Monthly Archives: June 2005

Book: Freakonomics

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

this was an amazing book. buy it, read it, then buy it for a friend. (and it is also available on Audible — so I downloaded it and listened) …

you’ve probably heard of the book by now … it is Levitt’s take on crime, child birth, real estate agents, and more. the book is remarkably interesting.

it was recommended to me by Andrew McLaughlin and Tom Spengler. I even found out this weekend that Jon Hoffman read it.

Book: A World Lit Only by Fire

this is a great book — super enlightening. (unfortunately it is not available in audio-book so i read this one)

A World Lit Only by Fire : The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance – Portrait of an Age by William Manchester

this book (which was referred to me by Ian Shea) is about the history of how the Middle Ages transformed into the Renaissance. this is a must read for anyone in the innovation business … anyone that wants to understand the spread of technology and how it might impact the world.

the book starts first by describing the Middle Ages — a ghastly time to be alive. Manchester writes in great detail but also tells great stories of what it was like for the average person (not fun!). what is amazing that over 1000 years, very little changed. more changes now in a decade then changed then in a millennium.

then the book talks about the church and the excesses of the papacy at the time. it then talks large about the transformation to the Renaissance, Martin Luther, and a long overview of exploration and Magellan.

Summation: this is a short but excellent read. definitely should be required for any high tech entrepreneur or venture capitalist.

Brian Halla, CEO of National Semiconductor

I had the opportunity to interview Brian Halla at last week’s Silicon Forum.

Brian is CEO and Chairman of National Semiconductor ( — $2 billion annual sales and $7.22 billion market cap (as of today).  He serves on the boards of the Semiconductor Industry Association, the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, the Technology Network (TechNet), and Foveon Inc. 

We had a wide-ranging discussion about China, its advantages, and what US policy should be. Brian is an extremely interesting and dynamic CEO who has a lot of insights into the world’s fastest growing economy. The boom in consumer products have been fueling the growth of National Semiconductor and other semi companies. And, of course, China plays a major role in the manufacturing of these products.

you can also view pictures from last week’s the Silicon Forum

Introducing Scott Kirsner

I met up with Scott Kirsner for lunch yesterday …. he just moved to the Bay Area from Boston where he has been a columnist for the Boston Globe and running tech conferences there. He’s also writen for Fast Company, Salon, Wired, Newsweek, the New York Times, and others.

he’s now “working on a book about new technologies have changed (and are changing) Hollywood for Random House/Ballantine Books.” To that end he just launched a blog entitled CinemaTech