Walter Isaacson in the conclusion of the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci:
Five hundred years later, Leonardo’s notebooks are around to astonish and inspire us. Fifty years from now, our own notebooks, if we work up the initiative to start writing them, will be around to astonish and inspire out grandchildren, unlike our tweets and Facebook posts.
I’ve used a notebook in some form or fashion throughout my life and I love going back through my old ones. Most of the time it’s simple scribbles of me working through a problem, or planning out features in the software I’m building, but it brings me back to that point in my life. I never assumed anyone, including my grandchildren, would find it interesting, but I would love to have old notebooks and journals from my grandfathers. Both served in WWII and lead interesting lives to me, so learning more about them through their writing would be amazing now.
Earlier in the book Isaacson related Leonardo’s notebooks to Steve Jobs:
The more than 7,200 pages now extant probably represent about one-quarter of what Leonardo actually wrote, but that is a higher percentage after five hundred years than the percentage of Steve Job’s emails and digital documents from the 1990s that he and I were able to retrieve.
That stat is pretty amazing to me and makes me think of how much of our digital lives are in siloed ecosystems owned by a few big companies. Unfortunately, I don’t see us bringing the web back to its roots and away from that.