Chip War Book Overview

An overview of Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology by Chris Miller, detailing the pivotal role and evolution of semiconductors in global economics, politics, and military power, and highlighting key industry figures and geopolitical tensions.

Christian Mills


November 21, 2023

This post is part of the following series:


“Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology” by Chris Miller delves into the pivotal role of semiconductors in shaping the global economy, international politics, and military power. It covers historical developments, influential figures in the semiconductor industry, and the geopolitical tensions surrounding this technology.


  1. Semiconductors are central to modern technology and global power dynamics.
  2. The U.S. and China’s struggle for technological supremacy focuses heavily on computing power.
  3. Taiwan’s TSMC is crucial in global semiconductor production.
  4. Semiconductors have transformed from a niche invention to a backbone of the global economy.
  5. Moore’s Law has driven exponential growth in computing power.
  6. The semiconductor industry’s success is a blend of scientific, manufacturing, and business expertise.
  7. Silicon Valley’s rise was fueled by scientific expertise, manufacturing know-how, and visionary business thinking.
  8. Semiconductors are a critical component in a vast range of devices.
  9. The global chip industry is a triumph of efficiency but also a significant vulnerability.
  10. The concentration of chip manufacturing in East Asia is a result of deliberate decisions by governments and corporations.


  1. TSMC is the world’s most crucial chip maker.
  2. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) produces the majority of the world’s advanced processor chips.
  3. The U.S. and China are major players in the global semiconductor industry.
  4. Advanced chip manufacturing is concentrated in Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
  5. Silicon Valley’s development was heavily influenced by the U.S. military’s technological needs.
  6. Moore’s Law predicts the doubling of computing power on chips every couple of years.
  7. The chip industry’s revenue is significantly driven by smartphone sales.
  8. Semiconductors are crucial in a wide range of devices, from phones to cars.
  9. Globalization is heavily reliant on semiconductor trade.
  10. The pandemic caused significant disruptions in the semiconductor supply chain.


  1. Explore the history of the semiconductor industry to understand its current landscape.
  2. Consider the geopolitical implications of semiconductor manufacturing locations.
  3. Recognize the importance of Taiwan and TSMC in the global tech industry.
  4. Acknowledge the role of semiconductors in modern military technology.
  5. Understand the impact of Moore’s Law on technological progress.
  6. Appreciate the complexities and vulnerabilities of the semiconductor supply chain.
  7. Stay informed about the ongoing U.S.-China technology rivalry.
  8. Consider the broader economic and political factors influencing the tech industry.
  9. Recognize the critical role of scientific research and innovation in advancing technology.
  10. Acknowledge the importance of global collaboration in the tech industry’s development.


The conclusion connects the early history of semiconductor innovation, starting from Jack Kilby’s demonstration at Texas Instruments, to the current geopolitical landscape. It emphasizes the strategic importance of semiconductors, the pivotal role of key figures like Morris Chang, and the ongoing technological race, particularly between the U.S. and China, shaping the future of global power.


  1. The birth of semiconductor technology is closely linked to geopolitical tensions and military funding.
  2. Innovators like Morris Chang significantly advanced semiconductor fabrication processes.
  3. The U.S.’s technological edge, especially in defense, has been heavily reliant on semiconductor advances.
  4. The migration of talented individuals to the U.S. contributed greatly to its technological leadership.
  5. Semiconductor innovation is not just a product of science but also of market needs and business acumen.
  6. Moore’s Law has driven the semiconductor industry, but its future is uncertain due to physical and economic limitations.
  7. The semiconductor industry is at a crossroads, with potential shifts in global supply chains and technological leadership.
  8. The end of Moore’s Law could significantly impact the semiconductor industry and global technological progress.
  9. Semiconductor innovation continues to attract significant investment, indicating ongoing potential for growth and advancement.
  10. The shift from general-purpose computing to specialized chips, especially for AI, is reshaping the semiconductor landscape.
  11. The future of computing power is not just about transistor density but also about cost-effectiveness and practical applications.
  12. The evolution of the semiconductor industry is a testament to human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of technological advancement.


  1. Jack Kilby’s innovation at Texas Instruments was a milestone in semiconductor history.
  2. Morris Chang’s contributions greatly advanced semiconductor fabrication.
  3. The semiconductor industry’s growth was propelled by defense funding and global talent migration to the U.S.
  4. The end of Moore’s Law poses a potential challenge to the future of semiconductor innovation.
  5. The shift towards specialized chips, especially for AI, marks a significant change in the semiconductor industry.
  6. The cost and physical limitations of semiconductor manufacturing are becoming increasingly significant challenges.