Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
Reviewed by GGGinny
What I drank: Plenty of champs. I also started rewatching Ted Lasso so I’m in a great mood!
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.
Drunk Overview: So I’m not sure how many of you know about Theranos. Basically, the company said it could do all of the blood tests on a drop of blood but that was a big fat fucking lie. This book is by the investigative journalist who uncovered the conspiracy to defraud people because the tech didn’t exist.
- I haven’t exactly hidden this fact but I’m in business school right now, so Theranos has been a topic for discussion
- Mainly of what not to do (even if there’s a fine line between bragging about what you think will be possible and lying about a product you know doesn’t work…)
- Seriously thouhg, this book is a fascintating picture of how things can go wrong.
- Starting with a founders misunderstanding of how certain technologies work
- Followed by getting sycophants into place by firing anyone who disagrees with you
- And only being found out because you have enough employees who can support themselves in otehr ways to deal with the threats of harassment and legal action.
- I mean, this book has it all.
- One of the best thingsa bout this book was how factually everything was laid out. The timeline was impeccable, the sources were clearly well researched, and, man, I just think this book was really well done.
- I think it can take a lot to make the topic of someone doing the background research required to be part of an investigative report easy to read.
- And this book is eminently readable (I will say I had some trouble with the beginning but that’s probably a me thing and due to be in the middle of the semester and just having no fucks to give rather than anything about the writing).
- I ended up with a lump in my throat reading so much of this book, especially the parts where Theranos’s bad practices affected people’s every day lives; from something as simple as getting blood drawn when expecting a finger prick, to making a major medical life decision off of poor information.
- I mean, the amount of hell former employees went through…
- Basically this company sounded like a living hell to work through…
- If you like reading about drama you are not actively involved in then PLEASE read this book. It straight up sounds like high school drama at the lunch table sometimes.
- Which makes it even more impressive that Elizabeth Holmes managed to dupe so many people into being on the board and investing in this company.
- That being said, the legal battle is ongoing and I have SO MANY OPINIONS that I probably shouldn’t put in this post
- (blaming her ex-boyfriend for controlling her is absolute bullshit and they’re both pieces of shit.
- because I’m not actually on the jury and my opinion has no meaning
- (they should both go to jail).
- And my opinions are why I never would have made it on the jury,….
What it Pairs With: God, red wine. Something bold. A merlot. Or San Giovese.
Rating: 4.9/5 like I said I had trouble getting into the beginning, but I basically read the last half in one go.