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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Michael Bierut's Notebooks

Design Observer: 26 Years, 85 Notebooks

Why a notebook link from the guy who’s supposedly over notebook pr0n? Easy. This is all about how Michael Bierut has used his 85 notebooks over the past 26 years.

The notebooks function like a security blanket for me. I can’t go into a meeting unless I have my current notebook in my hand, even if I never open it. Because I carry one everywhere, I tend to misplace them a lot. Losing one makes me frantic.

It’s a fascinating mini-memoir, told through almost three decades of lines in a go-to capture tool. To me, this is much more about habits, cognition, and memory than paper and cardboard.

Like most designers, I get asked a lot about my process. A lot of my ideas are so simple and dumb that a simple dumb drawing is all it takes to describe it. I probably did the drawing for the cover of Tibor Kalman’s monograph in a meeting. Picture on the front, stacked type on the spine: what if we did something like this? That’s how it came out. If a process is supposed to have steps, to reflect a method, that isn’t much of a process.

I disagree. Any process that stops feeling like a process has become an ideal process.

[via: Kottke: 26 years of notes]

[Note: This post originally appeared on our daughter site, “43 Folders Clips,” and we liked it enough to republish it here.]

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

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