The Grail Diary

In the film Indiana Jones and the last crusade, Indiana’s father, Henry Jones, played by Sean Connery, has a Grail diary. This notebook is the complete collection of his notes and sketches made in search of the Holy Grail. The Grail is the cup that Jesus drank from at the last support and is fabled to have magical healing powers for anyone who drinks from it. 

According to the film, Dr Jones begins the notebook with his thoughts about the Holy Grail at the start of his search for it and gradually added to it whenever he found a new clue or piece of information that might help him find the cup. The notebook was carried with him at all times and acted as a personal reference guide for all things related to the legend of the cup and its hiding place.

Wade Watts borrows this idea in the book Ready Player One to keep a physical copy of all his research related to the challenge to find Halliday’s Easter Egg. Wade uses the Grail Diary throughout the challenges as an aid to his memory.

While studying for my Information Systems and Management degree, I created my version of a Grail Diary titled The CIO Handbook. I used a Google Drive document to store all my notes for each module and added anything else I picked up in my job or more extensive reading that might help me in the future. I still have this document and have created a couple of other Grail Diaries related to significant, long-term goals that I have set myself.

Many note-taking apps provide a better platform for a digital Grail Diary than a Google Doc. OneNote, Notion, and Evernote are great tools that make it easy to take and store notes that you can organise and quickly access when you need to remind yourself of something you have previously read or an idea you have had. The ultimate software for a Grail Diary is Roam Research; it is not the easiest tool to master, but it works like your own personal Wikipedia.

In knowledge representation and reasoning, a knowledge graph is a knowledge base that uses a graph-structured data model or topology to integrate data. Knowledge graphs are often used to store interlinked descriptions of entities – objects, events, situations or abstract concepts – with free-form semantics.


If you have a big challenge or goal, start your own Grail Diary. Add all your notes and ideas to the diary and use them as a reference whenever needed. You could start with a dead tree notebook or a simple Google or Word doc, but to make the most of the digital format, sign up to roam and begin to build a personal knowledge graph. 

Get in touch with me on Twitter if you have your own Grail Diary or start one and want to talk about your ideas on using one.