Gwern's Reviews > Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
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Reading Progress

June 15, 2018 – Started Reading
June 15, 2018 – Finished Reading
June 17, 2018 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Peter Tillman A remarkably good review/analysis/essay. Thank you!


Paul One quibble - you're confusing sociopathy with psychopathy. These are different (though psychopaths are also sociopaths), and Carreyrou is right to say Holmes has some sociopathic traits, I think


Gwern Paul: that's an old argument in the literature (eg comes up tediously often in Handbook of Psychopathy). I find it unconvincing either way and don't bother to police the distinction in my writing - they can't agree on the difference, so any attempt on my part is a waste of time and lost on readers anyway. Holmes may have some -pathy symptoms, but of course symptoms can overlap a great deal between disorders, and I think the picture as a whole is much more consistent with narcissism.


Paul yeah, I agree that narcissism is probably a closer fit


Amanda Great review and it helped fill in some of the holes. As someone who really doesn't have any experience with sv startups I had no idea what is normal and wasn't isn't normal for that area.


message 6: by Gwern (last edited Dec 30, 2018 06:22AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gwern There was a lot that was abnormal. At least of the startups I know about, most of them are actually quite forthcoming, in person if not online. Taking secrecy to the level Theranos did for so many years (decades!) is, outside of Apple where it's a way of life (and an exception to many rules), and outside of temporary 'stealth mode', quite unusual. Usually, startups are 'default dead' and threatened far more by obscurity than by publicity... They need customers more than they need stealth, because the incumbents can't or won't take their idea (either because they are too slow, think it's unprofitable, or that it's a lousy idea), in part for recruiting etc, and publicity is vital to them.


Megan Great review! I'm reading the book now and it really feels like narcissism to me as well. Especially how she turns on anyone to criticize the company in any way, such as when she fire Mosley.


message 8: by Karl (new)

Karl your reviews are so informative that i am reading through all of them.


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