Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on May 21st, 2018
Genres: Business, Non-Fiction
“Like her idol Steve Jobs, she emitted a reality distortion field that forced people to momentarily suspend disbelief.”
My eyes were bulging out of my head the entire time I read this. I had to take a breather after I read the last page. I’m not going to lie — this was tough to read. I was frustrated throughout the book. I sighed, I rolled my eyes, and I just kept waiting for everything to come crashing down. And, oh boy, it sure crashed down hard.
It wasn’t too long ago that everybody wanted a piece of Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes was the fearless leader about to change the world with her technology. She was going to prevent your loved ones from passing away from cancer. She was going to revolutionize healthcare!
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup follows the rise and fall of the tech unicorn Theranos, whose compelling and confusing founder Elizabeth Holmes used lies, blackmail, and intimidation to silence critics (many of whom were former employees) claiming that her supposedly revolutionary blood testing technology didn’t work.
Holmes is a hot topic right now as it seems every network is releasing a documentary about her. But this book preceded all the documentaries and should be heralded as the definitive account of the insane events.
I knew a little bit about what Holmes and her second-in-command Sunny Balwani had done. But this book revealed so much more than what you could read in an article online.
John Carreyrou was the one who broke the story about Theranos’s shoddy tests and technology. He enters the story in the final third of the book, which adds such an interesting layer to already a fascinating book.
Carreyrou manages to explain complicated science and technology behind blood testing without ever seeming to dumb it down. But really, maybe the more impressive feat is that he is able to trudge through and untangle the knot that was Theranos’ “business.”
I absolutely loved this and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a page-turner that keeps you on your toes. You feel your stomach turning because you can’t imagine Holmes creating a bigger lie without getting caught. She keeps aiming higher and higher until she comes crashing down. Hasn’t she ever heard of Icarus?
There are so many bizarre moments that you can’t believe actually happened. I’m still in disbelief that she managed to fool so many people into believing in her and Theranos while coaxing billions of dollars from them. She wasn’t great at running a company or creating technology that worked, but she was scary good at lying.
Read this if you’re in the mood for some fascinating, page-turning non-fiction.