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Friday, February 4, 2011

CNN diary and notebooks by Letts

Get ready to be impressed: here is the new line of CNN notebooks and diary from Letts!
First of all, let me say many thanks to Letts for sending me these products as samples to review. They are exquisite. And thank you especially for the personalization on the leather covers! Not only do they look exceptionally nice, having my name on them prevented my husband from pocketing them for himself! He did however stake his claim on the linen-covered notebook, which I thought was only fair.  It says a lot about these books that my husband is so interested in them! He normally doesn't even notice notebooks and things like that.

I'll get on with the details because there is SO much to tell you about these books.  Let me just point out how cool it is that CNN has partnered with Letts to create this line of products geared towards people who travel and/ or work internationally.  Falling into that category myself, I can tell you that these products are not only very functional but also extremely useful for anyone who travels to other countries.

The CNN notebooks and diary are available at www.cnnlife.com.  They come in a very nice gift box, shown above. The CNN Life products include a linen-covered notebook (the CNN LifePlus), a smaller leather-bound notebook (CNN LifeStyle), and a pocket size leather-bound diary (CNN LifeLine).
First let me rave for just a minute about the leather on these books.  It is smooth and soft to the touch, and even has that nice leather smell to it. All three of these books are extremely classy and professional-looking.  They have an understated, unique look that will get attention.

First, let me take you through the CNN LifePlus notebook, which is the large linen-covered one.  (Click here for the CNN LifePlus product page.)
This book measures 15.4 cm by 21.4 cm.  The cover is flexible yet firm.  Inside the cover there is a time zones map:
Followed by a page to enter your personal information, then an annual planner that you can use for any year:
The notebook pages themselves have a unique layout.  There is blank space at the top of the page and lined space in the bottom half.  I don't know the exact weight of the paper, but my guess is at least 80 gsm and possibly higher. The paper is thick, exceptionally smooth, and a very subtle shade of cream.
Along the edge of the right page is a dot pattern, which I've shown a closer view of below (and which you can click on for an even closer look):

In the top row of dots, you circle the day of the week.  In the middle row, you circle the dot indicating the month. And in the bottom row you circle the day. It's an ingenious design to help you note the date very quickly so you can get on with your note-taking. To the right of the dots you can circle Client or Personal to classify your notes.

At the back of the book are several pages of cultural guides for doing business in various countries. I find these absolutely fascinating, and extremely accurate.
When I read the guide to US business culture (I'm from the US), I thought yep, that's right on. When my husband read the Russia one (after having worked in Russia for 3 years) he said it's entirely accurate. I read the India one (I lived next door in Nepal for two years awhile back) and again thought it was right on the mark.  And when I read the UK one (where I'm currently living) I thought, no wonder!  People do not realize how very different British culture is from American.  These business culture guides are extremely useful for international business travelers, and indeed could make or break the success of your business experience overseas.

In the very back of the book are references for finding CNN online (with lots of website options), on television or on your mobile so you can stay connected and informed wherever you are in the world.

Next up is the CNN LifeStyle notebook with the sumptuous black leather cover. (Click here for the CNN LifeStyle notebook product page):
This notebook measures 12.5 cm by 14.5 cm, making it very portable. This book also has the annual planner that can be used for any year:
Inside there is a section with city information for various cities around the world. There are city features and insights, information on local media, time zones and dialing codes. And here is something I find fascinating: you can use your smartphone to scan the black and white square to get a map of the city!  Wow!  Very useful when you're on the go.
The notebook pages are blank, and at the right side there is the dot design to note the date and Client/ Personal.  Again the light cream colored paper is very thick and smooth.  There is a ribbon (actual ribbon) placemarker.
At the back of the book there is the information on how to connect with CNN wherever you are.

Last but certainly not least is the CNN LifeLine pocket diary. (Click here for the CNN LifeLine diary product page.):
This also has the wonderfully smooth leather cover.  And look at that personalization! It looks so nice!!!

This diary measures 8.5 cm by 15.2 cm. It is small and slim enough to take with you absolutely everywhere so you never miss the opportunity to schedule your appointments or capture information.

Inside the front cover is the time zone map as shown above in the large LifePlus notebook.  There is a page to write in your personal information, then a two-page spread with the current year's planner:
At the beginning of each month there is a featured city with information on airports, holidays, climate, time zones, currency and dialing codes.  And included is that digital square that can give you a city map on your smartphone!
The weekly layout is very efficient.  It consists of a week + notes format with the days on the left page and the right page lined for notes. At the bottom of the right page are reference calendars for last/ this/ next month, with the current week in bold.  The diary has a ribbon (actual ribbon) placemarker and the same light cream colored, super-smooth paper as the notebooks.
There are several blank pages in the back of the book for notes, then there is space to note your important dates:

There is a page about CNN Traveler (www.cnntraveler.com) which has excellent stories about locations all over the world. In the very back of the book is the information on connecting with CNN online, on tv an on your mobile as in the other CNN books.

As I said before, these books are very classy and sophisticated-looking.  They have a very professional yet cool appearance. They would make an excellent gift for any traveler, or something you should get for yourself if you are an international professional.

These books arrived just when my husband and I discovered we will soon head back into the international arena, so we appreciate them that much more. Many thanks again to Letts for these excellent products!

Here are the links again for your easy reference:

The CNN Life notebooks and diary are available at www.cnnlife.com

Other Letts products can be found at www.letts.co.uk

The CNN Traveler website is www.cnntraveler.com

The main CNN news website is www.cnn.com

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