Love. Hate. Life. Death. Intrigue. Lies, Deceit. Millions of Dollars.
Bad Blood, the tale of Elizabeth Holmes and the rise and fall of her startup Theranos has it all.
John Carreyrou has taken the facts behind one of the best known frauds in Silicon Valley this century and crafted a story that will have you turning the page while shaking your head and wondering how the protagonist can possibly get away with it…right up until the point where she can no longer sustain the fraud and it all comes crashing down around her.
Theranos has been the subject of many a newspaper article or news magazine deep dive in the years since it collapsed on the back of Carreyrou’s investigative reporting in the Wall Street Journal. This book is the story of not only the rise and fall of the company and its likely sociopathic chief executive but also the story of how Carreyou proved, in his own words, the empress has no clothes.
It’s well written in a journalistic style. The names, places, and quotes are precise and help the author to tell the story with authority and objectivity. His portrait of Holmes and her pathology is competing and leaves the reader questioning themselves: would I have fallen for the Theranos pitch, too?
The answer is: probably.
Silicon Valley loves a disruptor and a promise to disrupt an industry as central to the US economy as the healthcare sector was always going to be attractive for the investors seeking a place to park their millions in venture capital. That the individual driving this disruption was young, female, and Steve Jobs-like in her personal presentation only fueled this enthusiasm. The millions rolled in even as the technology remained unproven. Indeed, the technology never really worked in anything approaching the way it was marketed – it was turtles all the way down, so to speak.
I listened to Bad Blood in its audiobook version on Audible and the narration is solid and engaging. The book is available in all the standard formats (ebook, hardback, paperback, audiobook) on Amazon and elsewhere, too, and well worth it for someone looking to take a dive into a great story by a talented storyteller.
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