Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Whoa boy was this book bonkers.  And a true story!  Sometimes I had to remind myself while reading “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup” that this actually happened and there are people in the world that are truly awful human beings.  This is a non-fiction book that reads like fiction and I highly recommend it.

When she was just 19 years old, Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford drop out, set out to revolutionize the blood testing industry with a promise of making testing quicker, easier, and less painful.  She managed to secure investments in the millions and became the darling of Silicon Valley.  She was being compared to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and appeared in interviews and on the cover of magazines.  The only problem: the device didn’t work and the test results were fake.  How did she manage to dupe so many people for so long?

I had heard of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes through traditional media outlets because her fall from grace and the subsequent scandal was headline news.   But the news only scratched the surface of the true story of Theranos and this book did an excellent job of exposing what really happened within the company and how Holmes and her boyfriend Sunny lied, cheated, and manipulated their way towards millions.  This story is sometimes too strange to believe but Carreyrou does a good job of laying out all the facts while adding personal stories to allow the reader to understand how this could have gone on for so long and the impact the lies had on employees as well as patients. He also makes the science talk and medical information easy to understand for people who have no background in these subjects.  It is very scary to think what would have happened, and how many people would have died, if this story was not told.  I think it is clear that Elizabeth Holmes is a sociopath to not only think that she could get away with what she did but to also not think at all about the harm she was causing. If I have one complaint, it’s that I wanted to know more about why Holmes did what she did but I understand that we may never know that answers to that.   From page one I was hooked on this story and I look forward to watching the various documentaries that have already begun to air about Theranos so I can learn more.

This was a fascinating look at the power that affluent people hold and the power of a good story.  I was hooked from the beginning and would recommend this book to people interested in true crime as well as readers who enjoy non-fiction.

Author:  John Carreyrou

Published: 2018

Rating: 5 Stars


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