Hey, I’m Trevor Elwell.
I enjoy coding, music, writing, reading, wanderlusting, puzzles, and untranslatable words (especially this phrase). I’m an INTJ most of the time but when I’m feeling gregarious I’ll replace that I with an E like it’s nobody’s business. Amateur meditator and bio-hacker.
I was one of the first employees at BrandYourself.com and am presently a software developer there. I’m using this site to keep track of the books I’ve read, write some journal entries, talk about coding problems, talk about regular problems, that kind of stuff. With the full awareness that I’m probably the only one that’s going to read this thing.
I’m also a freelance web developer for hire (check out my LinkedIn for some of my recommendations). Whether you want to build a simple website, a complex web application, or anywhere in between: I’m you’re developer. Contact me here.
Here are some books that I’ve read and have enjoyed reading. Ideally I’ll write out my notes on each one of these books in a blog post but that won’t always be the case. They’re in reverse chronological order so the one at the top is likely what I’m reading now.
Gödel, Escher, Bach | Douglas Hofstadter
On its surface this book is about concepts in computer science, linguistics, and mathematics among other things. Under the surface it’s a tome which explores how we can be conscious in this world at all. The only word I can use to describe it is incredible. Hofstadter describes how everything is connected and from music, to math, to art, to sentience. Very thought provoking.
Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth | Buckminster Fuller
Fuller is a genius, bar none. He believed, and set out to prove in his own way, that we have everything that we need on Earth to sustain everyone on the planet. Believing this, why is it that so many people cannot get food, or shelter? This book was pretty good but is worth reading just to get a glimpse into the mind of this genius.
The Home and the World | Rabindranath Tagore
A friend recommended this book to me; I’d never read anything by Tagore up to this point. The story was fairly straightforward but I highly recommend reading this book simply to view the beauty of Tagore’s writing. I was blown away by the elegance with which he wrote. So often throughout this book I would read the most apt metaphor, put the book down and just ponder its beauty for a minute.
Bird by Bird | Anne Lamott
My goodness this was an amazing book. I’ve never wanted to be a writer more than when I was reading this book. It’s a book that’s on its face about writing but it’s really about life and how to life. Lamott’s voice literally made me laugh and cry multiple times throughout this book, I plan on reading more by her.
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
Man’s Search for Meaning | Viktor Frankl
Holocaust surviver Frankl describes time in a concentration camp and, from a psychological perspective, what was going on there. The second half of the book is about Frankl’s theory on life which is incredible (it also talks about why he may have survived and others didn’t). In summary, “Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.” This book was mind blowing but very heavy. Read it.
Siddhartha | Hermann Hesse
I’ve probably read this book 10 times- I can’t get enough. Whenever I’m feeling generally low I know that it’s time to read Siddhartha. It’s about none other than Siddhartha, a Brahmin’s son who isn’t content with the life that was laid out before him. So he and his friend, Govinda (literally, the ‘finder of Veda’) begin their quest to find nirvana. This book brings me peace and radiates mindfulness.
Seveneves | Neal Stephenson
Stephenson is another one of my favorites. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the moon exploded? Well Stephenson is an expert at taking something that hypothetically could happen and extrapolating to the n-th degree. In the most tantalizing way. It’s not my favorite Stephenson book, but definitely worth reading.
The Three-Body Problem | Cixin Liu
If you like sci fi, aliens, and way too much detail about space then read this book. You will not regret that decision I promise. It’s originally written in Chinese but the translation above is really good you can barely tell.
How Proust Can Change Your Life | Alain de Botton
I didn’t like it as much as On Love but it was really good. Also wrote a blog post on it
On Love | Alain de Botton
An amazing book on, well, love. I wrote a blog post on it.
10% Happier | Dan Harris
I picked this up because I mindlessly follow whatever podcasts tell me to do. It’s a story about part of Harris’ life and how meditation really helped him out. It was pretty good on its own but it got me interested in the JuBus and Joseph Goldstein in particular.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World | Haruki Murakami
I love Murakami. I’ve read most of his books but this might be my favorite.
You got to know your limits. Once is enough, but you got to learn. A little caution never hurt anyone. A good woodsman has only one scar on him. No more, no less.