Book Review - Bad Blood

by @edent | # #

Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - John Carreyrou

Bad Blood book cover.
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.

Elizabeth Holmes is my hero. The next time I'm in a room full of Very Big And Important People, and I'm feeling out of my depth, I'll remember the story of the plucky heroine who conned her way into billions of dollars. What an inspiration!

I polished off this book over a weekend, it is gripping and detailed - without getting bogged down in its complex cast of characters. Holmes and her partner Sunny Balwani, convinced the world that they had a killer app for health. The sordid tale of how they lied their way into the medical and financial world is a real page-turner.

Ultimately, some responsibility must fall on all the people working within Theranos who didn't blow the whistle. How many red-flags have to be ignored before you are personally culpable? Also deserving of blame are the men who ignored all due diligence - proof that bullshit baffles brains every time.

I found it disturbing how often old white guys were described as "smitten" by her. It is almost comical to say that she bewitched her audience. I don't think the flaw was in her "feminine wiles" - but rather people's willingness to overlook basic mistakes in the pursuit of riches.

Elizabeth Holmes isn't a witch or a temptress - she's someone who knew exactly how to play the game and (nearly) broke the bank.

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