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Bad Blood

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  65,915 ratings  ·  7,299 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 31st 2018 by Picador (first published May 21st 2018)
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TC Not really. Holmes did not answer requests for an interview. She remains mysterious as a person. The conjecture is she was simply high on herself.…moreNot really. Holmes did not answer requests for an interview. She remains mysterious as a person. The conjecture is she was simply high on herself. Some think her lover and business partner Sunny Balwani manipulated her as a young ingenue, but this book firmly rejects that, pointing out that she was manipulating people all the way back in college. (I thought that was before she'd met him but apparently they'd met while she was still in high school. Still, there's not much evidence she was ever under his influence; clearly at best they were equals, and at worst he was under hers, based on her observed behavior.)

EDIT: I should also point out that this book says she was mentored by Silicon Valley's "best," including Larry Ellison, who is a textbook example of the amoral, at-all-cost "entrepreneur" the area is so famous for. Maybe she started out genuine but perhaps the culture of the Valley corrupted her, making her believe that the ends justified the means and that the most important thing wasn't to deliver value, but to secure yet more funding, and hire the best lawyers to destroy anyone who came in her way. Her story really isn't that different from a lot of Silicon Valley; hers is just worse because of the size and scope, and because she was in a highly regulated space for once, whereas most operate in free-wheeling tech that has almost no rules.

It's all conjecture and speculation, tho. Even when/if she writes her own book, I doubt it will give any valuable insight, just more spin. Nothing short of an independent psychiatric eval will give us a glimmer of what might really have happened.(less)
Crystal Chow Therano is mentioned explicitly in the description of the book so I don't think the choice of title has anything to do with legal issues. The point is…moreTherano is mentioned explicitly in the description of the book so I don't think the choice of title has anything to do with legal issues. The point is that Theranos isn't simply an outlier in the Silicon Valley but an epitome of the often overhyped startup culture that idolizes entrepreneurs and self-made billionaires. (less)
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4.48  · 
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 ·  65,915 ratings  ·  7,299 reviews


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Bill Gates
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don’t read a lot of page turners. I often find myself unable to put a book down—but they’re not the kinds of books that would keep most people glued to their chairs. Still, I recently found myself reading a book so compelling that I couldn’t turn away.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou details the rise and fall of Theranos. If you aren’t familiar with the Theranos story, here’s the short version: the company promised to quickly give you a complete picture
...more
Roxane
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating accounting of the Theranos scam and I do mean SCAM. Exhaustively reported. I do wish there had been more analysis of how a scam of this magnitude was made possible and enabled. This girl dropped out of college and convinced Henry Kissinger, George Schulz, Rupert Murdoch and a bunch of other famous and/or incredibly talented people to give her money or work with her even though there was no there, there. WHAT? There are so many incredible WTF moments. Just wow. Privilege is a hell of ...more
Michael Perkins
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The resignations infuriated Elizabeth and Sunny. The following day, they summoned the staff for an all-hands meeting in the cafeteria. Copies of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho had been placed on every chair. Elizabeth told the gathered employees that she was building a religion. If there was anyone not prepared to show complete devotion and unmitigated loyalty to the company they should “get the fuck out.”

The Steve Jobs Syndrome

I have covered Silicon Valley as a journalist and author for three d
...more
Julie
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou is a 2018 Knopf Publishing Group publication.


‘Super high turnover rate means you’re never bored at work.
Also good if you’re an introvert because each shift is short-staffed. Especially if you’re swing or graveyard. You essentially don’t exist to the company.
Why be bothered with lab coats and safety goggles? You don’t need to use PPE at all. Who cares if you catch something like HIV or Syphilis? This company sure doesn’t!
...more
Andrew Garvin
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Early in my career I worked at a next-generation sequencing startup with Theranos-level ambitions. In fact, it went further. The founders’ mission was to cure aging. Literally, the goal was immortality.

There were other similarities: The company was founded by wunderkinds, they won the attention and support of a prominent professor in the field, they dropped out and raised millions of dollars from non-hard tech investors off the back of a concept, then tens of millions of dollars off the back of
...more
BlackOxford
The True Cost of Idealism

I have been guilty of the grave fault of idealism in much of my professional life. Consequently I cringe when I read of the young Elizabeth Holmes and her idealistic trajectory from the thrilling emotionally-laden launch of Theranos, which promised a breakthrough in medical technology, to its ignominious destruction as a fraudulent scam. In her I see myself - not in her level of talent or her self-confidence but in her profound self-delusion. It is this self-delusion whi
...more
HFK
While reading Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, my blood was boiling. Partly because I have enormous dislike towards Elizabeth Holmes, but also because our house has been doing 35 to 40 degrees (celsius) a day as does my workplace, too.

(Finland, as well as many other European countries, is not designed for a hot weather, but instead our buildings and ventilation is made to keep warmth in. This includes private housing but also public infrastructure such as hospitals, shops
...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Madalyn (Novel Ink)
This was fucking BANANAS.
Ilona
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Tips on how to make an unicorn:
- Be a sociopath
- Excel at sales&marketing
- Get some cool people on your Board

Tips to how to fake it till you make it?
- Hire a lot of lawyers
- Intimidate all your employees
- Pretend that you are a vocal proponent of a cause that you are actually against

How to make it as a woman in the tech world?
- Baritone
- Intese staring

What can fuck up your amazing future as a tech billionaire?
- Facts and data :(

I love any story that shows how sales&marketing can change
...more
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
4.5 Stars

Elizabeth told the gathered employees that she was building a religion. If there were any among them who didn’t believe, they should leave.


Wow! What a powerful story. I'm a fan of financial stories and I personally work in the tech industry so when I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. If you like shows like Shark Tank, I think you will find this story interesting.

Elizabeth Holmes is 19 and an incredibly smart girl. She decides to dropout of Stanford because she has an idea
...more
Rincey
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
HOLY COW. I followed the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos story slightly but this book does such a fantastic job of showing how completely banana pants this situation was.

This was also great on audio, and so addictive that I started making up chores I could do just so I could keep listening.

Watch me discuss this book in my July wrap up: https://youtu.be/8kaQcaNn9uw
Lola
A company that set out to save lives… only to put those same lives in danger with its malfunctioning technology.

What a scary and fascinating story. It’s hard to believe that Theranos really happened because you think that nowadays it’s easy to spot liars and lying technologies… but it’s not that easy after all, especially if the person duping you is as charismatic as this Elizabeth Holmes is.

But the main reason why it took a VERY long time for people to catch on that Theranos was doing more har
...more
JanB
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, audiobook
How does a woman who was once lauded as the youngest self-made female billionaire find herself now broke and charged with fraud? Her face was on the cover of many financial magazines as the golden girl of Silicon Valley, the female Steve Jobs. In her black turtlenecks, she even dressed like Jobs.

Elizabeth Holmes had an idea for a medical device that used breakthrough technology that could provide lab results from a simple finger prick and a minuscule drop of blood, and thereby revolutionize the
...more
Lex Kent
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I don’t read a lot of nonfiction books. I love the imagination of fiction. When I heard about this book from a television show, it sounded unbelievable. The fact that this was a true story that seemed stranger than fiction, I had to give it a read. I’m really glad I did because this was really good.

This story is about the youngest woman, to become a self-made billionaire, and the giant fraud she committed on Silicon Valley. Elizabeth Holmes, was a Stanford drop-out that used her knowledge and f
...more
Holly
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Sanford dropout with no extensive engineering or medical or science or business knowledge 'created' an idea for a product and company that required all of those things. It not only ultimately failed but also put untold numbers of people at risk and harm? You don't say. One thing, for me, that was truly surprising in this story is that the dropout in question wasn't a white male, instead it was a woman, Elizabeth Holmes.

Elizabeth Holmes had on the surface a brilliant idea - what if just a coup
...more
Hannah
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mesmerising. Unbelievable. Compulsively readable.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. I sped through this audiobook in a few days because I just could not stop listening to it. There were so many unbelievable things in this true account of the Theranos scam that my mouth dropped open in a way I wouldn't have thought happens in real life.

John Carreyrou traces the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her medical start-up Theranos from the beginning with the help of countless interviews and other insig
...more
Gwern
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bad Blood is a straightforward read about the rise and fall of Theranos, done in chronological order in third-person up until Carreyrou becomes personally involved, at which point things accelerate to the SEC civil settlement. Carreyrou doesn't end too strongly but says that the criminal investigation may well end up charging Holmes & Sunny. This means that it lacks a really conclusive 'ending': Theranos was continuing to limp on, having received funding from a vulture on the strength of its ...more
Brandice
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating! Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is a detailed account of the (perceived) rise and demise of Theranos, a blood testing startup once valued at nearly $9B. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and barely wanted to put it down. It was baffling to read about the scams, stunts and lies this company pulled, led by founder Elizabeth Holmes and her former boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani. The red flags surrounding Theranos were rampant, and Carreyrou does an excellent job ...more
TC
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just when I thought all reporters ever did anymore was see what was trending on social media and write stories with titles like "You'll cheer how this mom clapped-back at her body-shamers on Twitter," this book gives me hope that old-fashioned investigative journalism is alive and well and doing exactly what it's supposed to: shine an unflinching hot light on those who abuse their power and privilege. Here, it's aimed at the bizarre cult of Elizabeth Holmes and her "disruptive" "game changing" c ...more
Carol (Bookaria)
A captivating, interesting, and (almost) unbelievable story. I had heard of Therano's downfall in the news, but the way this author investigated and narrated the events was absolutely remarkable.

The book details the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon-Valley company that aimed to provide fast, blood test results with a single drop of blood.

Elizabeth Holmes was the founder and CEO, her goal was to revolutionize the healthcare industry and, at some point, she was compared to the likes of Steve J
...more
Maxwell
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, kindle, non-fiction
I loved (and was disturbed by) every second of this. It's the exact kind of investigative story that I find fascinating filled with strange figures, secrecy, and moments that will make you say "how is that possible?!" Not only an incredible story, but Carreyrou does an absolutely wonderful job in telling it. Though some of the science is fairly complex, he's able to explain it clearly enough to show you just how critical Theranos' missteps were and the impact it had on real people's lives. I pow ...more
Tatiana
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
What an audacious fraud!

Elizabeth Holmes must be the Queen of self-hype to get so many powerful (and allegedly smart) men to support this scheme (Jim Mattis! Henry Kissinger!). I would enjoy seeing both her and Sunny Balwani in jail, for what they'd done not only to their customers, but their employees.

Although I am not a fan of Wall Street Journal and the baloney they peddle in their opinion pieces, I was impressed by how their investigative department stood up against legal pressures from The
...more
Manuel Antão
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


Con-Artist: "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup" by John Carreyrou



This story is fascinating. Yes, how was she able to rationalize lying and endangering so many -- investors, Walgreens, and especially the general public? It was good this book went into her family of origin. Holmes' father expected her to do something that would change the world. Did Elizabeth feel pressure to be some sort of genius influencer? She h
...more
Rebecca McNutt
Oh, Silicon Valley, the place of realized dreams and sometimes of unexpected nightmares.

Bad Blood immediately drew me into buying a copy right when I read "a riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron" (I like to read about Enron as well as the less sunny side of modern corporate history). With the infamous story of Theranos splashing across the news and through media anyway, I figured now was as good a time as ever to actually read this book and learn more about exactly what happ
...more
Michelle
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
“Bad Blood” details the fascinating journey of a brilliant, soulless, young entrepreneur in pursuit of riches and fame. The story has heroes and villains, twisting and turning subplots, political intrigue and -even while we know the eventual outcome- plenty of surprises. It has all the elements of a good fictional thriller, but what makes this story most shocking and intriguing -- is the fact that it really happened. The details in this book will leave you shaking in your boots when you realize ...more
Otis Chandler
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, business
Scandalous, riveting, and well reported. I tore through this in a weekend. This is an unbelievable story - I literally cannot believe how so many people were duped by this company. It's a story of a Stanford grad dropout who had a vision, and an uncanny ability to make others believe her, and as the pressure piled on, as she started to be compared to Steve Jobs, and get accolades like "first female self-made billionaire", she started to cheat. I'm sure it started small at first - the story of th ...more
Sherri
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should be mandatory B-School reading

I read this book in one day. I had read some articles and/or saw TV shows on Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes, but my knowledge was pretty general. Once I started the book, I could not put it down. I canceled lunch with a friend so I could continue reading. I ordered pizza for the family so I could continue reading. The story is interesting and shocking. It is a story that every Board should read because ultimately it failed in its oversight responsibilities - wh
...more
Rachel
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This was every bit as wild as everyone has been saying. Bad Blood is probably the best embodiment of 'truth is stranger than fiction' that I have ever read. Trust me, you do not need to be interested in Silicon Valley or business or medicine in the slightest to be riveted by this incredible piece of investigative journalism.
Gretchen Rubin
An outstanding account of the crazy story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos. A real page-turner. Just about everyone I know has read it, or like my sister Elizabeth, listened to the audio-book. I also just started listening to The Dropout, a 6-part podcast by ABC News correspondent Rebecca Jarvis about this subject.
Marchpane
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-harder-2019
The meteoric rise and spectacular fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes as told in Bad Blood is a must read. I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the startup that tried to ‘disrupt’ healthcare and in the process put thousands of lives at risk – a Silicon Valley unicorn that turned out to be selling snake oil.

Bad Blood is totally engaging all the way through – no dry, boring bits – mostly because Carryrou keeps his focus on the characters. The story is told in a simple linear fashion, from t
...more
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“When the officer asked what he’d taken, Sunny blurted out in his accented English, “He stole property in his mind.” 17 likes
“A sociopath is often described as someone with little or no conscience. I’ll leave it to the psychologists to decide whether Holmes fits the clinical profile, but there’s no question that her moral compass was badly askew. I’m fairly certain she didn’t initially set out to defraud investors and put patients in harm’s way when she dropped out of Stanford fifteen years ago. By all accounts, she had a vision that she genuinely believed in and threw herself into realizing. But in her all-consuming quest to be the second coming of Steve Jobs amid the gold rush of the “unicorn” boom, there came a point when she stopped listening to sound advice and began to cut corners. Her ambition was voracious and it brooked no interference. If there was collateral damage on her way to riches and fame, so be it.” 11 likes
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