What’s on Their Desk – Steve Leveen: CEO and Co-Founder of Levenger

Steve Leveen: Co-Founder and CEO of Levenger

For this week’s installment of the “What’s on Their Desk” series, I had the pleasure of chatting with Steve Leveen, Co-Founder and CEO of Levenger. As a huge fan of their products, I was really excited to have the opportunity to talk to Steve about the products that he uses in his work routine, and to share that information with you today.

Steve has a B.A. in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Cornell University.  He Co-Founded Levenger with his wife Lori, in 1987 upon recognizing the need for quality products to create a properly lit reading environment.  Although they started out selling reading lamps, they have now become the leading supplier of some of the most high-quality and useful tools for the “intellectual craftsman” which is a phrase that Steve used that I found to be such a great visually descriptive term for their products.

Steve Leveen's Desk

Steve Leveen’s Desk, Packed Full of Levenger and Apple Gear

Above you can see an actual photo of Steve’s desk showing off his favorite office supplies that he selected for this post today.  Without further delay, here are Steve’s favorite office supply products:

1. Levenger Circa NotebooksI’m sure nobody is surprised at this choice, and I am willing to bet that many of you reading this (myself included) are 100% in agreement with Steve on this one.  Steve explained that his main Circa setup consists of 2 letter sized notebooks with translucent covers, 1″ aluminum discs, and a set of white tabbed dividers.  He also uses one junior size Circa Notebook with the black Livingston cover and 3/4″ Kyoto discs.

Of the two Circa Notebooks with the translucent covers, he uses one to manage information on his direct reports, and the other to manage information on the different departments at Levenger.  Steve uses his smaller junior size Circa notebook to manage information on his personal projects at Levenger.  It was fun to get to hear all of this directly from Steve himself and it also made me think about some slight modifications to how I am currently using my one letter size and one junior size notebook for work.

2. Apple Cinema Display -I’ve seen these displays in person, and they are very impressive to look at with their clean simple design and ability to render such crisp images.  It was interesting to hear Steve run through his list of other Apple products, which in addition to his 24″ Cinema Display includes a 3G iPad, and Trackpad with a duplicate setup for his home office, and of course his iPhone 4.  It is quite obvious that in addition to Steve’s well-known passion for reading, he is also very passionate about Apple products.  Any of you out there that own Apple stock should probably drop Mr. Leveen a thank you note, just make sure to do it on a nice personalized Levenger note card.  While we spoke, Steve also mentioned that he was in the process of writing this article that combines those two passions:  Seven Ways Electronic Books Will Make Us Better Readers.

3. Pilot G2The pilot G2 is always on the top of the list for those who know about and love their pens, and Steve certainly fits both of those criteria.  An interesting fact that Steve shared with me regarding the G2 Refills is that they actually work as a replacement for all of the Levenger True Writer pens, which is incredibly convenient to know since everywhere from convenience stores to grocery stores sell G2 refills.

It was great fun to get to talk with Steve, and I really appreciate him taking time out of his day to share this information with us.  Do yourself a favor and make sure you are following @SteveLeveen on Twitter, the Levenger FaceBook page, and Steve’s Well-Read Life blog.  By keeping up with Steve and Levenger via those sources,  will find yourself with a wealth of interesting quotes, book recommendations, and great deals on Levenger products.

©2015, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.


  1. 1
    Dan says:

    Yuck! poor taste in pens. G2’s a horrible.
    -Ink doesn’t dry fast
    -Not water-proof
    -Skips when writing
    -Feels scratchy
    -Doesn’t write on glossy surfaces (backs of photos, magazines, credit card slips)

    Ballpoint Pens:
    -Dry instantly
    -Does not smear at all
    -Completely water proof
    -Does not skip when writing
    -Completely smooth writing
    -Writes on just about ANY surface known to man

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    It appears the desk is from Levenger as well.

    I too appreciate his use of Circa notebooks for organization.

    I’ve found the G2 to be a pleasure to use and have the Limited models at my desk and in my bags. I use them far more than my many fountain pens or my ballpoint.

  3. 3

    @Dan – Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of the G2s myself, however the fact that they are so readily available is a good thing. If I had to pick between a G2 and some other cheap pen Id go with the G2, but I’m also not a big fan of most ballpoints, I find that most of them are too skippy and inconsistent for me, and the tips usually dont come in the smaller sizes that I like.

    @Michael – Yup, I think you are right, there are a few other Levenger items sprinkled in there too.

  4. 4
    Dan says:

    @OSG – The fact that the G2’s are readily available and the refills are also readily available is about the ONLY good thing about those pens as far as I’m concerned.

    With regards to when you said, “I’m also not a big fan of most ballpoints, I find that most of them are too skippy and inconsistent for me, and the tips usually dont come in the smaller sizes that I like.” Those “extra fine point roller and gel pens you love so much probably still produce a thicker line than the average 1.0mm ballpoint pen.
    I’ve found that it takes somewhere right around a .4mm gel pen to achieve the same line width as a 1.0mm ballpoint. This is obviously because gel and roller inks spread more once they hit the paper.
    So in the end, you can use a bigger ball in your pen to achieve a smoother feel while still getting a nice fine line with a ballpoint. Or just go with a .7mm or even a .5mm ballpoint and get the equivalent of roughly a .3mm or .25mm gel/roller line width.

  5. 5

    @Dan – Yeah, I agree about the G2s, its just nice to know that even at a place like a hotel, I can hit the gift shop if I need a pen and I can get something better than the cheap pen that they have in the room next to the phone.

    As for the ballpoints vs. the gel ink, the only ballpoints I can really get behind are the Uniball Jetstream and similar types, although Uniball recently started labeling those as roller balls rather than ball points so Im not sure whats going on there.

    I still find the smaller gel ink pens to be a a much better writing experience and a better fit for my needs, which could very easily be different than yours. I think it would be fun to do a write up comparing the different types of pens with the same tip sizes though. Also, a big variable on the results will be the type of paper used. Either way though, at the end of the day Id prefer to do all of my writing with my fountain pens.

  6. 6
    Dan says:

    @OSG – Actually, I remember when the Jetstreams came out, and I specifically remember making a mental note that it was weird that they were labeled on the top corner of the packaging “Rollerball”. I felt that the characteristics of the ink layout resembled more of a ballpoint ink than anything remotely close to a liquid rollerball ink. But as far as I know, Uniball has always designated the jetstreams as “rollerball” category pens and not ballpoints. The only ballpoint pen uniball advertised as a “ballpoint” in the USA was the power tank RT. And you can’t even find them sold in stores anymore.

    As far as a big comparison test post, I think that would be an excellent idea. I always would have liked to read a post comparing the 4 different types of inks out there (ie: ballpoint, gel, liquid roller, & fountain) and go through all of the advantages and drawbacks of each. And as for the medium, well, you would have to choose one of the most common types of paper that most American people would probably use off the store shelves… My guess would be some sort of 5-star notebook, filler paper, printer paper, or common brand legal pad… I don’t know of any stores that sell the nice doane legal pads or your red spiral notebooks.

    As far as the comparisons of the ink, I found a little bit of that on the wiki pages for “ballpoint pen”, “rollerball pen”, and “gel pen”. There are sections of each pages that give advantages and disadvantages over the other types of pens. But I would love to see an all out OSG version! =) I know you have a tendency to get in depth and write longer reviews which is exactly what I like.

    On a side note, I noticed that Staples has just started carrying the Pilot G-tec-C pens. Currently they are stocking (either a 2 or 3 pack – I can’t remember) of 0.4mm black ink, and a 5-pack of 0.4mm black, blue, red, green, purple.
    As I’m sure you’ve noticed, they are only carrying them in the .4mm size currently. But I figured you would be happy to know they are finally branching out on carrying more micro tipped gel pens.

  7. 7

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