Book Review: Bad Blood

bad-bloodTitle: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Author: John Carreyrou
Genre: Business, True Crime
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: May 21, 2018
Pages: 299
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby App
Date finished reading: March 3, 2019

Goodreads Description: The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by 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 testing 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 more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

My Review: Bad Blood is the fascinating story of the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her startup company Theranos. This book is basically a manual on what not do when starting a company. Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t start a company just because you want to become a billionaire.
  2. Start a company in a field you have expertise. If you are creating medical tools, you might need more than two years of science classes at a university.
  3. Using scare tactics is not a great way to win loyalty in your fellow employees.
  4. Don’t believe just any science data – look specifically for peer-review publications that outline extensive research and testing.
  5. Lying about your product is not only morally wrong but could lead to fatalities.
  6. Even if you serve on the board of a fraudulent company and advocate fake technology, you can still get a job as President Trump’s Secretary of Defense.

Journalist John Carreyrou’s research finally led to the closing of Theranos, criminal charges against Elizabeth Holmes, and justice for the individuals and families who suffered because of Holmes and her fake technology. It is still shocking that it took more than a decade to do so. I really wanted the book to include a “where are they now” section. The whole time I was reading this, I kept thinking that it would make a fantastic Hollywood movie. Guest what? It is in fact going to be a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence. YES!!!

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

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