Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reading Intel & Bankers

Just finished Tim Jackson's Inside Intel: Andy Grove and the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Chip Company and can't help but feel that this was a hatchet job on Intel. I enjoyed it and found it an easy read but it did not tell me how Intel became so successful. The stories/dirt that Jackson discusses seems to to contradict Intel's success, i.e. how could Intel have become so successful by behaving so badly? In other words, Intel succeeded despite Andy Grove. Not quite what I expected.

I was actually also interested in the chapters on Penang - one on theft of chips and another about a fire in a plant that he claims was caused by unauthorized changes to equipment. This latter almost makes the charge that Intel participated in insurance fraud by burying the evidence that the plant made these changes.

Roy Smith's Global Bankers was written during the ascent of Japanese banking and in retrospect seems dated. I found it rather dry - the only highlights being personal experiences that he relates. The cautionary tale here seems to be that when an observer is in the midst of a seeming revoluation (in this case Japanese banks are about to take over the world) it is hard to be objective. Where are the Japanese banks now? They fell prey to a real estate bubble that is not too different than one currently experienced by the US financial system.

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