Every so often, someone will ask me, whether there is a specific book I would recommend to them. Usually, it is not about entertainment. Rather, it is in an area, where the person would like to learn more, to understand better. This is obviously tricky.

Context matters.

A good recommendation for you depends on the subject matter and it depends on you. My knowledge of either will be incomplete at best.

Yet, I like to help.

So, here is one book that I feel great recommending in most every case.

Notebook with pen.

Yes, a notebook.

Is the empty one more valuable than the one, where you have written on every page? No matter – you will want to turn the former into the latter, one page at a time. Once complete, get a new one and do it again. It is about the doing, more than the being done.

It is a simple thing.

Meaning is found between you and it.

Does this feel like a bit of a cheat? When you ask for a book recommendation, you are usually looking to read. In this case, you need to write, before eventually you can read. That is kind of the point though.

This type of book makes sense by itself as well as a companion to other books.


Every hour spent with your notebook offers opportunity for growth and learning. Whether it is reflection, provoking your imagination with interesting questions, journaling or other practices that you find effective for you. It is fundamentally about thinking in writing.

Writing is nature’s way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is.

Richard Guindon

The book you fill with your own thoughts will be more accurately representative of your thinking and relevant to your path at the time than any other book you could find.


No matter your field, if you peruse the material in some textbook, a piece of literature or a scientific paper – anything you want to study, to pursue in depth, then a notebook makes an excellent companion.

You recall in writing what you learned, you conduct thought experiments, you clarify your thinking, discover and follow questions, both solidify your understanding and push at the edges of it.

The source material provides you information, but with your notebook(s) you have an opportunity to process, to form connections, to make the material yours.

It is a place for deliberate work.

Pen and paper?

The right approach is the one that is effective and that you will actually use.

This is one that works for me.


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