Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons to Pay Good Money for a Moleskine

5 Reasons to Pay Good Money for a Moleskine

After posting twice last week about Moleskine notebooks, I got several comments complaining about the high price of the notebooks and their perceived pretentiousness, with one person even asking somewhat accusingly if we’d made some sort of business partnership with the notebook company (we did — we’re promoting their contest and exhibition, which is why I thought it would be neat to write some posts about Moleskines).

They’re fair questions: a pocket-sized Moleskine notebook runs about $12 US and the larger ones approach $20 US. Why would you pay that kind of money for a pad of paper, when a spiral-bound pocket notebook can be had for less than a buck at most stores?

Advertising

Before I give my reasons, I should say that there are plenty of worthwhile alternatives to Moleskines (but a spiral-bound notebook isn’t one of them — sorry, Charlie!), some accurate-enough knock-offs and others taking a different approach to notebook design. I’m not as much wed to the brand as I am to the design — but the Moleskine brand is the one consistent supplier of that design. Most of what I say about Moleskies, though, can be applied to any other “luxury” notebook of similar style.

Advertising

So, here are 5 good reasons to shell out your hard-earned dough on a double-digit priced notebooks:

Advertising

  1. Moleskines are durable. With their semi-hard, vinyl covers, Moleskine notebooks stand up to the rigors of back pockets and overstuffed bags better than most other notebooks — and far better than anything spiral-bound. Though there is a limit to how many times you can sit on your Moleskine before it permanently assumes the curve of your backside, it is generally quite easy to keep a Moleskine functioning for six months or longer. Spiral-bound notebooks unravel (and the wire gets caught on everything); paper-bound notebooks fall apart from moisture, friction, and general wear.
  2. Moleskines are book-bound. Because Moleskines are bound like books, they are easy to store on a bookshelf for easy reference, or to stack for storage. Plus the rigid covers give a strong supoprt against which to write, no matter where you are.
  3. Moleskines are expensive. That might not seem like a plus to you, but hear me out. Because Moleskines have a large-ish pricetag, compared with cheap spiral notebooks or staples notepads, they tend to be taken care of more — which means that when you need it, it’s not under the sofa, out in the car, or lost who-knows-where. Instead, it’s right there in your bag or pocket, where it belongs. The perceived value of Moleskines makes it easy to integrate them into a daily routine that keeps them handy. Plus, some of that perceived value spills over onto whatever you’re capturing in your notebook — it must be important if you’re willing to spend so much on it!
  4. Moleskines feel good. Moleskines just feel good to use. The paper takes ink nicely, and is a pleasant cream-color that’s easy on the eyes and lends a richness to yourwriting. The covers are smooth and just soft enough. All these things are important, if not purely essential — just like the heft of a good hammer is worth good money to a master carpenter who could build a bench just as easily with a cheaper one.
  5. Moleskines are actually kind of affordable. Don’t forget that Moleskines come in all different styles, including specialized notebooks for sketchinig, watercolor painting, and otehr specialties. A small pad of watercolor paper can easily exceed the price of a decent-sized Moleskine Watercolor book! Moleskine’s storyboard pads and pocket accordions are virtually unique — I don’t even know where you’d find them if Moleskine didn’t make them!

Like any product, Moleskine or similar notebooks are not necessarily for everyone. But for many, they fill a pressing need with style and functionality, and that’s no little thing, no little thing at all!

Advertising

More by this author

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works) Building Relationships: 11 Rules for Self-Promotion

Trending in Featured

1 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 2 How To Start a Conversation with Anyone 3 Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context 4 How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic Throughout the Day 5 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

Advertising

When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

Advertising

1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

Advertising

Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

Advertising

These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

More About Self-Learning

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next