Book Review – Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

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Title: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Author: John Carreyrou

Publisher: Knopf

Publication date: May 21st, 2018

353 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.

Review

“Like her idol Steve Jobs, she emitted a reality distortion field that forced people to momentarily suspend disbelief.”

John Carreyrou, Bad Blood

Before reading this book for the 12 Friends, 12 Reads challenge I had never heard of Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes. I frankly don’t keep up with the news that often, especially not in the tech or start up world. I normally also don’t read non-fiction, so this book was so far out of my wheelhouse and comfort zone it wasn’t even funny. BUT I found myself really enjoying this book about halfway through. Once the investigation really got started into Theranos by John Carreyrou I was enthralled and found it all fascinating.

As a psych major, I find Elizabeth Holmes’ bravado and manipulation to be very intriguing and would love to psychoanalyze her. There has to be some sort of Narcissistic Personality Disorder happening there but I’m not qualified to actually diagnose someone. But, I’m glad I read this book and learned something. I frankly don’t ever read to learn, but I’m happy I made this one exception!

Happy reading, folks!

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