Customer Reviews: Moleskine Pocket Ruled Notebook
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I first encountered Moleskine notebooks in a bookstore in London this spring, and what lodged in my memory was their marketing claim to be "the legendary notebook of Hemingway," et cetera. I have since learned from various sources that those claims may be a touch exaggerated. But now that I own one myself and am starting to make daily use of it, I'm beginning to see, at least, why Moleskine notebooks have so many fans.

For more than ten years, I've used a calendar/day planner/all-your-information-in-one-place system that isn't just a notebook but has an entire philosophy about how you're supposed to live your life tied into it. I never bought into that aspect of the company, but have grown used to having one reference containing all that stuff between two covers, and with a place for a pen besides. Going from that to a Moleskine, with its one small pocket in the back and no place to put a writing instrument, is definitely a switch. It's the part of the change I'm least sure about. On the other hand, the Moleskine definitely wins for portability, ease of use, style, and handiness-to-have-around in case of brainstorms.

So I'm still not completely sold that this is the best of all possible notebooks. But it's definitely a good one, and I do appreciate both the attractiveness of the design and the quality of the construction. Sure, you can get a serviceable notebook for about a tenth of the price, and a whole "lifestyle system," updated annually, for quite a bit more. It's all a matter of taste, and my taste is starting to run in this direction.
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on May 25, 2006
I beat the hell out of everything I own. My PDA which this has partially replaced has an aluminum hardshell case and a metal body. I have broken just every watch I have ever owned (and I have/had a few excellent watches). I am naturally hard on things due to my focus on life not on my gear. This little notebook has kept itself together so far, while looking very hip.

I am a software engineer/project manager and am cognisant of my technological options, this is just faster, lighter and thinner than my PDA for scribbling notes. I am never without it in the office.

The back folio pocket and the elastic strap looked dumb when I first bought it. However, I use the folio pocket for receipts to be reimmbursed (better than leaving them in a pocket to be washed or thrown out)and the elastic strap serves double duty as a second bookmark and to keep the notebook together (keeping it closed helps it survive).

I like the construction and archival quality of the book. My notes look more like those of a disorganized madman than a manager (I am starting to wonder if they are synonomous) but if I ever have to refer back to them I can be assured that they will be there for a long time.

It only received 4 stars because they are [...] a piece and at my current scrawling rate, I will probably need about 4 or 5 a year. Just get your company to pay for it if you can, because they are notebooks that you can rely on to be there for a long while.

Lastly: For the person who likes their Montblanc notebook with tear out pages, they are partially missing the point. These books are for archiving and keeping records (of questionable usefulness in my case) not for making quick throw away notes. I also highly doubt that their notebook is as thin as one of these is either. Each have their own place.
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on January 15, 2005
I have always scoured the blank journals, diaries, notebooks, etc. for just the "right one", and after many that did suffice very well for their purpose -- I never leave home without my Moleskine. My Palm Pilot has been completely relegated to being nothing more than an electronic pocket map if I am traveling to some new place. Once again, all of my "data" is handwritten. These little notebooks each in their turn have been my "portable brain", and you really have to make a keen effort to fill them up because the pages go on and on. Grocery lists, phone numbers, addresses, mid-transit reminders of what I need to journal when I return home, journal entries when I am traveling, ISBN's of books to put on my wish list, business cards in the back pocket, etc. Less than a month after I purchased my first pocket Moleskine, I purchased a large one to replace my daily journal.

Don't let the smooth cover fool you. These little buggers can handle a serious beating. Mine get thrown in my purse, in coat pockets, jammed in my laptop case, tossed around the car, and plenty else without getting damaged. One sturdy little elastic strap keeps it all in good order and the pages are stitched rather than glued, so you have to consciously tear them out because they'll never fall out on their own.

Retire your PDA. Buy a Moleskine. (or three)
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on June 30, 2006
I bought the 3.5 x 5.5 ruled pocket version. By my standards, the best notebook I've ever used. The perfect size for my jacket or pocket. Acid free paper for long-term archival storage of my notes. Good to use an acid free ink for even longer storage (gel ink pens do not work well with the Moleskine's paper though). Looks professional, and I get a lot of nice comments about it. Much easier to use than turning on my PDA and slowly typing in notes with my thumbs. I also really like the fact that it will open completely flat on a table for easier note writing and reading. When this one is full, I plan to buy another. Price is higher than most, but with this Moleskine, you pay for the quality.
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on March 23, 2005
My Electric Blue Fisher Bullet and my Moleskine Notebook: two tools that never leave my presence. As one reviewer has already said, I too hope to be buried with my Moleskine in my back pocket. How to review something you live in?

My brother gave me one of these notebooks as a Christmas present two years ago. I have gone through several since. One accompanied me to Yellowstone; another keeps all my notes on the small group of kids I work with at Church (it is the Orange Van Gogh edition--since we are the "Orange Group").

I cannot say enough in praise of these little notebooks. They are tough and durable. They are the perfect size as far as I am concerned and (except for the Van Gogh editions) come with the ever-useful ribbon marker.

Moleskine Notebooks get my highest recommendation. Get one today!
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on April 15, 2005
The notebook, made by Modo & Modo, a firm created in the 1990's, is fine overall. But the paper quality could be higher-I can clearly see the writing on the other side, no matter what pen I use. I find the elastic band unnecessary and an annoyance upon closing the notebook. The binding and cover are sturdy though. So overall, it's a fine notebook, but nothing exceptional, and thus overpriced. There are other notebooks of similar format with equal or superior quality.

So my friend's enthusiasm for it perplexed me. To hear him, the "notebook" had just been invented; a new tool was available. As if no one had used a notebook before. I soon discovered the trigger for this attitude was the proclaimed "legendary" character of the notebook, with past users apparently including Hemingway, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, and others. The thought of using the same notebook as such intellectual giants was exciting to him, and unconsciously made him unduly pleased with his notebook.

This claim perplexed me, as years ago I saw Picasso and Hemingway notebooks, and my recollection of them was different. Hemingway was well-known for writing on notepads or in "blue French notebooks" and you can find several references to this on the Internet. On the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum web site, you can also see a picture of Hemingway's notebooks, which look just the way I remembered them, and nothing like the Moleskine notebook.

Another claim by Modo and Modo is appearances by its notebooks in various movies. It claims the Grail Diary in "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade" is a Moleskine. In fact, the diary is a prop made for the movie. You can see pictures and descriptions of it on the Indygear Web site. It has a soft, brown leather cover. The elastic band is loose, sometimes used horizontally, sometimes vertically. So the diary has nothing in common with a Moleskine.

The Modo & Modo claim of legendary history is thus deceptive. Their trademark of the word moleskine is also suspicious. Years ago, many notebooks had an oilcloth, moleskine cover, then the cheaper alternative to leather for a durable cover. These notebooks were not superior to what we have today; it was just what was available then. But there are many instances of people in the past, famous or not, using a moleskine-covered notebook. The trademark is a clear intention to be the exclusive beneficiary of this history. It's akin to getting a trademark on the word "leather", making notebooks, and claiming that anyone who used leather-covered notebooks used yours.

Modo & Modo is evidently using a deceitful, manipulative marketing campaign that plays on people's desire to have something in common with the legends. It claims a legendary history to get people unduly excited and affectionate of its notebook, promote sales, and command a higher price. Falling for this deception is certainly not the way to join the intellectual elite.
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on August 27, 2005
I have just one thing to say about my Moleskine nootbook that isn't praise. It's really not as durable as it seems. The spine of the book has a tendency to separate from the pages, right where the cover and the first page are glued together. Don't carry 'em in your pockets or they will be destroyed.
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on August 4, 2005
Don't know if Hemingway actually used this notebook or not....don't really care. It works great for me.

Functional - durable - unique. The hard shell and the fact that they open up nice and flat so you can use the front and back of each sheet without awkwardness is very nice. Million times better than a ring binder or those tightly bound journals that don't give you clean access to the whole sheet. Quality paper too. Like others have said this has replaced my PDA, and I'm a gadget freak so that is saying something.

Over-priced? Probably....but what isn't these days? I have pocket sized and large sized Moleskines and did not have to pay what they sell for here. They are still expensive but for me it has been worth it.

They make excellent gifts. Everyone I have given them to really like them and put them to use.
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on July 14, 2005
Paper can withstand even fountain pen ink without bleeding, the binding is excellent, it lies flat, great little wrap-around elastic to keep your place, a hidden pocket inside the back cover to keep miscellaneous ticket stubs, notes, papers. It is like having a mini-brief case all in one and it can slip into your pocket quite easily. You will appreciate it so much you will have a hard time deciding what to dedicate it to and actually begin to write in it.
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on April 22, 2005
I've been carrying it with me in addition to a nice pen, and have been writing down a lot of my thoughts, ideas, and reminders as I go about my day.

I've noticed two huge benefits to this:

1) I don't have to worry about forgetting things. For many years now I've been way too trusting of my faulty memory, which has failed me time and again. You know what I'm talking about. You think of something, an idea or a task you need to do and you think "Oh, I'm sure to remember it!" But then you forget, only to remember again later in frustration, usually when it's staring you in the face, past due, or the other usual consequences of procrastination.

2) Once I write something down in my pad, it's a relief. I don't have to think about it anymore. I don't have to remember it, because the notepad has it nice and safe for me. This allows me to keep going through my day without distraction. I'm one of those obsessive people who will turn an idea or thought over in my mind all day if I allow myself. Writing things down in a notepad clears the slate.

A little rant on the types of notepads out there, and why I chose the moleskine. We've all seen those awesomely cheap 'journals' and blank books in the clearance section of places like Borders and Barnes & Noble. I've bought a few of them. But they're usually big, bulky, and not easy to carry. Limiting the space to a 3x5 means you only have room to fit the core ideas down, nothing else. It also means that you can fill the page to your heart's content without going overboard. It's just the right space to remember or convey your ideas!
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