- Publisher: Picador (May 29, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1509868062
- ISBN-13: 978-1509868063
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 499 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup Hardcover – May 29, 2018
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The subject matter - developing devices and assays - is a complex dry topic, difficult to write engagingly about. But JC does a workmanlike job and I read this in one go after its midnight Kindle release. My only nit to pick is the poor editing: there are so many uses of '....named....' as in 'an engineer named John Smith' or 'a restaurant named Joe's Bar' that it got irritating. Find/replace 'named' with a comma would have worked fine in most cases. The text was also repetitive - eg '...an award named after Channing...' gets at least 2 mentions. But not enough to lose a star.
Kudos to the good people at Theranos who had the courage to get the story out and for JCs persistence into a headwind of legalistic intimidation. I've heard Theranos is now a case-study for MBA students: this book should be required reading for anyone thinking about 'disrupting' the medical devices industry. There are lives at stake.
Elizabeth Holmes leveraged her family's high profile connections to draw in early investors and supporters, who were not very inquisitive on details, nor very skeptical in nature. Drawing on the good name and reputation of these early supporters, she was able to build an impressive roster of other supporters with stellar reputations in tech and venture capital circles. From there, it was just a matter of stage managing the house of cards she was building.
Holmes crafted a Potemkin village that had fooled investors, customers, and visiting dignitaries. Her product demonstrations were outright theater, staged managed illusions worthy of David Copperfield. Theranos employees in on the ruse were assured it was just temporary, until the actual product could be perfected and the results repeatable. That day would never come. Those on the outside who also worked in this field had well founded and grave doubts about how Theranos could be touting a product that seemingly defied both logic and physics. Their suspicions, proven to be correct, was that it was too good to be true.
Without a trace of guilt or regret, she induced powerful tech workers to leave lucrative careers at other major tech firms, giving up millions in stock options, to come work for Theranos, surely knowing the whole thing would collapse one day. When skeptical board members asked to see data affirming the effectiveness of their product, Holmes would defer, saying those papers were in perpetual legal review. Some employees, when they were no longer useful to her, or deemed disloyal, were immediately and unceremoniously marched out.
This is a real life thriller, the story of someone who is a true diabolical movie villain. Holmes is portrayed vividly as a paranoid sociopath who could also be disarming, charmingly manipulative, utterly ruthless and devoid of conscience. This is a tale of corporate greed and lack of regulatory oversight gone all awry.
"Bad Blood" lays out in spectacular detail that my suspicions of Theranos were correct. Well researched and well written, "Bad Blood" is a real page-turner that captures the spiral descent Ms. Holmes and her company took down into the depths they find themselves today. Mr. Carreyrou clearly has done his homework on the antagonists in "Bad Blood" both in the book and splashed across the pages in the Wall Street Journal over the last couple of years. I am surprised that John has not won his third Pulitzer Prize for this Theranos coverage.
I wrote to John and thanked him for his reporting and for writing this book. I really believe he saved many investors and many more sick people a lot of heartache, beyond the victims who have unfortunately already suffered or been swindled. This great piece of journalism stands tall among a sea of mediocrity that defines the profession today. Well done, John. Well done.