in step two. The rubber band should be perpendicular to the one that comes built into the moleskine (or if yours doesn’t have one, the band should stretch from the spine to the opening.) Place your pen along the spine of the notebook, underneath the rubber band – and now you’ll never need to fumble for a pen when you really need one.

Utilizing Your Notebook’s Pocket

Now that you’ve got a good looking, organized notebook, you’ll notice one extra feature of many notebooks – made popular by moleskine. The back cover of the notebook has an expandable pocket. This is a great place to store some of the important things you’ll need with your notebook. Currently I keep the following in my notebook pocket:

  • Library Card
  • University Printing Card
  • $5 bill (takes up less space than a gift card for a coffee shop, and it’s more versatile)
  • Portaitissa Icon
  • Small stack of sticky notes

Other ideas: cheat sheets, letters, business cards, calling cards, bus passes, photographs, leaves, lucky pennies, flat rocks for skipping, bookmarks, fishing line, matches, twine, tylenol, hand wipes, camera memory cards, ad infinitum

Make It Your Own


There are a ton of creative things you can do with your moleskine to give it some character and make it more useful. My moleskine is pictured above. You’ll notice the white boxes; they’re a new addition, a sort of twitter for the moleskine – short quips, reminders, sayings, easily accessible and simplistic, as well as easily removable. When one becomes obsolete, I’ve got piles more of the stickers to replace them (I’m toying with the idea of not removing any, just stacking them when it gets full).

Now start writing

Your notebook is just missing one thing now – content. Start learning your system and getting used to finding things. Develop shorthand methods for notes (the monster list provides several brilliant ideas for shorthand writing) and discover your style of organization with your new, cheap PDA.

Now it’s your turn. What’s you favorite pocket notebook? What pocket notebook hacks do you use?

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 CN in TX April 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Great article. I use the Moleskine pocket-sized with ruled pages. I tried using an electronic PDA for a few months… it is now in the back of a drawer somewhere in my home. Thanks for including the links. I look forward to trying some of the hacks.

I am really enjoying the site!

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!

2 tudza April 27, 2009 at 9:20 pm

On big drawback of all these paper solutions, not searchable.

3 JustinT April 27, 2009 at 10:54 pm

I’ve tried both pocket notebooks and PDAs and have yet to find a one-size-fits-all solution. PDAs are bulky and difficult to doodle in (no mind-mapping, no sketching). Notebooks aren’t searchable and you’re screwed if you lose it, because there’s no way to back it up like you can PDA data.

I’m waiting for something akin to the Amazon Kindle 2 to come out that I can write on like a notebook. They do exist now (ultra-portable PCs and the like), but $2500+ for a glorified notebook seems a bit harsh. The iPhone is a step in the right direction, but you can’t write on it with a pen, so that’s out.

4 Christopher Masiello April 27, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Great article. I carry my notebook with me all the time. I constantly use mine to create and record things.

5 zedwards April 28, 2009 at 3:26 am

I use one of the thin non-leather moleskin notebooks. I just section it off having to-do on front section then use the binding in the middle of the small notebook so there are essentially 4 sections I can utilize without using tabs (front page, to middle, middle to front, middle to back and back to middle). I like having a list of people I am responsible for, a page for people i need to talk to and what issue I have for them, Long term todos, meeting topics ideas, dates (i generally use my phone for appts). And the 2nd half of the notebook is just for writing notes and quick info.

6 Gerry April 28, 2009 at 3:34 am

I love this article, but the popup ads are driving me crazy, and not in a good way. Please stop!

7 James Marwood April 28, 2009 at 3:57 am

This is my pocket notebook – a lined moleskine reporters.

There are 4 hacks I think are important:

1) A pen loop. I make mine out of card (cut from a 3×5 index card, wrapped in duck tape and taped in place

2) A small bulldog clip. I hate having to flick through to find a blank page. A small clip like this keeps everything squared away.

3) Shorthand for notes. I use little symbols to show at a glance what notes relate to

4) Numbered pages – makes it easy to refer to notes elsewhere, or to hyperlink between pages.

8 BD April 28, 2009 at 4:22 am

I prefer the Field Notes notepads myself, in no small part because they remind me of the small notebooks that my grandfather used for keeping track of his apple orchard.

On a more practical level, I find the Field Notes pads are much more rear pocket friendly, being that they don’t have a hard cover and are quite slim. If GTD is your thing, you probably won’t be able to make that system work in the smaller Field Notes, but if you’re looking for a simple, durable, relatively pocket-friendly (but not ridiculously small!) notepad with a little character, you could do worse than Field Notes.

“less slick” isn’t always a bad thing. ;)

9 Kevin April 28, 2009 at 5:56 am

Great article!

I love my blank page Moleskine for logging ideas, sketches etc. I keep it on the nightstand; I often come up with ideas for little projects while trying to fall asleep…

For those that are looking for a great online app to manage your projects and tasks, I highly recommend Clocking IT: It’s pretty robust, and best of all, it is free!

10 E April 28, 2009 at 7:24 am

Those of you with trouble searching for stuff might create an index for the Moleskine. Keep a post-it on the back pocket for important projects you write about. Whenever you write something down for that project, put the page number (assuming you wrote out page numbers) and maybe a T,M, or E to indicate whether it’s at the top, middle, or end of the page (if you pack writing in).

11 Greg April 28, 2009 at 7:38 am

I use an At-A-Glance planner that fits in my back pant pocket. I take it everywhere I go, probably a little bit of OCD (cell phone left jean pocket, keys right pocket, wallet right back, pocket planner back left). I use the product number 74-01. Harder to find being the smallest planners (3×4.5). Either Staples or Officemax carry them, but they sell out.

12 Sean "Goblin" Aaberg April 28, 2009 at 8:25 am

The words PDA & Moleskine are NOT MANLY! I’ve been enjoying this blog, & it’s terrible that this is the first article to provoke a comment, but for god’s sake, this is not a manly subject. Moleskines are trendy & effeminate. PDAs might be worse. Also the phrase “twitter for moleskine” almost caused me to kill myself.

13 Enrique S April 28, 2009 at 9:25 am

While I don’t use a Moleskine, I do use a small, cheap, spiral notebook at work. It’s replaced all f the little pieces of paper that used to get lost. The first thing that I do is tape a copy of our accounting calendar inside the back cover. It’s nice to be able to flip to it in a meeting and have the entire year laid out. I’d trade it for a good electronic solution, too.

14 JC April 28, 2009 at 9:47 am

I’ve got to agree with Goblin – the whole Moleskine mystique is lost on me. I use Rhodia#11 3″x4″ because they fit my shirt pocket. That same pocket carries a ballpoint, so no mods are needed. I’ve used other types of pads, yes, even Moleskine, but settled on the Rhodia because the sheets can be torn out without buggering the whole thing.
Come on, seriously. About half of the scribbling I do is for other folks – a map to the museum, directions to the good Mexican restaurant, the URL to a neat website…

15 Brett April 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

@JC and Goblin-

I’m not sure I understand your critique of the article. Just because a moleskine is sometimes used by annoying hipster-types, doesn’t make it a bad notebook. It’s popular because it’s well-designed and useful. And while Stephen uses a moleskine as his example in this article because that’s what he carries, we also made it clear that there are many choices out there-even just plain notecards will work. As to Goblin’s complaint that moleskines aren’t manly, carrying a pocket notebook is a manly tradition that goes back a long time, and found adherents in everyone from Jefferson to Hemingway.

16 Ben April 28, 2009 at 11:00 am

Yeah.. don’t quite understand how a black notebook would be considered effeminate.

Anyhow, never liked the spiral-bound notebooks because of the extra room the spiral takes up. Aside from that reason, notebooks like the Moleskine are handy because they’ve got the built-in elastic to keep it together (great when you’ve got other loose notes hanging around in there). I usually use the larger, grid-paper notebooks… enough junk floating around the pockets already!

Only drawback is you can’t really tear pages out of these type of notebooks without damaging the binding.. so I normally keep a wad of scrap paper in whatever pocket the notebook happens to include.

What I don’t understand is the pen problems people are having… just get something with a thin clip and jam it between the binding:

Problem solved.

Use it as a PDA though? Nah, that’s what the Blackberry is for ;)

17 Rick Magley April 28, 2009 at 11:29 am

I LOVE this blog! Excellent job!

18 Jsthegr8 April 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm

now this is classy

I admit I have several, they are so addicting

19 todd April 28, 2009 at 8:14 pm

I think you might have jumped the shark with this one. It seems some people have too much time on their hands!

20 Sean "Goblin" Aaberg April 28, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Ben, the piece wasn’t called, “Carry a black notebook.” The piece was entitled, “How to Make a Moleskine PDA.” Okay. If the piece was called, “Carry a pocket notebook”, Brett, i would have had ZERO gag reflex. The central problem i had with the article is the essential name dropping & hyper up to date recontextualization (unmanly activities) of what could be easily argued as classic, traditional, manly items. If the article was called “How to turn your trendy pen into a stylus or mouse” or something along those lines, i’d feel the same way. Obviously, here we are on the internet, on a blog, so the tendency is going to be with the flip, the timely, the recontext, the trendy, & the defense of those things will stand, but what is different here, is that this is the art of manliness & that should cut through all of that nonsense. As far as i know, the Moleskine that is currently being used is newly minted & not a thing of history. Wikipedia backs me up on this. “Although Moleskine srl claims their notebook has been used by well-known artists and writers, such as Picasso, Matisse, Kurakin and Hemingway, the brand Moleskine was officially registered only in 1996. Francesco Franceschi, head of Modo & Modo’s marketing department, was quoted as saying, “It’s an exaggeration. It’s marketing, not science. It’s not the absolute truth.” The Moleskine began a publicity & expansion blitzkrieg in 2006, which is when i first heard of the little buggers.

21 Jenks April 28, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Guys!!! Lets cut through the BS and see this for what it is. So many of us are too busy working the system (hipster and electronic PDA setups, multiple Moleskine hacks, GtD hacks, forums, software, blogs etc. etc.) that we dont actually get anything done…
It’s so easy to get so caught up in productivity ‘solutions’ that we dont ever really become more productive.
If you REALLY want/need a system to give your life some structure, try “Zen to Done” (google it) which cuts through the c#%p and allows you to ACTUALLY get things done.
However, if you want a good reason to keep procrastinating your life away, dont let me get in your way.

22 Greg Throne April 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Couple of notes on this.
First. Watch out if you’re contemplating using Dave allen’s “GTD” system. It will work for some, but it can trap you into handling the quick jobs to the exclusion of relatively complex projects.
Second, any system will require customizing to some extent. I’m trying out a Moleskine. I will continue using my (now antiquated) Palm PDA for addresses and the scheduling calendar. But the notebook that includes a pocket and elastic closure…quite intriguing. Time will tell if it works or is a useless affectation.

23 David Barnes April 29, 2009 at 12:45 am

I carry a notebook & pen with me all the time and think it’s a great thing to do. And it’s definitely more manly to carry a good, strong notebook than the shopping list jotters they sell in supermarkets.

“Choosing a manly notebook and pen” is a fair enough topic for the blog. But there are so many of these “add coloured tags to your notebook” articles out there already, and previously the Art of Manliness was refreshingly clean of that sort of thing.

My advice: buy a nice pen & notebook that you like, carry it and use it in whatever way takes your fancy. Yes Picaso and Hemmingway carried something like a Moleskine — but I bet they never turned it into some kind of weird over the top PDA.

Having said all that, “tinkering” is a great manly past time & I suppose that creating these PDAs out of Moleskines falls into that category.

24 Caleb April 29, 2009 at 8:33 am

I used to do this, and admittedly I miss the aesthetic appeal of my Moleskin. But I found it just wasn’t practical to have with me all the time for a few reasons. One was that I wasn’t always in a place that I could stop and write something down (i.e. driving). Another was that I was afraid I was going to lose it. Not only would it be irreplaceable, but if someone were to find it, there was content in there I would not want just anyone to see.

I know the author is against electronic solutions because organic ones are the only ones that are “quickly accessible, absolutely customizable and completely unique”, but I’ve found a solution for at least the first two, and its name is Evernote for desktop and iPhone (and no, I don’t work for the company, just really enjoy the app). It allows me to take voice, text, photos, links or whatever else i want to remember and upload it to a server, thereby keeping it with me at all times, and simultaneously protecting the data. It even allows the data (including the photos) to be searchable.

25 Just me April 29, 2009 at 9:01 am

Like Sean Connery’s notebook in “Last Crusade.” I thought that was so awesome. I didn’t know they still had things like that.

26 VictorE April 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

@tudza-how about using a livescribe pen ( with one of their moleskine-esque notebooks ( that way, you have the freedom to write however you want and at the same time have it saved and backed up. the downside is that it’s not indexable at the notebook level.

27 Nick G April 29, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Hey guys,

What would your recommendation be — hard cover or soft cover? I just read this article and contemplated the idea of buying one. So I checked on Amazon and there are many different types. Soft cover seems to be ideal for a back pocket, but hard cover seems much more durable.

Any suggestions would be great!

28 Brett April 30, 2009 at 8:12 am


I’ve tried both the hard cover and the soft cover and definitely prefer the latter. The advantage of the hard cover is obviously extra sturdiness, and it also has the elastic around it which is handy. But it’s just too bulky for your pocket unless you’re wearing cargo shorts.

29 Rounded Corner Business Cards April 30, 2009 at 9:53 pm

This is a really nice post.
Thank you for sharing this.

30 Angus S-F May 1, 2009 at 11:22 pm

@JustinT wrote: “I’ve tried both pocket notebooks and PDAs and have yet to find a one-size-fits-all solution. PDAs are bulky and difficult to doodle in (no mind-mapping, no sketching). Notebooks aren’t searchable and you’re screwed if you lose it, because there’s no way to back it up like you can PDA data.”

Ummm, on my Palm T|X I can sketch all I want in the “Note Pad” app. Sure, it’s not as easy as sketching on paper, and right now the sketched notes aren’t searchable, but any notes I make in my Memos are easily searched, as are logs in my calendar and in “Responsive Time Logger”, which I use to track my billable time. Both are backed up every time I sync. I’ve gone through multiple Palm units [I wear out the screens from all the notes I write ;-)] and I keep coming back to them as the best-of-breed PDAs. I certainly remember the days of using “DayTimers” paper calendars to track my time and appointments, and I really REALLY like my PDA — I once mmisplaced my DayTimer calendar three weeks into the month and almost lost 3 weeks of billable time and notes. Fortunately I found the DayTimer buried in my couch, but I’ll **_NEVER_** go back to paper unless we have a complete collapse of society and electronic PDAs are no longer available.

I’m really looking forward to the new Palm Pre phones, with backward compatibility through some sort of emulator.

31 Noam Berg May 2, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Might I recommend Clairefontaine as a contender? They make a wide range of sizes and styles, and have two distinct advantages: they have quad-ruled versions of their products, and their paper is thick/opaque enough that you can write with a fountain pen on both sides without it showing through. The joys of fountain pen use are an essay unto themselves, so suffice it to say that any notebook that makes their use practical ought to merit consideration.

32 Ed F May 3, 2009 at 2:48 am

Great article! But I got to point out, for those relatively frugal folks, that those little spiral ring notebooks that fit in a shirt pocket will also do the job. I use rite-in- the rain notebooks at work and they are hard to beat. But those little spiral ring things (6 for 3 bucks at Staples) also work. That and a Bic crystal in your back pant pocket will get the job done. And chronologically is the way to go for organization. Keep up the good work!

33 Greg Throne May 3, 2009 at 7:53 am

Just one more note on notebooks (Sorry!)
An overlooked (by the blog so far) fellow named Jimmy Doolittle (aeronautical engineer, aviation innovator, successful businessman, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, very ballsy air racer in the 1930′s) said in his autobiography he’d carried a small notebook and a mechanical pencil ever since flight school. His Commanding Officer back then made it a standing order, based on practicality.

34 Eric May 4, 2009 at 10:01 am

If Moleskine doesn’t quite fit the bill, I might recommend a Levenger PDA. It uses a unique ring system that allows you to swap out or move pages at your convenience. You can get specialized “to do,” calendar and simple ruled pages.

35 Daryl [WhiteHatBlackBox] May 5, 2009 at 7:04 am

Great post for getting people started. I went one step beyond making a Moleskine PDA and made a Moleskine Hipster PDA! ;)

36 Jason May 6, 2009 at 5:59 am

I found the normal moleskine to thick to carry in my back pocket(I carried and wore out 3 of them). I decided I needed something smaller for my pocket. The Moleskine Cahier was thinner, but too thin for back pocket carry. I contacted (who make some great covers for the Moleskine line of notebooks) and had a custom leather cover made to fit my Moleskine Cahier. Perfect fit for my back pocket, and I get 3 Cahier notebooks for the price of one Moleskine notebook. When I fill one up, or put out all the pages I transfer the important notes/phone numbers to the new one and slide it into my leather cover. Looks excellent, and fits in my pocket just right.

37 Louie! May 7, 2009 at 9:49 am

Great blog, I’ve kept a moleskin journal and notebook for a few years now. Fantastic investment. There is another product that is relatively new out of Sweden called Whitelines. ( I saw a design blog about it last year, and ran into them at a travel book store in Seattle last month. They’re good quality, interesting, and relatively cheap.

38 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin May 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Moleskines do best with ballpoint pens. My preference is for a Parker ball point. IMX they skip & blob less than others. Another excellent option is a Fisher Space Pen, as they are about the most fail-proof pens around. Finally, if you prefer a pencil, I suggest the Pentel Sharp Kerry. It has a cap that keeps the point from stabbing you.

39 Eric May 11, 2009 at 7:20 pm

Really good article! I made a (knockoff) Moleskine PDA after readign this and let me tell you: it works!

I modified it a bit to fit exactly what I need (specifically, I have the 2 tabs for the task list started at the front of the notebook. I have a tab for ideas/creative thoughts that starts in the back, going toward the front, just to keep it separate. I also have a set of tabs for a prayer list from my class at the church where I teach). It has really been a great way to keep everything organized.

I’ve had it since the day this article came out; I left it at home today and haven’t known what to do with myself. ;)

40 Dan Szekeres May 13, 2009 at 5:01 am

Thank you for this article! I had never heard of a moleskine before, but rest assured that I had marched out to the local stationary store and purchased one.

I will never be without one again!

41 Charlie May 15, 2009 at 7:00 am

I use a cheap 4 1/2″ x 3 1/4″ composition note book. They are .99 at Walmart. If you need to rip out a page you can do it from the middle where it is sewn together.
No spiral so It fits comforably in the back pocket of your pants. There were some good suggestions here that I will start using.

42 Martin July 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Autoplaying video ads? Seriously?

Too bad, your content is good, but that ad is intolerable.

43 Matthew July 14, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I usually have used the Cahier squared notebooks in the past, a couple of years now, when underway, I use it instead of my wallet, only really needing my cash card instead of the whole wallet situation.

But recently while a getting a refill, I decided to upgrade to the larger, “journalist style” notebook, with blank pages. I’ve numbered every bottom page with even numbers to keep track, and am contemplating a few other “hacks” – as they say, appearantly.

However, the only drawback to this book is that it’s much larger, while the cahiers generally get a little ragged after too long in my back-pocket this one’s almost too big to comfortable sit down. We’ll see how it works out.

44 Seth July 31, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I don’t see how a Moleskine would be “effeminate”. It’s a black notebook, which seems pretty gender-neutral to me.

And even if if *were* effeminate – so what? If women can wear pants, then surely we can use Moleskines and PDAs – or, at least, read an article on those topics without whining about how it’s OMG SO UNMANLY.

45 Martin de Blois August 3, 2009 at 7:09 am

I’ve carried notebooks many years to take notes and sketch ideas.
I would get cheap brown books and cut round the corners with a nail clipper, so that they would come out of any pocket with ease.
I kept them all. Reviewing them gives me a sense of the journey.
I’ve had many Moleskine.
They are valuable to me since a sketch will not show on the reverse side.
I even made artwork covers on the thin models; they look like passports…

46 Chris August 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Forget the rubber band approach–not going to work.. Instead, thread page-marker ribbon through the pen clip and close it in the book as usual. Close book, then wrap elastic book-closure band around the other end of the pen and book. Solid as a rock, and much more out-of-the-way as the pen sits inside the book cover a little bit.

47 Philip Majkrzak September 6, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Portaitissa! What a delightful surprise. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! Love for the Mother of God should be on one’s list of things manly.

48 Cynthia September 8, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Great article. I like to organize my Moleskine using a colored marker on the edges of the paper to created tab-free sections. You can read about it on my blog here:

49 anthony f September 20, 2009 at 10:09 pm

i really like this web site even tho some people may consider these things old fasioned or modern day useless. by following some guidelines of i have improved my life not in ways that other people notice or enjoy but in ways that i notice, enjoy, and that makes my everyday life easier by striving to meet new and more useful goals.

50 Julie Brown October 10, 2009 at 6:09 am

Love the information about the Moleskine PDA! Very Informative even for a girl like myself on the tough guy website. I just came across another product earlier in the month that i thought I’d share.

I found the a boutique shop ( ) that sells Moleskine covers and bought a Black one early this month. I love it and have not been able to put it down since I got it in the mail. They also host a blog on other creative cover methods which I feel is worth a look-sy =) :

51 Graham Wilson May 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

Excellent article. Of course, different people will have different takes on the details – that’s why it’s customisation! Has sent me off in search of a new notebook.

52 Anthony May 31, 2010 at 11:35 am

I love your Blog. Thanks for the excellent article.
After using both hard and the soft cover I definitely prefer the latter. Hard covers have the advantage to be extra sturdiness, and it also has the elastic around.

53 GK July 22, 2010 at 7:45 am

I know Americans are obsessed with brand names, but even so this article is a bit over-the-top. I just use “a notebook”, which I write in with “a pen” or “a pencil”. And when one of them runs out I don’t — horrors! — necessarily buy the same type to replace it. If I ever get to the stage where I must have a Parker-Bic Industries Hypergel Metapencil and a Rodentskin 250GHz Pentium Ergonomic Contradisorganizer, and BLOODY HELL you’ve linked some sort of computer program for telling me how to ORGANIZE my ORGANIZER?, please just shoot me and get it over with.

54 Brian Winters November 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Drop a Moleskine (or have it flung across a quad) and the worst you get is maybe some scuff, maybe some minor tears. Do the same to your Blackberry or Kindle and see what happens. Never have to worry about losing info or power problems with a Moleskine.

55 rm March 15, 2013 at 2:26 am

I feel bad that I can’t pin this. I mean, girls can carry a manly PDA moleskin type notebook around too. Who cares if mine will be pink or green or some unmanly color? :c

56 phileas45 December 18, 2013 at 12:43 am

@GK: Some of us have preferences. It’s okay. Breathe.

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