“Action Method” notebooks have been around for a while, and are one of a handful of products I’ve reviewed here that could be considered “mainstream.” (As in, I have a colleague at work who swears by the Action Method notetaking system, and only uses these notebooks. He actually found them on his own, too, as opposed to me enabling him.) You may have seen these notebooks marketed in the past as the "Behance Action Method" notebooks, and the current iteration is a collaboration between designers at Behance and Ghostly, two boutique design houses.
Action Method sent me two notebooks for review: a standard dot grid spiral bound notebook, and a notebook in their “Action Method” format. The "method" itself is a riff on Cornell-style notetaking, where the page is divided into two or more sections: one for actually taking notes from a lecture/meeting, and another section for synthesizing the notes into themes or, as here, action items. With the Action Book, “[f]our distinct zones on each page help you to get the most out of meetings and everyday brainstorm sessions.”
The notebooks are double spiral-bound and all feature a durable black “hard suede” cover. These are sturdy notebooks that should stand up to some considerable daily abuse in your bag or around the office. The paper is 80lb, 30% recycled blend, which Action Method calls “via Vellum cool white." I’d compare it to Doane or Miquelrius paper in terms of how well it stands up to fountain pen ink: you’ll be ok with extra fine or fine nibs, but with a medium or broader you should expect a bit of bleed or show through. The recycled paper has a nice pleasant tooth to it, though the texture may be a bit much for ultra extra fine fountain pens or “ultra micro” Japanese gel pens.
Finally, I want to discuss something that many notebook makers ignore, but which I absolutely love about these notebooks: page perforations. The Action Method notebooks are double perforated for maximum versatility. If you aren’t someone who tears pages out of your notebooks, and prefers to use separate notebooks for different topics, you can certainly do that here. On the other hand, if you’re like me at the office, I tend to organize my notes and papers in folders or binders, and sometimes need to scan individual sheets for electronic storage or distribution. That’s impossible - well, not impossible, just really messy - with a nonperforated hardbound notebook or a spiral notebook without perforations where you’re left with a torn “fringe” at the top or side of the page. Here, the double perforation gives you the immediate option of having a plain sheet for scanning/foldering, or a three-hole punched sheet to stick in a three-ring binder. (Yes, people still use those in a law office.)
Takeaways and Where to Buy
I like the Action Method notebooks. While the “Action Method” notetaking system itself isn’t necessarily something that I use on a daily basis, these are well-built notebooks and I wish more notebook companies would incorporate the double perforation. I can see this one having a place in my stationery toolkit, especially at work.
You can order the Action Notebooks directly from the Action Method website. The price on these notebooks ($16) is fair, though maybe a bit on the high side for a notebook with only 50 pages. To compare, a similar-sized Rhodia spiral notebook gives you 80 sheets for a few dollars less, and the Rhodia “Meeting Book” costs a few dollars more but also gives you 80 perforated sheets. I’m not especially cost-sensitive when it comes to notebooks, especially workhorses that I use around the office, and I do think the price is fair, but in the interest of providing an accurate description of where these sit in the market I figured I would mention it here.
Disclaimer: I was provided these two notebooks free of charge for review purposes. Many thanks to the team at Action Method for making this review possible