[M]y most essential possession is a standard-sized school notebook, which can be bought at any stationery shop on any high street across the country. I carry this everywhere and write down all the comments that are made to me by Virgin staff and anyone else I meet. I make notes of all telephone conversations and all meetings, and I draft out letters and lists of telephone calls to make.
Over the years I have worked my way through a bookcase of them, and the discipline of writing everything down ensures that I have to listen to people carefully.
Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography, London, 1998, pp. 407-408