For a shy kid, the public library around the corner from Mark Hall’s Houston home was a haven and a portal to adventure. In the real world, he struggled to belong, but books transported him to other realities and exposed him to inspiring ideas.
“I would be a different person had I not had access to that library,” Hall reflected. “I loved going there to check out books. It was a door to the wider world.”
Years later, Hall ’84 would explore the wider world in person as he studied and worked abroad as a lawyer, businessman and documentary filmmaker, but he never lost his passion for the printed word.
As technology advances, Hall is increasingly drawn to books—the real, printed and bound, hold-them-in-your-hands and keep-them-forever kind. In the age of cryptocurrency, AI-generated content and the never-ending news cycle, books have never felt more compelling.
Once Hall’s escape from physical reality, books are now his way back into the real world as material objects of authenticity and permanence. After all, Hall said, “It’s much harder to fake a book.”
Software Sense and Antique Sensibilities
Hall was born in Panama to American parents and relocated to Houston around kindergarten. As an only child, he found companionship in books. His love of reading became a love of learning, which led to excellence in the classroom and a lifelong curiosity about the world. At Texas A&M University, Hall majored in finance but also joined the pre-law society, eventually serving as the organization’s president.