How to Take Notes Like an Alpha-Geek (Plus: My $2,600 Date + Challenge)

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I take notes like some people take drugs.

There is an eight-foot stretch of shelves in my house containing nothing but full notebooks.

Some would call this hypergraphia (Dostoevsky was a member of this club), but I trust the weakest pen more than the strongest memory, and note taking is—in my experience—one of the most important skills for converting excessive information into precise action and follow-up.

Simple but effective note taking enables me to:

-Review book highlights in less than 10 minutes

-Connect scattered notes on a single theme in 10 minutes that would otherwise require dozens of hours

-Contact and connect mentors with relevant questions and help I can offer

-Impose structure on information for increased retention and recall

I fashion myself a note-taking geek of the first class. How dare I self-appoint myself into this priesthood? Relax, script kiddies. I’m using a much broader definition of “geek,” this one borrowed from “Understanding Geeks” in the current issue of Inc. Magazine (that said, I was recently on Geekbrief.tv, birthplace of the ubercool iYule.tv):

“Someone with an intense curiosity about a specific subject. Not limited to tech–there are also gaming geeks, music geeks, etc.”

Here are a few recommendations from inside the world of a compulsive note taker, including both the macro (books and notepad principles) and micro (page features and formatting):

1. Create an indexing system:

aj.jpg
Indexing AJ Jacobs’ latest book (click to enlarge all thumbnails)

Information is useful only to the extent that you can find it when you need it. Most of us have the experience of note proliferation—notes on the backs of envelopes, billing statements, hotel paper, etc.–that somehow never gets consolidated. Consolidate and create an index.

My favorite notepads (covered below) generally don’t have page numbers off the shelf. Here’s how you progress with a non-paginated pad:

A. Put page numbers on the upper-right of each right-hand page but not on the left (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.). I do about 30 pages at a time, as needed.

B. Whenever you complete a page, put the page number in an index on the inside cover (front or back) and a few words to describe the content.

If it’s on the left-hand page, just take the prior page and add “.5” to it. Thus, if you flip over page 10, for example, and write on the back, that second page is “10.5” in the index.

blog-brainstorms.jpg
Brainstorming blog post topics and paginating on the right-hand pages

The page numbers in the index do NOT need to be in order, as you’ll be scanning for content, then referring to the page. If you write on the same topic again, simply put that page number next to the previous index entry.

Creating an index like this for non-fiction books I read allows me to refer back and review key concepts in 5-10 minutes without rereading the entire book and searching for underlined sections.

stanford.jpg
Notes from “The Biology of Sleep” at Stanford University (Notice the bottom-right square allocated to follow-up questions, which is standard)


2. Choose the Proper Pad for the Job:

notepads.jpg
My current repetoire of active notepads.

Not all notepads are created equal.

This doesn’t mean that one is better for all things, just that you should match the form factor and durability of a notepad to the content.

Below is a photo of several different notepads I use:

-I use the big notebook, which contains graph paper, for larger projects such as future books, TV programs, feature-length articles, LitLiberation, conference panel notes, etc. I don’t want to turn 10 pages to get an overview of all the pieces of a single topic/event. Cons: terrible for traveling and intimidating for interview subjects. The larger the pad, the more reserved interviewees will be.

sxsw-1-with-person-follow-up.jpg
Notes from my first SXSW (Notice the bottom-right follow-up, in this case, people to contact)

blog-to-book.jpg
SXSW panel titled “Blog to Book”; Notice the bottom panel and how I number the participants so I can just label comments/notes with each respective number. No spacial guessing required.

-I use the hard-backed red rectangular notebook, bought in Milan, as a default notepad. It is the perfect fits-in-ass-pocket checkbook size. Telephone interview notes, lists (dreamlining, asset assessment, cash-flow projections), projects requiring less than 3 hours to complete, random observations about emotional state or internal problem solving, random silliness like songs (think Adam Sandler), etc. Here is one beauty, written at 4am during an airport layover after a sleepless red eye:

Triple Threat

The fattest midget I ever met
Some called him the triple threat
Ugly, dirty, and smelly yet
The fattest midget I ever met.

Hey… if you’re bound to have rare flashes of insight/stupidity, you might as well capture them on paper.

-The flexible softcover moleskine is excellent for interviews, especially if you are in motion or in the field. I’ve found, however, that if that is the only notebook I carry, I put in material I would prefer to preserve for months or years, and the soft moleskine gets ripped to pieces in backpacks, luggage, and pockets over just a few weeks. There are hardback versions, but they tend to be square-ish and fit poorly in pockets. I limit this format to interviews, contact info when on the run, and temporary to-do/not-to-do lists.

I don’t use digital notetaking tools. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve noticed that some of the most innovative techies in Silicon Valley do the same, whether with day-planner calendars, memo pads, or just simple notecards with a binder clip. It’s a personal choice, and I like paper. It can be lost, but it can’t be deleted, and I find it faster.

###

Odds and Ends: My $2,600 Date and a Challenge

The $2,600 Date:

So, what happened after I auctioned myself off for literacy fundraising on eBay?

Quite a few of you have asked, so here’s the scoop. The $2,600 date took place this past Saturday, and we had an AWESOME time. I promised I wouldn’t show pictures, but the smart young lass looks a lot like Natalie Portman, so the night immediately started off on a much-relieved foot. She’s a veeeery pretty girl.

Big smiles all around.

Festivities began at the famous Alfredo’s Steakhouse in SF, where Marco made the meal one to remember. The delicious medium-rare Chicago steaks were matched with wine I brought along, in this case, a particularly sentimental and special bottle: Rombauer Vineyards’ Proprietor Selection 2004 Zinfandel (think of it as this wine on steroids).

Bigger smiles all around.

Once full and well buzzed, we set off for the beginning of entertainment: seats 10 feet from the main platform at Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza. It was incredible, and as an acrobatics fetishist, it was in seventh heaven. Hard drumming, aerials, gainers, wheels of death… Here’s just a taste of what we feasted our eyes on:

After Cirque du Soleil… well, I’ll leave the rest of the date to your overactive imaginations! It’s entirely possible nothing happened, but if it had, I wouldn’t be one to kiss and tell. Some things are more fun left unexplained :)

The Dream Date Challenge:

What would your dream date look like?

Pick a city anywhere in the world, and for a budget of no more than $500, describe your dream date in 300 words or less (bullet points are fine). My favorite 5 will get at least 12 copies of the 1st printing (it’s now in the 25th) of The 4-Hour Workweek to give away as X-mas/Festivus presents.

Be specific… but go nuts!

Posted on: December 5, 2007.

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202 comments on “How to Take Notes Like an Alpha-Geek (Plus: My $2,600 Date + Challenge)

  1. I’ll go with Munich, Germany where I live, for the Dream Date. I like things to be relaxed and unpretentious, so there’s a lot of fun but little glamour in this one.

    * start off in a beer garden (simple outdoor restaurant) under oak trees by the river for dinner
    * walk up the embankment past ancient churches with the setting sun behind us bathing everything in a nice orange glow
    * take the Tram lines to the old Olympic centre for an evening of free outdoor concerts by local bands and artists in front of a crowded theatron
    * after this there’s an optional ride on the Ferris wheel if the fair is in season

    If a lady is interested, we’ll have to wait for late spring to get the required temperatures for outdoor evenings. And oh yeah, the budget for this is more like $40.

    Like

  2. Hello Tim,
    I really enjoyed this post. I have also discovered that I do much better with note taking when it is on paper. At work I have a moleskin softcover for meetings and other important info. As for the to do list… I used to have it on paper as well. I thought this was the only thing that worked. Turns out it was not the paper factor that made the difference, but the number of times I happened to glance at the list (how often I got reminded of my to do’s in other words). I now use the todoist.com tool online. It works because I look at my browser about a thousand times a day.

    It would be cool if you also shared your to do list system.

    Cheers from Switzerland,
    Lukas

    Like

  3. Very interesting. Could you talk a bit about the style you take notes in?

    I see lots of questions – any reason? How detailed are your notes?

    Like

  4. This is a great post; I can’t believe we still haven’t embraced the ‘paperless office’ in 2007. But it just doesn’t seem practical! Even I carry a “month to 2 pages” diary for “real life”, though I try and take notes using gmail and notepad. Consolidation is always an issue, because its tedious, and I haven’t really decided on a central repository.

    I might try this dream date in the next few weeks (trying to find a free weekend). I realise there are far more exotic locations in the world, and probably more fun ‘things’ to do, but I like to keep it simple, and I enjoy the time/place/person more than I do the expense/novelty (although novelty is still cool!):

    Perth, Western Australia
    - ferry to Rottnest Island early morning (you know that magic time just before the sun comes up… between about 6am and 7am?)
    - day snorkelling/beaching/general fun ;-)
    - lunch at a good french restaurant (there goes the budget!)

    Like

  5. Dream Date?

    I never really dated-not properly. I fell in love, and she said yes: we were married at 19. Now, approaching 5 years on, dates are intimate times with the one I love without all the pressure: is she the one, do I look OK, what if I embarrass myself?

    Still, it’s harder to hide surprises.

    Dream dates take preparation: she comes home to candles and something that’s been in the oven for hours. Cabernet Sauvignon and a home-made soup, while warm bread is taken out. Christian Forshaw on the stereo, and the most important part: some quiet, gentle time with the phone off the hook and no talk of plans or bills. Main served, and following is a gentle walk through the town, or along a track. Finally, something chocolatey and gooey (her choice) and a cuppa tea.

    Most of it’s cliche, but sometimes you need the old favourites to make it feel classy.

    Like

  6. Sure that should read
    “Thus, if you flip over page 10, for example, and write on the back, that second page is “10.5” in the index.”

    [)amien

    ###

    Oops! Right you are. Fixed. Thank you :)

    Tim

    Like

  7. I am such an easy date – almost anything which involves exploring, talking, intimate “adventures”, and… I love breakfast. So, just pulling something out of the sky:

    –in a foreign city where I can understand some of the language and read enough to order a menu or comprehend street signs (English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, etc)… (Just having returned from Shanghai – I realize that I like at least knowing an alphabet).

    –wandering the streets poking into shops, watching street shows, maybe nibbling on partial meals, wine, coffee here and there – like taking in a sample of the town. Nothing too loud or crowded: no bars, nightclubs, etc. The weather is cool enough for wandering but not too hot and not too blustery. Talking, enjoying, taking-in the surroundings, deep conversations about philosophy or sidewalks or shoe-leather – everything. Laughing and discovery seems to fit right right.

    –winding up together back in a cozy [homey] location to explore each other also… for the rest of the evening.

    –and the best part, rich fragrant coffee and breakfast in a cafe the next morning, continuing the conversation and feeling deepened by our night’s various explorations of mind, soul, and body.

    You asked ;)

    Like

  8. “If it’s on the left-hand page, just take the prior page and add “.5” to it. Thus, if you flip over page 10, for example, and write on the back, that second page is “15.5” in the index.”

    Tim,
    Should that be 10.5? Great post!

    Like

  9. My Dream Date?

    This date would certainly be with my fiancee. She is my dream girl, and I’m glad to have found her. So, on to the date.

    If this date could be anywhere, it would be Ireland (she has always wanted to go there). I’d find a nice, little village with that rustic beauty and quiet charm and start things out with a nice meal that I made for her, a nice hand selected cut of steak, grilled medium just for her with her favorite mix of vegetables (carrots, broccoli and nice baked potato with chives and garlic butter). I’d top the steak with a touch of Monterrey Jack cheese with some mushrooms satuteed in garlic butter.

    For a touch of wine, I would go with a 1998 Petrus Pomerol merlot. My father gave me this bottle of wine on New Years Eve of 2000, and I’ve been saving it for the right occasion. If this wouldn’t qualify as the right occasion, no other one will.

    After dinner, we’d take in the Irish country side and enjoy the night. We are both real night hawks and love being away from the lights of the city so we can star gaze.

    To end the night, we’d make love under the stars and lay with one another to watch the sun rise.

    and that my friends, is my idea of a dream date.

    Like

  10. My dream date would be in Copenhagen where I live, since I want to see how well she fits in my reality. First we would go shoot a deer north of Copenhagen, then cut it up and prepare it over the bonfire. Then we would do a Crossfit workout to burn off the calories, and afterwards make a shelter in the woods where we would finger-paint each other with nutella all night in the moonlight :-)

    Like

  11. Dream Date:

    - Walk down to the lake and have a picnic together, with awesome homemade sandwhiches of course(made by you).

    - Talk. No distractions or others around.

    - Walk back home to start making a fantastic dinner together. Once the fantastic dinner is made and eaten, let her pick a DVD to watch. While she is picking, do the dishes and clean up the kitchen.

    - Take out dessert, that you made, preferably something chocolate and start watching the movie and eating.

    - Once the movie is over, talk a little more before taking her home(you did pick her up, right?).

    - Remember you are a gentleman, open and hold any door that she goes through.

    -When at her place walk her to her door. Say your goodnights, maybe with a kiss and go back home floating on air.

    Like

  12. i guess i must be a cheap date, but $500 to me sounds like wayyyy more than necessary for a dream date… i could turn that into a whole day, a whole weekend (or longer, depending on the country… heading to bali in a few weeks, $500 would last my entire stay!) =)

    i’ve traveled to many romantic places and while paris comes to mind as my ideal setting for a romantic dream date, i’ll have to spend my hypothetical $500 on a day here in my current hometown of honolulu:

    - wake up early to watch the sunrise out at sandy beach on the east side
    - go for a run together around diamond head and stop to check out the early morning surfers getting in a morning session
    - breakfast at the kapiolani community college farmer’s market, sample all the local produce and made-in-hawaii products
    - picnic lunch from diamond head grill (mmmm… grilled portobello mushroom with balsamic jus!)
    - drive out to the north shore via the windward side, stop along the way at the fruit stands, beaches, etc. and make sure to take in all the beautiful scenery
    - grab a shrimp scampi plate from giovanni’s shrimp truck (accept no immitators!) and head to – where else! – sunset beach for another fabulous hawaiian sunset. =)

    all of that would definitely cost less than $100, so we’d have enough to splurge on a stay at the turtle bay resort for the evening.

    this is all assuming, of course, that my dream man comes along with my dream date package. now there’s something money can’t buy… ;)

    Like

  13. Dream Date:

    With my beautiful girlfriend Em and in the town that we first met in…Las Vegas. The date begins with a trip for her to the saloon, so she can relax and beautify. Then onto The Pink Taco at the Hardrock–this was the place of our first date two years ago. After much good food and margaritas, I would take her to Cirque du Soleil’s newest show(nice one on that Tim). We would top off the night in a suite with champagne and looking out over the Vegas strip! Maybe this ends with making her something more than a girlfriend :)

    This is such a great idea…think I will book it! We will be in Vegas in March for a tradeshow!

    Like

  14. I’ll take a stab at a dream date. If you’re not familiar with Utah some of these locations may not mean anything to you, but I’ll do my best to describe. I’m quite fond of (ok madly in love with) my wife, so this date is all day, and the kids are with grandma.

    - Breakfast at the “Over the counter cafe”. A hole-in-the-wall always packed with blue collar workers that serves the best omelets you can get anywhere, period. (Breakfast for two, and tip $30)

    - Skiing at Utah’s best ski resort, Alta. Some may disagree, but though Alta lacks some the niceties of fancier resorts, e.g. Deer Valley, they have the best snow, and it’s skiers only–sorry no boarders. (two lift passes, and cocoa at the lodge, $90)

    - Lunch at Ruth’s (another known-by-locals-only diner, and a short drive from Alta) Patio dining, beautiful view, great food. ($60)

    - Shopping at the Gate Way (an upscale outdoor mall) because my wife loves to shop. Stroll around, buy her something nice. ($100)

    - Laughing, playing, snow men and snow balls at Library Square. (Free)

    - Dinner at the Market Street Grill, the best fresh fish in the state. To-die-for crab dip to start, followed up by wild sea bass. ($100)

    - Coffee desert at “The Salt Lake Roasting Company”. Great fresh roasted coffee, wonderful cheese cake made in house daily. ($15)

    - A night off without kids, downtown hotel. ($100)

    Like

  15. I take notes because it helps me remember. Essentially, if I write it down it comes back to me immediately. If I don’t write it down, I’ll never remember it again.

    You’re note taking is on par with Thomas Edison. Here are two links to posts on lifehacker.com that discuss similar topics and methods for notetaking:

    1) http://lifehacker.com/software/productivity/take-notes-like-thomas-edison-309502.php

    2) http://lifehacker.com/software/note-taking/geek-to-live-take-great-notes-167307.php

    Happy Holidays!

    Like

  16. Tim, great post on notetaking. Especially useful idea about pagination and indexing.

    I’ve been keeping journals/sketchbooks since my freshman year of art school, over 30 years ago, and at this point have an encyclopedia set of them on my shelf. The pages aren’t numbered, but every entry has a date. They contain drawings, diary writing, ideas for paintings and song lyrics. I got in the habit of using the last page of the journal to keep a running list of books I read; title, author, date completed and stars next to the good ones (4HWW is in there w/ a big star). So I now have a list of every book I’ve read for the past thirty years, which is a great resource for retrieving information I’ve come across, as well as recommending books to friends.

    The journals I use are 8 1/2 x 11 hardcover sketchbooks, available in any art store. The size works for me because it’s big enough for drawing and writing in, and small enough to easily fit in a backpack. I pretty much always have one with me. If by some chance I’m out in a restaurant without it and get an idea for something, it’s easy to make a note on a napkin or something and paste or copy it into the journal when I get home.

    Here’s a post I wrote on Art & Perception about keeping journals.

    Like

  17. Ahh, another note taking aficionado. Clearly, Tim, from reading your book, The 4-hour Workweek, you are a note taker. Academics often fall into this category, myself being one of them. The Brainstorming section I supplment with mind mapping. A fantastic way to generate ideas and get the notes organized.

    Professor Click

    P.S. I’ll leave the date challenge to those who want dates.

    Like

  18. Ideal Date:
    In New Orleans:
    > You start at the bar at the Loews Hotel. Get Lu Brow (bartender of the year in N.O.) to fix both of you a sazerac (first cocktail in existence). Its a production and its a treat! Lots of great conversation warming up the evening.
    > If the weather permits, walk into the French Quarter. Walking allows bodies to interact that sitting does not. The wonderful lights and old shops encourage us to believe we are in our own world.
    > Make our way to Bayona. A restaurant of extraordinary delights. Its adult and warm and beautiful. Oysters, sauces, rich meats/seafood and great wine are topped off with great desserts. We take our time and every table in the place is turned over 1.5 times while we are there.
    > Then we walk and talk some more in the Quarter. Maybe window shop on Royal St. looking at art, antiques and jewelry. We exchange views about various purchase options and learn more about what each other likes.
    > Then we walk out of the Quarter to the Windsor Court Hotel. Because a dream date deserves a dream destination.
    > Next morning, we get up and walk back into the Quarter to Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets. The quintesential Nawlins breakfast. We people watch and enjoy the final moments with one another.
    > We part with a full list of wonderful moments and memories . . .or maybe we decide to do the whole thing over again tonight.

    Like

  19. Dream Date:

    I LOVE boutique hotels. I simply cannot get enough of them. When I lived on the east coast, my favorite was The Glenn in Atlanta. For birthdays and anniversaries, I used to take my ex-boyfriend to this hotel. I would buy the “Sleep With Me” package which includes dinner, one night’s accommodations, and adult “play-time” items already waiting for you in the room. The rooms are incredibly beautiful with glass encased showers and bathtubs right there in the bedroom. Definitely a seductive but highly romantic get away. The food is American fusion. The restaurant is called B.E.D. and you actually hang out on queen sized beds as you eat and drink cocktails. There is also a beautiful bar on top of the skyscraper with music and a beautiful night view of the glowing city of Atlanta. You can definitely have an evening at this hotel for around $500 all inclusive. But, for really special occasions, splurging for the Jezebel suite or one of the Dream Suites is absolutely worth every damn penny. I have many precious memories at that hotel. It certainly made for many “dream dates”.

    My dream date now would be to discover a new boutique hotel together. The hotel would not need to expensive, just interesting and out of the ordinary. We would head out to dinner somewhere fun or fancy. It wouldn’t matter. I just love exploring cities together. We would definitely have to catch a live band as I am a musician myself and can never get enough live sound. After a fun night on the town, we’d head to the room and have a little more fun on our own. A scheduled breakfast by room service the next morning would close the date (certainly not the first dates! hahaha) wonderfully.

    That would be my next dream date once the right guy falls in my lap again.

    Like

  20. Dream date:

    This one is easy. The $500 buys my wife and I a babysitter for the weekend while we go wander aimlessly through Paris and rediscover one another. An added bonus would be the magical emptying of the Louvre to give us full run of the place to enjoy its contents at our leisure.

    Like

  21. Finally I have some sort of expertise in an area… The trick for a first date is not to come across to desperate to impress, but to leave a lasting impression of originality. Quite the balance to calibrate.

    New York City:

    Head to Chelsea and hit some golf balls at Pier 59 to loosen the mood and get the blood flowing. Nothing says unpredictable as much as a woman hitting some golf balls in her heels (or vans =) )! After half hour, lead yourselves over to the funky, laid back “The Red Cat” restaurant at 227 Tenth Ave.

    One review:

    “Best lighting for romance; great New York atmosphere- upscale casual elegance. Artsy but unpretentious. Amazing food and the bartender can make a Rob Roy. Some wondeful wines on hand and if you need help choosing between a Rioja, Malbec or syrah”

    After the meal, head for a coffee/hot chocolate at Starbucks, take and sip on your 5-minute stroll to the “Frying Pan” at Pier 63. An old boat, that has been brought to Chelsea Piers where it has been docked for a few years. The Frying Pan has been renovated inside for a cozy relaxing conversation, but it’s usually hired out for parties on weekends, but weeknights is usually relatively open. If too packed, you can sit on the deck and watch boats go by in the Hudson.

    This date definitely fits my vibe and won’t run you over $100. Spend the rest on the next few dates, because this date will guarantee to get her impressed. (If you have a engaging personality!) If you really want to spend the $500, then head for a private helicopter tour around NYC to top it off.

    Like

  22. I know that after your date your mind is on adult romance, but there are other sorts of dates you can also call ‘romantic’. I have several times met an adult child of mine in a city (London, Barcelona, New York City) after a long(ish) absence. We wander the city for a few days, talking, looking around, eating well, visiting museums, and talking some more. We connect in a profound way which is not possible without that sort of intensity. (This plan combines the virtues of quality time with quantity time and full immersion.)
    I look forward to creating these sorts of memories with my boyfriend as well, when we can. The point for me really is that it is less about the specific activity than it is about the intensity and focus of the connection.
    Oh: and great info on the note-taking. It is a better system than I now have and I will adopt yours ASAP!
    Miriam

    Like

  23. Table Rock Lake (near Branson, Mo)

    Find someone to stay with the kids and rent a pontoon boat for the day at the lake. Get out early in the morning when the sun is coming up and the water is still smooth and explore the lake looking for a small, quiet cove to anchor up. Spend the day relaxing, talking, looking at everything we’ve done together over the last year and coming up with a list of what we want to accomplish in the next one. We have four small kids (10 and under) so some time during the day just being together but quiet and reading or holding hands would be nice too. Picnic type lunch, swimming, diving from the bluffs, etc. Later in the afternoon we’d pull up and dock up at the restaurant at Campbell Point. It floats right on the lake. We’d have dinner there, watch the sun go down over the hills, and listen to the band that night.

    $150.00 – Pontoon Boat Rental
    $60.00 – Fuel
    $50.00 – Lunch
    $100.00 – Dinner
    $100.00 – Baby (kid) sitter
    ———-
    $460.00 at most

    Like

  24. We would start in Windhoek, Namibia by renting a van from my local friend. We’d connect a fridge/freezer to the van and store plenty of water, food & wine.

    We’d take our camping gear: sleeping bags and tents..

    Heading south we’d take the untraveled roads in the desert until we reach a little known place that was colonized by the Germans in the late 1950′s. The place is beautiful because there’s nothing around for hundreds of miles, except a local tribe whom you can barter with for precious stones.

    We would set up our tent and stay there for a few days, or until we got bored. The place is beautiful. There’s a nearby mountain which contains a pool that collects rainwater, where you can take a bath or do laundry.

    During the day, we would collect precious stones simply by looking around and digging into the ground a bit. We’d find all sorts of amazing things. At night, we’d start a camp fire and invite the local tribe to join us..

    Believe me, you’ll never forget this place..

    Here are the pictures:

    http://positionleap.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=62

    Like

  25. I’ll assume I’m already in the city and don’t have to spend my money to get there.

    I would surprise my sweethear with dinner on the balcony of the penthouse of the King Solomon hotel in Jerusalem. It overlooks the Mount of Olives which is lit up beautifully by a full moon.

    I would have a romanitc but traditional dinner served (cheaper than some fancy cuisine)and aske the hotel to prepare a flamed coffee drink (and someting stronger added)with great ceremony in front of my love after our leisurely meal.

    After the wait-staff had left I would read my date love poetry from the book of Solomon from the bible. Some of the most beautiful and erotic love poetry written and best of all written by the man the hotel is named after.

    I would then unroll a cushy blanket and fall asleep with my beloved under the stars.

    In the morning I would wake my beloved with thick sweet coffee and a fresh pastry.

    PS Haven’t been to Jerusalem for twenty five years so my apologies if my memory doesn’t match the facts. :)

    Like

  26. It’s not the most unusual itinerary, but the date would be pretty special….

    Friends have already heard this from me (Six Degrees of Separation, you never know…). My ideal date: I’d like to invite Keanu Reeves to a Maple Leafs game, then to a jazz club afterwards, maybe The Rex. It’s a great place on Queen Street in Toronto. If the date were in Toronto this would cost me a few bucks as I’m from the Philadelphia area (trying to stay in your budget), but if it were an away Flyers/ Maple Leafs game we could do dinner, too, maybe at the excellent Pasion in Phila. It doesn’t take much more than that to figure out if two people have anything to say to each other.

    Can’t happen if you don’t say it out loud, right?

    Like

  27. Having been to some of the most beautiful places on Earth: China, Thailand, a few mind- blowing national parks, I still believe that the perfect date doesn’t depend on the scenery, the food, or being dazzled by something you can buy; all the matters is the other person and proving to them that they are special. On a cold night in North Dakota….

    We’ll start by grabbing his favorite cup of coffee at a local place and surprising him at work. Then we’ll drive downtown to the tiptop of the parking garage (one of the tallest buildings in town) and watch the sunset fill the sky with flames while our favorite metal band plays in the background. After we’ll take a walk around the quaint, tiny downtown blocks while the stars start to peek through their black blanket. While watching our breath and pretending we’re fire-breathing dragons we’ll wander over to his favorite dinner place and get the barbeque nachos we always share plus a few drinks (they’ve got his import beer.)

    Now with the five hundred minus food I’ll have done a little shopping before hand. We’ll walk out of the back of the restaurant and voila a bicycle built for two waiting for us! (But it’s only rented) We will then bike back to the bike shop where he’ll see a brand new bike waiting for him. We’ve been sharing mine so he’ll be ecstatic. From there we’ll head to this place on campus that has a fireplace and a huge mosaic hanging above. I’ll whip out a picnic basket from nearby with grapefruit, banana bread and volcano sushi (first date/long story). We’ll munch to our hearts content, dream wild dreams and talk about all the marvelous things we want to do together with every moment we’ve got.

    Like

  28. Dinner in the North End at a quiet Italian restaurant. Following good with great is a 1st base line, 1st row, Boston Red Sox game. This offers the lady and I ample opportunity to get to know each other and share in a Red Sox victory. Cap the night off (if it went well) with some drinks at a relaxed bar and then who knows.

    Like

  29. I already had one and here it reads!

    I had just asked this amazingly beautiful girl, working as a hostess at a prestigious fondue restaurant on a Friday night date. She accepted and I set the tune to 7pm pick-up with 8:30 reservations. That Friday I was running errands as usual; I picked up an outfit at Nordstroms and groomed myself with a hair-cut and manicure. Driving home to shower, with my clothes in the back I decided to stop off for a cup of cofee. Just as I entered the doors at Starbucks I thought to myself “S*@t!, I locked my keys in the car!!F%$k!” I immediately ran across the street to Target where I purchased metal coat hangers and immediately ran all the way back in panic! I attempted for twenty minutes to “jimmy” open my car door with a coat hanger before finally calling a locksmith in desperation. Sixty dollars later and 6:52pm I drove like a maniac home to shower and drove to pick her up. Miraculously I made it to her work less than ten after!
    I drove to the Venetian in Las Vegas where we ate at Canaletto, one of their Italian restaurants. The food was exquisite and her beautiful blue eyes glowed in the lighting of the restaurant. After dinner we spent a few moments walking about and sharing gelato, until I surprised her by taking her on a private gondola. That night we shared our first kiss on a gondola under a bridge, while our boat rower was singing romantic songs in Italian.

    Also I wanted to add that I have read “The 4-Hour Work Week” several times and I am such a huge fan of your work and lifestyle. Next month I’m leaving the 9-5 work and pursuing my passion for entrepreneurship while keeping my college classes. See you on top ;)

    Like

  30. Because I feel that the most meaningful parts of any date are the unorchestrated bits, I really can’t answer the question in the way it is posed.

    Any date that has a prayer of evolving beyond a mere social contract must take on a life of its own.

    Eye contact, spontaneous laughter, affection and a sense of seeing a previously unrevealed aspect of the other person are key – whether it’s a first date or an event within the context of a long-term relationship.

    Further, if the whole goal of the perfect date is to make the rest of the world disappear – even if only for a moment – doesn’t worrying about the other details seem unnecessary?

    Like

  31. @ malia – I was just in Hawaii and did almost all of what you describe as the perfect date, just by myself. haha. I’m aiming to spend a full month or more in Hawaii in 2009 because my vacations there, though short, are always memorable and every day feels like the perfect date (with myself!) hahaha

    Giovanni’s – Yummo!

    My dream date: I grew up in Florida and I love the ocean with all my heart. I would rent a sailboat for a few hours with the $500 and toast the sunset or enjoy early morning mimosas on the way to go snorkeling or fishing. If the young lad had a boat, then I would just supply a fine dinner on board with catered service and butler of some sort. God, I need a boyfriend.

    Would love the books Tim! I am planning to give 4HWW to friends as gifts for the holidays, and the copies would help me stay on my track to a debt free life! :o) I talk about the book so much to friends and family, that I figured my friends should read it just to keep up with me!

    Like

  32. Take a drive with me down the old highway that leads from Flagstaff to Phoenix. We’ll stop first at the lookout point before driving down the switchbacks, hearts in our mouths as we stare at the awesome wall of rock on the right, and the mind-boggling drop to the left, hundreds of feet down into the canyon below.

    Sedona is beautiful, full of red bluffs, kitschy boutiques and a laid-back atmosphere. Nearby, lava has carved chutes in the rock, now filled with water, and they serve as a natural water slide in Sliding Rock Park. We’ll stop there in town, buy some good wine and a few culinary treasures to feast on, then double back to the secret places between the switchbacks and the tourist traps—down in the canyon where the creek winds its way through the trees which hide everything else from view.

    There is an old pump house there. Nothing more than ruins, a few old pipes and the gurgling water of the creek are the only sights and sounds. Nothing but green beauty all around.

    That’s where you’ll find me and my husband Dave and our baby daughter this coming spring. A little bit of paradise in a simple picnic in a beautiful patch of nature.

    He’s never been there, my husband, and I haven’t lived in Arizona since I was a child. But its fierce beauty calls to me reminding me of childhood summers spent visiting friend’s vacation homes there in that canyon.

    Like

  33. My dream date would be with my wife in the city she’s dreamed of visiting…Paris. We met in high school and the first time we spoke I told her she was the one and we would get married. We’ve been together 10 years now, married 5. We work together and are inseperable. On this date in Paris and we would have a nice dinner at Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. From there we would simply walk the streets of Paris and appreciate the sights and sounds. We always love just being together, talking about nothing. My dream date would be doing this in a place she’s always dreamed of seeing and just being together.

    Like

  34. Given a likeminded female accomplice, I would double-dog-DARE her to contest me in an Iron Chef style cookoff. Rather than have a secret ingredient, we would present to a panel of judges (mutual friends, of course) ethnic dishes from a land far-a-way.

    As I am a completely crap cook, we’d each head to the nearest airport with our $500, 2 passports, and an overnight bag. After booking the first “last minute flights” we can get our hands on, we would head off to our randomly determined destination and get cooking classes from locals for 2-3 days.

    Upon returning, we would have the judging ceremony and I would bribe the judges in her favor with whatever money I have left (jerks, you’d figure the food would be enough).

    This might be a bit heavy for a ‘date’, but I think any girl you can get to agree to this just might be a keeper.

    Like

  35. You wouldn’t think of Washington, DC, as a romantic destination, but that’s where my wife and I met so it has romantic associations for me. We’d start the morning at Rock Creek Park watching the Potomac bubble over the rocks before it becomes all sedate and respectable further downstream. Then I’d take her to the Washington National Cathedral and the spot near St. Joseph’s Chapel where I asked her to marry me the first time (it didn’t “take” right away, but it was okay and things worked out fine a few months later). If it’s still there, we would have lunch at the Greek place in Arlington where we went on our first date.

    After that, we could go back into the District and catch the Amtrak express to New York City. (Amtrak’s no Orient Express, but the trip would give us lots of time to talk, read, watch a movie together on an iPod, or just watch the scenery; besides, flying would blow our budget.) We’d get to Penn Station with plenty of time for some window-shopping before heading over to hear Andrea Marcovicci sing Rodgers and Hart at the Algonquin. We’d have the prix fixe dinner there before the show, and dessert at the Stage Deli afterwards.

    After that … night in Manhattan? We’ll think of something. We’ve already paid for round-trip Amtrak tickets so we can sleep on the train back south.

    Like

  36. For starters my dream date would be with my beautiful wife of 17 years, Tess. Our date would occur in late Fall so we could experiece the Monarch Butterflies of Pacific Grove. We would fly in a rented Cessna 172, that I would pilot, from Sacramento(where we live) to Monterrey. After arriving we would drive a rental to Pacific Grove and visit the Monarch Butterfly Reserve, sipping some espresso while enjoying the mid-morning sun and a picnic lunch of world cheeses, breads and sausages. We would then make our way to the beautiful art galleries and market streets of Carmel where would we would then enjoy each other’s company in an early dinner at Chianti Ristorante accompanied by a bottle of 1993 Clos du Bois Merlot that I bought many years ago. After dinner I would take her to Lulu’s Chocolates to drink coffee and enjoy a masterful chocolate creation. At the end of the day we would fly back to Sacramento with the sun setting behind us and reminisce about the perfect day we just spent together and how our love grows stronger each year.

    Airplane Rental-$104/hr(including fuel)@ 2.5 hrs. – $260.00
    Rental is for actual hours flown
    Car Rental – economy car (unlimited miles) – 29.00
    Gas – 5 gallons @ $3.29/gal – 16.45
    Espresso – 2 cups of fine espresso – 8.00
    Picnic Lunch – breads, cheeses and sausage – 34.00
    Dinner – Best Italian dinner anywhere – 105.00
    Dessert – Coffee & Chocolate – 16.00
    The perfect date with my beautiful wife – Priceless

    That is a total of $468.45, leaving $31.55 for any error in math.

    Like

  37. THE DREAM DATE OF DREAM DATES!!!!!!!!!!!

    It starts out on a cool morning in NYC on the corner of Wall St & Broadway. A warming cup of simple coffee with half/half. The location, simple but comforting: Borders(great books and awesome atmosphere. With my dream date girl we talk there for about two hours and let the hustle and bustle of Wall St settle down. We then move locations, we take the L train to Brooklyn. In the moist air of Brooklyn we walk through the streets and notice all the various things going on, from businesses to kids playing in the street. It is about noon now and we head back to downtown Manhattan. We arrive at Battery Park, and take a long two hour walk through it, discussing our dream vacations and planning out our weekend.
    Next, we go to the Statue of Liberty and check it out. We admire its great presence and are then motivated to go for a run through the park. After the intense workout we go to hotel and prepare for the evening plans(can’t give up the details of the hotel part!! :)) We then go to Tribeca Grill( Robert DeNiros Restaurant) and enjoy 4 glasses of cabernet followed by an exquisite salmon. We then decide to venture to Gotham Comedy Club and break into some humorous times. We watch Orny Adams live and can hardly sit still because we are laughing sooo loud(we almost get kicked out for being too loud) Afterwards, we retire back to the hotel for some wine and some chocolate……….

    What a great day this has been, a concoction of simplicity with some mild extras!!!!! AH ALAS……………..THE DREAM DATE!!!!!!!

    Like

  38. Dream Date would be the wife and I at a nice winery, located in the Tuscany country side. Spending some time touring the winery and walking the vineyards. Then inside to be greeted by Mario Batali where under his guidance he teaches us the preparation of his favorite dishes that we match with wines from the winery. After cooking we enjoy the food on an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyards watching the sun sink beyond the horizon, while trying a few more wines.

    Like

  39. Tim, I have not read your book, but I have visited to skim your posts a few times. I find this post on note taking very useful. Thank you for sharing the tips.
    Since you are inviting members to contribute on dream date and because I haven’t read your book, I am going to contribute.

    Like

  40. I am very fortunate to be in love with the most beautiful person I know. We recently got married three times, yes, three times !
    We both enjoy variety of tastes from around the globe and like to immerse ourselves in cultures foreign to us. Therefore, I would like to take her out on a surprise date to one of the quaint neighborhoods in Toronto for a gastronomical and cultural feast. This is how it would go:
    1- I would welcome her home from after work with couple stems of fresh and sweet smelling Lily’s, from our neighborhood florist. Price ………$5
    2- Gift her a beautiful necklace from the Tenthousand Villages. Price……..$12.
    3- After the flowers and necklace, we leave for a quaint neighborhood, say Korea town, riding TTC using a day pass. Price……. $8.50.
    4- Walk around the various stores and shops in the neighborhood looking for a place to eat. Scoping out a place teeming with locals satiates our sense of discovery. Given that this is a special date, I want back up, therefore I will reserve a table at our favorite restaurant in Toronto – Pomegranate. Price…………$60
    5- After dinner we will head over to Review Cinema at Rocensville and catch a movie from France or Sweden.Price……….. $20.
    6- Head back sipping organic dark hot chocolate from Delights. Price…….$8
    7- Get home and crawl under the sheets !. Price……Priceless !

    Like

  41. Great last post.

    My dream date: of course the date itself comes secondary to enjoying the company the person. Considering this a prerequisite, my dream date could take place in nearly any medium-large city which I know well and like. Rome, Madrid, Chicago, New York, or Sao Paulo would all be perfect candidates (these are cities I know, although I am sure many others could potentially qualify.) It starts meeting for a cup of coffee at a nice, calm place (in Chicago, my experience on which this post is based, it was intelligentsia–www.intelligentsiacoffee.com). Three hours of scintillating conversation and people-watching go by in what seems like the blink of an eye. The coffee shop is followed up by a walk through the city, enjoying its unique scenery, its people art, and whatever else comes to mind. Everything is spontaneous–we may stop for a movie or show, but it will not be planned out. Spontaneity is essential. Dinner, after six to eight hours after meeting up will be at a romantic location (again, for me, it was geja’s cafe http://www.gejascafe.com). The place s come across randomly, but ends up being perfect by shear luck (of course any place would be perfect because of how well youve hit it off). And whether or not anything happens can again be left up to the imagination–but either way, you are both sure you want to see each other again.

    Like

  42. $500 is a LOT of money. Here’s the context: My boyfriend is Australian, I’m Malaysia. We both go to uni in Australia together but during the holidays we go back to our respective houses.

    Here’s what I’d do with that money:

    * Book a return ticket from the Gold Coast to KL on AirAsia for Mark – that wouldn’t even reach $400 I reckon.
    * Get Mark here to Malaysia on said flight
    * Take him out to enjoy all sorts of Malaysian food. Malaysia has the BEST food in the world HANDS DOWN. You can eat a lot for less than $10 a day. (this is possibly where the rest of the money goes, lol)
    * Go to Borders in Berjaya Times Square, which is MASSIVE, and lounge around in the bookstore. Or go to Payless and revel in the masses of cheap secondhand books.
    * Eat.
    * Take him around the pirated CD shops as a lark. MS Office for $5! If he wants to buy any CDs that’s his responsibility…*whistles*
    * Bring him down to the Kota Tinggi waterfalls – I grew up going there very often, and while it’s not necessarily impressive it’s still beautiful and good fun.
    * Eat more food!
    * Take a ferry to an island (Tioman? Sibu?), rent a chalet, snuggle up together
    * Celebrate the next day with MORE FOOD.

    Easily doable.

    Like

  43. I already had my dream date. This was a lot of fun. We hadn’t known each other long and we’d just arrived at the stage of going out on real dates. We picked a night, and for days I thought about how to make it really stand out. I picked out flowers, cards, music. I got into it, and the whole time, treasured each act from a very centered and relaxed place.

    That night, I picked her up at her house and asked her to grab a silk scarf I’d given her a week before. Blushing, she complied, and we hopped in the car. We drove North along the Pacific Coast Highway with the sun setting slowly over the edge of the Pacific. As we approached LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) I drove up the exit ramp. She looked at me surprised.

    “Are we flying somewhere?” she asked. I just smiled.

    As you leave Sepulveda Boulevard there, a ring of cylindrical towers lines the exit round. Each tower changes color, shifting gracefully from purple to green to red to yellow, and rising into the orange sky with a Los Angeles sunset, the night was approaching that ironically beautiful L.A. romance that most of the world assumes is impossible. I pulled the car into the “Departing Flights” lane and made my way up to the curb. I asked her to stay in her seat and came around the car. I helped her out and asked, “Are you ready?”

    She nodded. And I tied the scarf around her eyes as a blindfold. I put her back in her seat and, I drove around for forty-five minutes.

    We talked, told jokes, and got comfortable. Every once in awhile, at a stop-light, someone would notice that she was blindfolded. I’d smile knowingly back at them without making a big deal. I didn’t want her to get self conscious.

    I took a couple extra turns to be sure she had no idea where we were going. Once we arrived, I parked close to the front so she wouldn’t have to walk too far blindfolded. I helped her across the parking lot and realized as we approached that there was trouble. The show was closed for a private exhibit. I walked my date to a short wall, placed her hand on it and asked her to wait.

    This was the final weekend for this particular show, and it had come up in conversation more than once. I knew I didn’t have another chance to get us in there and I couldn’t believe, on a Friday night, the last weekend before leaving town, they were closed for some hot shot. But its LA and people can pay for anything they want.

    I walked over to an attendant who had caught sight of us. She saw my date, standing against the wall, demure, frail, attentive, and the attendant’s face fell. “You went to a lot of trouble for tonight, didn’t you,” she said. I nodded, hoping against hope. She reassured me, patting my forearm. “Wait right here,” she said.

    I went back to check on my date. She was nervous but promised she was having fun.

    “I can smell the ocean,” she said. “It’s nice.”

    Moments later, the attendant came back. “I might get fired for this,” she said. “Follow me,” and she silently ushered us into the front door.

    Now, if you haven’t seen Ashes and Snow in person, it is breathtaking. Calling it a temporary installation is misleading. Constructed of staggered and stacked recycled tanker containers and draped with thick tarps, it is an eight story environment with incredible sepia prints of people dancing with leopards, elephants, lions, and warthogs among other things. The music alone is haunting. It’s website barely conveys its intensity http://www.ashesandsnow.org

    Most often, when visitors arrive, there are families and older couples, children and school groups milling around looking over each other seeing what they can and moving on.

    On this particular night, I helped my date inside the entrance, positioned her to perfection, and slowly breathed a gentle kiss on to her neck.

    The music swelled as I removed her silk blindfold and she gasped in amazement. She was haloed in this fuzzy glow, the sound of ocean wind brushing up against the building as humpback whale songs and lapping water played through the sound system. Amazing. I’ll never forget it.

    Shortly, Peter Faulk and family, the private group who’d had the place closed, joined us as we moved slowly through the exhibit. They didn’t seem to mind this young couple on a romantic date walking a few paces behind them.

    [I'd gone there planning to spend the $40 it would cost for admission - serendipity covered it].

    We took our time looking at each piece. Gorgeous. She was taken with the beauty and thoughtfulness of it. Hours passed, and when she was ready we thanked our attendant friend and made our way back to the car.

    At that point it was time for dinner. I’d e-mailed around that week asking for great meal suggestions and a friend from San Francisco asked her best friend who works for Tom Hanks’Playtone productions who suggested Japanese Bar-be-que at NanBanKan.

    [$40 - 11330 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90189, (310) 478-1591, we both loved it.]

    We got there, enjoyed a fantastic meal and a wonderful conversation. One thing that was great about it was that I took that silk scarf and tied it around her wrists so that it would be up to me to feed her dinner. It added a whole new element to the meal, and the evening. From there we went to…

    It got really good after that.

    My favorite part about the night is that I made all these plans and they very easily could have fallen through. Instead, by asking for a little help at the right moment, and being VERY spontaneous, we had a night we’ll never forget. A night to rival all others. I’m glad to be reminded of this night. It’s time to go out and make more nights like this happen.

    Like

  44. I already had my dream date. This was a lot of fun. We hadn’t known each other long and we’d just arrived at the stage of going out on real dates. We picked a night, and for days I thought about how to make it really stand out. I picked out flowers, cards, music. I got into it, and the whole time, treasured each act from a very centered and relaxed place.

    That night, I picked her up at her house and asked her to grab a silk scarf I’d given her a week before. Blushing, she complied, and we hopped in the car. We drove North along the Pacific Coast Highway with the sun setting slowly over the edge of the Pacific. As we approached LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) I drove up the exit ramp. She looked at me surprised.

    “Are we flying somewhere?” she asked. I just smiled.

    As you leave Sepulveda Boulevard there, a ring of cylindrical towers lines the exit round. Each tower changes color, shifting gracefully from purple to green to red to yellow, and rising into the orange sky with a Los Angeles sunset, the night was approaching that ironically beautiful L.A. romance that most of the world assumes is impossible. I pulled the car into the “Departing Flights” lane and made my way up to the curb. I asked her to stay in her seat and came around the car. I helped her out and asked, “Are you ready?”

    She nodded. And I tied the scarf around her eyes as a blindfold. I put her back in her seat and, I drove around for forty-five minutes.

    We talked, told jokes, and got comfortable. Every once in awhile, at a stop-light, someone would notice that she was blindfolded. I’d smile knowingly back at them without making a big deal. I didn’t want her to get self conscious.

    I took a couple extra turns to be sure she had no idea where we were going. Once we arrived, I parked close to the front so she wouldn’t have to walk too far blindfolded. I helped her across the parking lot and realized as we approached that there was trouble. The show was closed for a private exhibit. I walked my date to a short wall, placed her hand on it and asked her to wait.

    This was the final weekend for this particular show, and it had come up in conversation more than once. I knew I didn’t have another chance to get us in there and I couldn’t believe, on a Friday night, the last weekend before leaving town, they were closed for some hot shot. But its LA and people can pay for anything they want.

    I walked over to an attendant who had caught sight of us. She saw my date, standing against the wall, demure, frail, attentive, and the attendants face fell. “You went to a lot of trouble for tonight, didn’t you,” she said. I nodded, hoping against hope. She reassured me, patting my forearm. “Wait right here,” she said.

    I went back to check on my date. She was nervous but promised she was having fun.

    “I can smell the ocean,” she said. “It’s nice.”

    Moments later, the attendant came back. “I might get fired for this,” she said. “Follow me,” and she silently ushered us into the front door.

    Now, if you haven’t seen Ashes and Snow in person, it is breathtaking. Calling it a temporary installation is misleading. Constructed of staggered and stacked recycled tanker containers and draped with thick tarps, it is an eight story environment with incredible sepia prints of people dancing with leopards, elephants, lions, and warthogs among other things. The music alone is haunting. It’s website barely conveys its intensity http://www.ashesandsnow.org

    Most often, when visitors arrive, there are families and older couples, children and school groups milling around looking over each other seeing what they can and moving on.

    On this particular night, I helped my date inside the entrance, positioned her to perfection, and slowly breathed a gentle kiss on to her neck.

    The music swelled as I removed her silk blindfold and she gasped in amazement. She was haloed in this fuzzy glow, the sound of ocean wind brushing up against the building as humpback whale songs and lapping water played through the sound system. Amazing. I’ll never forget it.

    Shortly, Peter Faulk and family, the private group who’d had the place closed, joined us as we moved slowly through the exhibit. They didn’t seem to mind this young couple on a romantic date walking a few paces behind them.

    [I'd gone there planning to spend the $40 it would cost for admission - serendipity covered it].

    We took our time looking at each piece. Gorgeous. She was taken with the beauty and thoughtfulness of it. Hours passed, and when she was ready we thanked our attendant friend and made our way back to the car.

    At that point it was time for dinner. I’d e-mailed around that week asking for great meal suggestions and a friend from San Francisco asked her best friend who works for Tom Hanks’Playtone productions who suggested Japanese Bar-be-que at NanBanKan.

    [$40 - 11330 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90189, (310) 478-1591, we both loved it.]

    We got there, enjoyed a fantastic meal and a wonderful conversation. One thing that was great about it was that I took that silk scarf and tied it around her wrists so that it would be up to me to feed her dinner. It added a whole new element to the meal, and the evening. From there we went to…

    It got really good after that.

    My favorite part about the night is that I made all these plans and they very easily could have fallen through. Instead, by asking for a little help at the right moment, and being VERY spontaneous, we had a night we’ll never forget. A night to rival all others. I’m glad to be reminded of this night. It’s time to go out and make more nights like this happen.

    Best,

    MacEwen Patterson

    Like

  45. My dream date would actually be extremely simple.

    It would involve an extremely comfy bed, good music, delivered food or have a chef cook it in-house.
    Mostly just laying around, looking into each others eyes, and having an extremely interesting conversation about our passions and thoughts on life and society.

    I could have said, sky diving, or skiing, or anything else but I find that the best moments are usually those when you are just laying there with someone you really like having a great conversation.

    Like

  46. Thanks for all these helpful hints. It is very interesting, I have been reading a lot of different books, and one thing I have noticed is the common thread of writing. Anthony Robbins and Richard Branson both have been individuals that have written a lot in their lifetimes. This was a kickass post and I hope if you ever write another book, you include this blog in it.

    Best

    Jose Castro-Frenzel, tx

    Like

  47. Best software for note-taking and organizing: Ultra Recall.

    Hands down it blows away anything else, and I’ve tried them all.

    Only problems I have with it is that it’s Windows-only, and it’s a *little* bit crash happy (but never any data loss) :(

    Like

  48. Wow. Great post. And unbelievable. I just realised this week that I should be taking better notes of all the books I’m reading and bought some notebooks, so this post has come at the perfect time for me, thanks!

    When and where did you learn this skill? Before university? Did someone recommended it to you? Thanks for telling us how you do it!

    Also Cirque de Soleil came up in conversation this week, my friend is going to see it in Nagoya JP in a couple of weeks. I’m going to catch the Tokyo show next year, it looks amazing! It must have been a great date.

    The dream date…

    I need to think about this! Here’s one idea, you might be able to tell I’ve estimated some of the prices… :)

    Sydney:

    Surfing on Bondi Beach (rental/teacher $100)

    Shower/massage/relax together (www.massagesydney.com/ $100)

    Japanese dinner for 2 (www.tetsuyas.com/ $100)

    Catch a show at the Opera House or, if nothing you want to see is on, a comedy club is usually a good idea. See if you’ve both got the same sense of humour… ($100)

    Buy some really really nice flowers and chocolates! yummy. ($100)

    Hmm Is that the best I can do? I don’t think I’m as romantic as the other people writing comments. :/

    I also wanted to put scuba diving with sharks in there but I’m not sure where you do that (some aquariums do it), and it might put you off the surfing a bit. :)

    Like

  49. Dream date: I would pick Esfahan, Iran.

    I would start off by the historical siosepol “33 bridges” section of the Zayanderood river that runs through the city.

    We would ride a paddle boat down the section of the river ($4) towards the “pole khaju” section, where we would get off and go into the tea-shop, overlooking the river.

    We would have some traditional Persian tea ($3) and possibly hookah (less than $1) while we appreciate each other’s company and watch the river and the city light up as night falls.

    From there, we would take a taxi in towards the center of the city ($6-$7) to watch a play, possibly about the struggles of the youth between “traditional” culture and contemporary culture ($4-$5).

    After the play we would go to a late-night dinner at one of the city’s fanciest restaurants for a cliche candle-lit dinner, where we would have gormeh sabzi (traditional Persian stew), dough (yogurt soda-very tasty), and akbar-mashti ice cream for dessert ($20-$40) total. During the course of the delicious meal, and free-flowing conversation, we would invite a violinist over to play at our table, for a small tip ($2 max).

    From there, who knows where the rest of the date would take us…

    Like

  50. Not to be the one who is a fool, here, but:

    WHY exactly did you need to take notes on A.J. Jacobs’ new book?

    ###

    Hi Josh,

    For historical notes — it contains a lot — and the ideas/thoughts the content triggered for me. Much of my “notetaking” is capturing insight the material catalyzes for me.

    Hope that helps,

    Tim

    Like

  51. Our dream date stretches the budget:

    Dinner at The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s signature restaurant in the Napa Valley. Guaranteed to excite your senses and passions well into the night.

    (Nine course tasting menu $240/person)

    Like

  52. Normally I would have my personal concierge design my date and implement my date for me, but I guess I’ll step up to the plate for this one ;)

    Since I’m already in a relationship with a wonderful gal, this makes things a little bit easier. My dream date would take place on Christmas Eve in Rio de Janeiro. Melissa and I would spend the early evening shopping for toys, snacks, clothes, and gift wrap as well as searching for empty cardboard boxes. After spending $450 on the shopping spree, we would hit up a small food cart for dinner ($10) and take the gifts and dinner back to the hotel. We would spend the remainder of the evening listening to Christmas tunes on the radio and gift wrapping. The real magic happens the next morning. After a local and delicious breakfast ($10), we would hitch a taxi to Cidade de Deus and spend the morning passing out the Christmas gifts at a local school and spending time playing the local children. The remaining $30 would be used take a local family from the favela out for groceries or a Christmas dinner.

    That, my friends, is my dream date.

    Like

  53. Dream Date
    Christmas Eve 2007 – Full MOON!

    Full Moon, Snow covered fields, 10pm

    1 horse drawn sleigh, big warm blankets

    a thermos of the richest most chocolatey cream based cocoa, a couple of still warm cookies.

    a wamly mittened hand in mine

    the gentle whisper of the sleigh over the snow and someone to quietly giggle with in the
    beautiful night.

    Listening to carols being sung far enough away that you can’t see them being sung, only hear the gentle echo of the beautiful voices.

    I think that could be had for $500, but what price can be put on a memory like that?

    Like

  54. Performance with full orchestra and chorus of Karl Orff’s Carmina Burana in whatever city it can be found, preferably in Europe, possibly his home town of Munich. Followed by a lovely dinner of course.

    “O Fortuna” live….someday.

    Like

  55. you me
    something adventurus, like sailing
    wind in my hair, salty baths and sunshine
    a calm and lonley bay
    red whine and bbq
    fresh fruit
    time to sit and meditate or draw/write
    blanket on a silent beach
    stars on black sky
    my skine red from the sun, legs tired after discovering that beautiful island we passed
    then kisses if applicable
    ;-)

    thanks for challenging me to think about that… yum!

    Like

  56. As much as I hate it, I still feel I have to write a lot of digital notes especially when I’m doing research and writing in my laptop. Two main reasons for digital note taking: search function and copy/pasting.

    I’ve tried everything from MS Notes to Notezilla but have always gone back to the simple Notepad. But now I can’t do without PersonalBrain (from http://www.thebrain.com) which does everything I need it to. I wish it was faster, though.

    Anyway, I still have a paper system mostly a modified GTD structure with tons of 3×5 scratch paper, a looseleaf binder for daily tasks and spiral notebooks for projects.

    Thanks for your tips, Tim. Will test how they can help me.

    Like

  57. Dream date, Portland, OR, early summer, with my husband:

    The Japanese Gardens (www.japanesegarden.com/) considered by many to be the finest outside of Japan. We spend several hours sketching and photographing – everything is always beautiful and it’s a wonderful place to just be. My date buys me a book on origami and papers at the gift shop. With luck, we’ll be able to enjoy an exhibit in the pavilion (like the history of the kimono).

    Next, we hike the trails and enjoy a picnic lunch in the woods nearby. I’m thinking salad with grilled salmon and veggies, with a light lemon-dill dressing. Served with some Brioche rolls and a nice wine (a lightly aged Australian Riesling would work well, though I normally prefer reds). I like the contrast of the rough surroundings (heavy blanket on the wooded forest floor) with the refined fare.

    After the contemplative morning, I think the afternoon should be more stimulating. Perhaps a bike ride along the Willamette or an airboat ride on it – and odds are there will be some kind of festival or event going on. If it’s during the Rose Festival, there’ll be a lot of opportunity for live music right down on the river. My date and I will be starving after the light lunch so we’ll get changed for a lovely supper at Salty’s. North of downtown on the Columbia, Salty’s is less frenetic than the downtown scene. We’ll have a riverside table reserved. They’ll probably have a musician in. Everything at Salty’s is wonderful, but I know we’ll start with the coconut shrimp and oysters on the half shell. My date and I won’t worry about propriety or reserve, but will just stuff ourselves silly. Afterward a moonlight stroll along the beach.

    Then home to relieve the babysitter and off to bed. And our daughter won’t wake up even once all night. ;)

    Like

  58. Tim,

    Great post, man.

    All right, here’s the date. Since I live in a ski-resort town, you know it’s time to have fun in the snow. I’m going to pull some strings with some choice contacts and hook up a specactular winter wonderland experience.

    -Start off with two hours of private ski lessons from one of my clients, a fantastic female pro skier.

    -Head to the summit house and warm up with a microbrew and an Apres ski pizza special while listening to a local folk/blues band and hangin’ with the ski bums.

    -The sun sets around 5 PM this time of the year, so we’d bundle up and then meet with a close friend who owns a dog sledding business. We’d get out on the open field at sunset with the peaks of Glaicer National Park in the background.

    -We’d head back downtown to my favorte steak-house where we’d have filet mignon prepared medium rare with steamed broccoli, and baby ret potatoes. I’d also bring a bottle of my favortite Zinfandel, a 2005 Hullabaloo (with a picture of an old-school strong man on the front!)

    -We’d end the night sitting by the crackling fire finishing up our wine and talking about everything and nothing.

    Word. :)

    -Nate

    Like

  59. I am really the light weight of note taking. I take notes and throw them away with no exact timing or agenda, but they have to be done and resolved. As far cataloging, I surely would use the same archiving method, but by far I would definitely not let it come to volumes.

    Now, your date was a blast huh? I am happy you met a muse winner. Oh but the fire went higher huh? Ring of Fire…

    My dream date in a city in the world and under $500?

    It would be Tango in Paris! A delicious vegetarian meal for me and lots of affectionately shared touching and dancing cheek to cheek. Lots of silliness, a plethora of intellectual subjects we share, and absolutely, bringing the wine along with one long stem red rose (thorns carefully taken in front of me) would make it very, but very special for me.

    Speak of stimulating my mind ya!

    Cheers!

    Lou

    Like

  60. Cambria, CA (Central Coast)

    gas money (L.A. R/T) = $65
    rental for circa-’69 (!) Playboy-After-Dark cabin on ocean = $200 (includes tax & services)
    dinner at Robin’s = $65
    bottle of local Pinot for postprandial hanky-panky = $15
    hanky-panky = free! (BYOB/GF, please)
    balance to liberal charitable institution and/or starving artist’s fund = $155

    (Can also serve as mutual xmas present)

    Like

  61. I share your love of effective note-taking, but not your format; have you tried mind-mapping? Linear notes work for some people, but by using techniques to show the organic connections between ideas make notes far more intuitive to refer back to.

    In Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping book, he makes the distinction between note taking (the linear copying of a sequence of statements) and note making (mentally processing information and laying it out in a considered format highlighting the interconnectedness of concepts).

    From when I started the practice a few years ago, I have found that my linear note-taking habits have been completely replaced, as I find standard notes too text-dense to scan quickly. By clustering ideas around highlighted topics, I can review the content of an entire meeting’s notes in seconds, without having important points getting lost down the page.

    As for notebook choices, the practice has pushed me towards Moleskines with unlined pages, which I usually use in “landscape” orientation as I find it easier to work on pages that are wider, rather than taller.

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  62. Whew there’s a lot of great entries here! Well, I want to tell you about a hidden gem here in exotic Raleigh, NC :-)

    Seriously, the new Umstead Hotel is probably the nicest (and one of the only) five-star hotels on the East Coast outside of New York, and is, of course, much more accessible and quiet. http://www.theumstead.com/

    I would dream of:

    a couple’s massage ($190) and
    dinner at Heron’s (guessing $150)
    *and* I can get you a room discount – normally they start at $345, I can get one for $139.

    Well, I’ve always stunk at math, I think I blew the budget already! Oh well, now you know about my dream, let me know if you ever want to use my discount :)

    Like

  63. My dream date would be a day of all my favorite things – my husband and son, a movie, sailing, tapas and dancing.
    First we would spend the morning with our son at home, drinking coffee, eating croissants and mangoes and playing golf in the backyard. Then we would take Riley to his grandmother’s and cruise up the freeway to Sydney with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers blaring out of the stereo.
    Our first stop would be Darling Harbour to join a sailing charter around Sydney Harbour for the afternoon. We would sail under the Harbour Bridge, around the Opera House, past Goat island and out towards Port Jackson. The sun would be shining and there would be a slight breeze, just enough to catch the salt off the water and gently throw it up into our faces. I love an “ocean shower”.
    Afterwards we would be super relaxed, but it would be too early for dinner so we would walk up into George Street, Sydney and catch a movie. Ideally this would be a smart and well written action flick a la “The Bourne Ultimatium” and we would snuggle in the dark with popcorn and kiss all through the trailers.
    Now it would be time for a a little tapas at Miro’s on Liverpool Street. This is where my husband proposed to me 10 years ago and I still love the colourful cellar like appeal of the place and the awesome food and potent sangria. I would definitely have my favorite dish of berenjenas fritas con ajo. Yum!
    And lastly we would wander back to Darling Harbour to Bar Rumba for some salsa dancing to set the mood for the rest of our date once we got back home…
    Oh, and the ideal scenario would have to include a sleep in the next morning in my own glorious bed before going to pick up my son. Perfect.

    Like

  64. This is based on a date I set up for my girlfriend’s birthday about three years ago. She still talks about it (we’re married now) as the perfect Seattle day, so it worked pretty well, though it’s not necessarily a good first date—it’s very long and predicated on the idea that you really enjoy talking with each other.

    Location: Seattle, WA

    • Start with lunch on the water, say at I Love Sushi (much better than it sounds) on Lake Union ($70)

    • Check out the new Olympic Sculpture Park.

    • Head to a matinee at the Seattle Rep.($70), which specializes in mesmerizing productions that really take you out of yourself, like The Secret in the Wings (the show we went to) and Aurélia’s Oratorio.

    • Stick around the Seattle Center afterward. Do great cheesy stuff like go up the space needle ($32) and win her a stuffed animal at one of the silly carnival games (you can definitely win if you spend, say, $30).

    • Follow with dinner at Elemental—hip, fun, and welcoming (the owners’ goal is to make you feel like you’re at a dinner party). Dinner for two with extraordinarily well-paired wines is at most $200 after tax and tip (and generally lasts 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours for us).

    • Continue to Gasworks park overlooking Lake Union; walk dinner off for a while. Bring a picnic blanket and a discrete setup to share some awesome small-house champagne (one of the best experience-for-your buck wine categories in the world IMHO), probably the 1990 Rene Collard ($60 from K&L and an absolute knockout of a wine), though if you were short on cash there are several killer options like this for half the price.

    • That should end the “public” section of the date…

    Total Cost: $462 incidentals.

    Like

  65. My dream date: true story.

    Just get in the car and go.
    The rules:
    -no advance planning.
    -grab a map, close your eyes, and point. If you have never been there before, and its within reasonable driving distance, then head in that direction.
    -avoid freeways. There is more scenery to enjoy that way.
    -bring all of your best music, a camera, and a tent just in case.
    -if something interesting comes up, go explore it.
    -do everything on a whim.

    This is an absolute fail proof recipe for an amazing adventure. Even if it turns out horribly, you have a great story to tell. And, if something amazing happens, you will have pictures to prove it :) Living without rules, or plans for even a few hours while enjoying a change of scenery has to be the most refreshing and invigorating thing you can do.
    This is a dream date I have enjoyed on a few occasions – and it usually costs less than $500 dollars. Ive gone camping, stayed in motels, ended up at the gay pride parade in New York City once. I used to wisk my friends away on an adventure whenever they were having a bad day, and we had at least 10 hours before we had to be back to work.

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  66. To me a dream date is all about being fun and memorable. The location I’d choose is Playa del Carmen, Mexico in the late spring. The weather that time of year is perfect: a soft breeze, bright and warm, but not staggering.

    Start off the date with a swim in the ocean, following up with sharing a public shower along the beach. Even clothed, any guy can appreciate this.
    $0

    Next, I’d take my date for some Mayan cuisine at one of the beachfront restaurants
    $70 (including tip and drinks, should safely cover lunch)

    After lunch I’d cut back into town and find a decent henna tattoo stand, which virtually litter Playa del Carmen. I’d have my date and I pick each others tattoos to make things more exciting. Luckily the henna fades away within a few weeks so you’ve got a crazy memory without having to regret it later on.
    $160 (Henna tattoos range from $20-100 each. I’m assuming my date and I get some amazing ones for a total of $160.)

    From there I’d go to one of the many jewelry stores along the avenue. Fortunately silver is dirt cheap in Mexico, although still good quality and occasionally has a unique design. I’d help my date pick out a simple piece of jewelry, probably earrings, a ring or a necklace.
    $40 (With some good haggling, you can get as much as 50-70% off the price tag of jewelry. That being said you can get a girl a pretty decent piece of jewelry for $40 or less.)

    Now it’s siesta time: a nap on a hammock in the shade. After waking up and getting ready we’d finish off the night with dinner and salsa dancing at my favorite Cuban restaurant.
    $80

    Total Money Spents: $350

    Like

  67. Dream date: (but i’ve already had it)

    - A ride on the motorcycle to enjoy some mid summer night breeze (i live in Italy, Naples, pretty hot here in the summer)
    - We got to Ennio Morricone concert in a beautiful outdoor theatre, all in white marble, with a perfect starry sky above us
    - After that we probably ate something, but i don’t even remember that
    - My bf told me to hold my eyes closed and leaded me in a secret place
    - When i opened my eyes i was ontop of an old roof, above the sea, with candles lit all over and some strawberries and wine :)
    It was the most romantic thing i could ever imagine.. i continue shivering if i think of that!!

    Like

  68. Perfect date for no more than $500…

    Paris, in late fall/early winter when the sky is gray, the trees are almost bare and the leaves are still in piles on the streets.

    Pick “her” up around 5:00pm and walk to a local cafe.($0)

    Sit outside and drink coffee (or hot chocolate) ($15)

    Talk while looking into “her” eyes.($0)

    Take a walk, holding “her” hand, to the Eiffel Tower and arrive at the top just before sunset. ($40)

    Watch the sunset and Paris (the city of lights) come alive. The chill in the air adds to the clear sky and the ambiance of the moment. (Priceless)

    On the way down, buy “her” a keyring to remember the moment ($15)

    Ask her where would she like to eat, leave the everything left from the $500 as a tip for the waiter, even if it is just a pastry and coffee.

    walk “her” home

    On “her” door step, kiss “her” goodnight

    walk home by yourself and dream of what could be.

    Like

  69. BTW, I’ve tried palms, laptops (all kinds of software), mini-laptops, voice recorders, pens, and more. I’ve used a rollerball and a simple notebook for years. I need a new one every 3 months.

    I also date each page when as I write on it.

    Like

  70. Dang, #58 stole my idea. I kept wondering when someone would recommend a tasting menu with a world-class chef. It’ll take you hours and you’ll be talking and experiencing the whole time. It can be an amazing experience that really, really brings two people together. He said Thomas Keller, but the same could be said for Charlie Trotter (or could have been said ten years ago. I don’t know about Trotter today).

    Having said that, I did have a dream date long, long ago, while I was an undergraduate. At an out-of-the-way religious college, here’s what we did.

    1. Started off with a free performance from one of the student theater groups on campus. I can’t remember what the play was, but it was something intended to be thought provoking. It was a nice way to break the ice on a first date. We had something to talk about after the play.

    2. Walked to an amazing tree I know. Perhaps only certain people will appreciate real tree-love, but this was a magnificent tree and had everything you could want in a locale: quiet, secluded, protected, hushed, happy.

    3. We climbed the tree. It’s an easy tree to climb and we didn’t go terribly high. It was fun in the getting-back-to-childhood way, and it helped liberate our emotions. Everyone feels free climbing a tree: you talk about dreams, fears, hopes. You tell stories — real, fantastic, crazy stories like you wish someone told you as bedtime stories when you were a child.

    4. Sit in the tree long enough and you’ll stop talking about you and start talking about us. It takes (took) a while, but it happened. When we came down out of the tree, we were us.

    5. We made out under the tree for a while. Is that what kids these days call it? Not the naked stuff, but the extended kissing: is that still making out? Am I too old to participate in this conversation?

    6. Walked slowly to a still open cafe for a slice of pie. We were still talking, but occasionally lapsed into happy silence together. Smiled a lot. Shared one slice of pie.

    7. I walked her home, kissed her while standing on the porch and left, both of us wanting more and appreciating the anticipation of tomorrow.

    Like

  71. Dream Date Awful Limerick:

    I want to feel more alive along with my guy! Let’s go to Hawaii…shall we…go to Maui?!!!

    Let’s swim with dolphins where they’re normally at play, see natural art of waterfalls and be taken over by sin…that’s how I’d end my day!

    OH! Don’t forget the food…wonderfully delicious, on a picnic of course, with plumeria flowers and warm-hearted bliss.

    My Hawaii Haiku:

    scented raindrops fall
    Pele is dancing dirty
    hugging fire and heat

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  72. I can’t believe you went on a date with a Natalie Portman look-alike. Not only is she my favorite actress (smart choices on movies and excellent acting) I also happen to have a huge crush on her :)

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  74. Hi Tim,

    * I wish this post had been separated into two–there are a few questions about your note-taking style that got lost in the comment-sauce of Dream Dates

    * How do you manage to organize, store, and review your notes frequently enough for them to be useful?

    Thanks,
    Alex

    Like

  75. You’re young–female, in your prime. I’m older. You have many dreams/visions/hopes/wishes for your life.

    I too, have many unfulfilled dreams. Youthful dreams of Love, happiness, success and eternal security. That feeling of knowing that I’m safe, loved and secure and that you’re young, strong, capable, sensously passionate, attracted to me and that we will absolutely experience the ultimate success in any terms you want to describe it, for both of us…, That’s a dream…, my dream… when we’re talkin about the ultimate,… before the lights go out.

    That would make me feel REAL GOOD and I would want it to MAKE YOU FEEL REAL GOOD TOO!

    Feeling is one of the most important things in life. That’s mostly how we experience it. (Life, that is.)

    Feelings,…You know, they make movies in your mind. We, (you, me and everyone else), conjure up movies in our minds… we imagine things as we wish they were or as they weren’t. We’re mostly either toward something we want or away from something we don’t want.

    My “girl” is toward seeing, feeling, thinking, imagining, dreaming the beautiful. Even though, the real world is a duality, she perfectly balences on the perfect edge, neither negative or positive while recognizing and respecting both. She is my perfect mate because she sees all this stuff even when I don’t. She helps, supports, protects me when I need it and she always knows when that is.

    SHE is my lifemate, the love of my life.

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  76. My current dream date would start its next day somewhere in Nevada, a few hours east of Reno. It’s coming on sunrise, and we’re packing up the tent, having slept by Pyramid Lake – beautiful light coming off the lake, reflecting the sunlight – the last body of water before the alkaline wasteland and technicolor dust storm that is Burning Man.

    The bicycles are are loaded and packed, the last leg from Chicago to Black Rock City, and we’re only 30 miles away – piece of cake now, but it’s been a hell of a few weeks. Starting a 1900 mile journey, including a little jaunt across the Rockies, in late summer isn’t exactly easy, but then, why should it be? I’ve wanted to do this journey for years. And I finally found someone nutty enough to do it with me.

    Most of my dream dates involve the completely random; I’d meet my biking companion a few weeks before departing, which would be great timing since I’ll otherwise do this by myself, and being a single female riding across middle America is occasionally seen as nuts. Riding together would be interesting – the first 3 days of learning to pace eachother, the tedium of Iowa, hitching a few rides through the Rockies, plus the ability to split packs and gear – people will look at you like you’re crazy, but the hospitality would be incredible. I’m willing to bet that a nice farmer or 2 along the way would also provide some tasty meals and a barn in which to lay one’s head.

    Since I already have my bike, and presumably someone nutty enough to ride halfway across the US with an almost stranger would as well, and I’ve got some camping gear, the biggest outlay of this date would be the Burning Man tickets themselves. These would be about $200 each, so $400 for the perfect date morning.

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  77. Just an fyi about the “softcover” cardboard moleskine you use… it’s actually referred to as the cahier.

    They’ve started producing a more durable softcover notebook that is as thick as the hardcover version. (Kind of like their old volants).

    Might be more useful to you instead of the cahier… assuming it is actually more durable.

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  78. Great minds think alike: I’ve been using flexible Moleskines for a year or so, after it became too hard to find Mead side spiral notepads and a few other previous brands I liked. Flexible Moleskines are skinny and bulk up the pockets less than anything I’ve used before. Thanks for the all the notetaking tips.

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  79. I’ll take my dream date to Bombay or some other city in India, take a taxi in the indescribable mess that is traffic there, get trashed on cheap wine and argue with the driver that it’s a clock, not a metre after having taken a tour of the city from the back seat.

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  80. I use freemind [http://freemind.sourceforge.net/] for my note taking. Frees me from the book-keeping. Also, I can add to my notes from different sources without changing anything. Its pretty neat.

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  81. Tim!

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this blog! You take notes exactly like I do, with the same notebook (soft Moleskins) that I do. But I’ve been punishing myself recently by trying to go digital (Microsoft OneNote) because I can never find anything, and stuff gets all mixed up together. You’ve solved that with the index system and using different notebooks. BRILLIANT! You should see the mountains of post-it notes, spare sheets, and thousands of word documents…this system is far better. Thanks!

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