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

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
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it was amazing
bookshelves: owned

Back in 2015, I began driving past Theranos' fancy headquarters in Palo Alto every day on my way to my new work. Having been in the biotechnology industry for a few years, Theranos was keenly on my mind as one of the places that I wanted to eventually to work for. The darling of the Bay Area Venture Capitals and second-coming-of-Steve-Jobs Elizabeth Holmes, the star-studded (if not slightly out of place) board of directors, and the promise of revolutionizing healthcare made Theranos look like the one biotech unicorn that would be able to fulfill the age-old promise of "biotech will make you rich!" I was told when I was a college student in the field. I should have known then that it was too good to be true...

When Carreyrou's first exposé came out later that year, needless to say I was shocked. Admittedly, I didn't read every subsequent article published on the matter afterwards, but it was enough to shake my outsider's view of the company. The articles basically claimed that their technology was nothing but lies, and their internal practices predatory. Yet I was convinced that Theranos had something up their sleeve. Otherwise why would they be regarded so highly? How would they have raised so much money? How could they go so wrong with so many high-profile and famous board members?

Carreyrou's book, published months before Theranos would shut its doors for good, is an incredible page turner that fills in the gaps of Theranos' troubled history while answering those very questions. While I thought the few articles of Carreyrou' on the matter were well-written, he has outdone himself with *Bad Blood*. The pacing and organization of all the evidence makes the book read like a thriller. Every chapter left me thinking "It can't get any worse than this!", only for Carreyrou to raise the stakes even higher in the next. Every single interview and email excerpt felt like another nail on a coffin that was already more nail than anything else.

The book does an amazing job of documenting the rise and fall of Theranos, Holmes, and her co-conspirators, while admittedly raising more questions. Questions regarding Holmes' personality which enabled her actions, and her post-Theranos future. More questions regarding her co-conspirators at Theranos and their fates in the relatively small field of biotech. But the most troubling question for me is how so many intelligent, rich, and influential people could become so convinced of Holmes (I'm fairly certain that their faith was in Holmes as an individual, not her idea or company) that they were able to not only ignore the outcries of experts and insiders but defend her to the bitter end. To me, *that* is what left me exacerbated at the end of all this.

Ultimately, *Bad Blood* reveals all the troubles Theranos had kept under wraps during its most celebrated years. A true story of criminal negligence, complete disrespect of science and medicine, and what feels like unbelievable levels of pride and self-coddling amongst the affluent, masterfully crafted into a book. Now, whenever I drive past the remains of the Theranos headquarters, I can confident in being grateful that I dodged that bullet in my career.
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Reading Progress

March 1, 2019 – Started Reading
March 1, 2019 – Shelved
March 1, 2019 – Shelved as: owned
March 2, 2019 – Finished Reading

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