Bad Blood

Bad Blood

Secrets and Lies in A Silicon Valley Startup

Book - 2018
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"The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos--the Enron of Silicon Valley--by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. 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 an early fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: the technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at the Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781524731656
Characteristics: x, 339 pages ; 25 cm


From Library Staff

Much better than the HBO documentary that came after. This book is interesting on a local level but also as a hopefully cautionary tale. Extremely interesting and scary look at the making of start up and the hope of success.

#5 - A book by a journalist or about journalism and/or #17 - A business book and/or #19 - A book of nonviolent true crime

From the critics

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Nov 05, 2019

A story so unbelievable it couldn't be fiction. How on earth did she get away with this for so long?

Oct 22, 2019

This is, hands down, one of the best books I've read, nonfiction and fiction combined. The things the author uncovered are STAGGERING. I was enthralled the entire time and sad when it ended, and I don't even read nonfiction that often because I'm not a huge fan. I read this for the reading challenge and now I must scream my recommendation from the rooftops so everyone will read it.

Sep 19, 2019

This is a crazy story. A classic example of truth being stranger than fiction. It is shocking what Elizabeth Holmes got away with. This is a high interest read with a good pace.

Sep 05, 2019

Not sure where I found out about this book ,but check reviews before I commit to reading it.

Sep 04, 2019

My daughter suggested that I read the book. She said that it was a fascinating story of how people (in high places) can be duped.

It flows well, but I got very upset by how the main character, the charismatic, probably sociopathic founder of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, was able to fool so many people, harming people emotionally and physically. I found I could not read it at night, as it was hard to go to sleep.

It tells of Holmes' childhood, how bright she was and how she was driven, at first to be rich and powerful, but early on also to help people with medical needs. The author carefully researched the company, in spite of secrecy surrounding the company, and threats when he tried to interview people.

It's a powerful, well-documented book and is very frightening how the company was able to stay in business for so long.

STPL_JessH Aug 31, 2019

I absolutely LOVED this book. I read it in one sitting and immediately added it to the list for STPL Book Club. I really respect Carreyrou's writing. This meticulously researched book reads like a novel. It's a thrilling page-turner and I cannot wait to see what happens next for Holmes and Balwani. Bad Blood deserves all the hype!

sjpl_leizel Aug 22, 2019

As someone who lives in the Bay Area and is intrigued by tech, this book was fascinating! It is a true crime book that reads like a thriller, and held my interest from beginning to end. I also loved that I recognized places they were talking about, and have been to some of the shops where interviews took place.

Aug 15, 2019

Great book. It was really interesting to get an inside look at what happened at this company, and why. Learning about the unethical things that the leaders did was jaw-dropping, but equally fascinating were the reasons why the company initially gained so much investment and publicity.

Truly excellent timeline of the reckless greed and deception that was the mastermind of Elizabeth Holmes and her partner in crime, Sunny whatshisname. It's still hard to figure if these two were simply pathological liars bent on fame and enormous wealth or psychopaths who don't have a care in the world about the harm they have done. Pretty sure it's both of these thing. Absolutely brilliant read!!!

Jul 25, 2019

I'm a slow reader, but I couldn't put this over 400 pages book down. The words and phrases alone such as, "Frog-march", "coefficients of variation", "Proficiency testing", "Svengali", "dripping with venom" and "going live", kept me reading it. But, what was most stunning was seeing how Elizabeth's voracity for power and wealth beclouded her initial motive to offer humanity a better life. Thanks John Carreyrou for a great book. Five Stars *****

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Jun 07, 2018

Elizabeth had hung inspirational quotes in little frames around the old Facebook building. One of them was from Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Another was from Theodore Roosevelt: “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Patrick suggested they make them a more integral part of the workplace by painting them in black on the building’s white walls. Elizabeth liked the idea.

She also loved a new quote he suggested. It was from Yoda in Star Wars: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Jun 07, 2018

The media mogul sold his stock back to Theranos for one dollar so he could claim a big tax write-off on his other earnings. With a fortune estimated at $12 billion, Murdoch could afford to lose more than $100 million on a bad investment.
“VAPORWARE” was coined in the early 1980s to describe new computer software or hardware that was announced with great fanfare only to take years to materialize, if it did at all. It was a reflection of the computer industry’s tendency to play it fast and loose when it came to marketing. Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle were all accused of engaging in the practice at one point or another. Such overpromising became a defining feature of Silicon Valley. The harm done to consumers was minor, measured in frustration and deflated expectations. By positioning Theranos as a tech company in the heart of the Valley, Holmes channeled this fake-it-until-you-make-it culture, and she went to extreme lengths to hide the fakery.

Jun 07, 2018

The odd couple:

It isn’t clear exactly when Elizabeth (Elizabeth Anne Holmes born 1984) and Sunny (Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani born 1966) became romantically involved, but it appears to have been not long after she dropped out of Stanford. When they’d first met in China in the summer of 2002, Sunny was married to a Japanese artist named Keiko Fujimoto and living in San Francisco. By October 2004, he was listed as “a single man” on the deed to a condominium he purchased on Channing Avenue in Palo Alto. Other public records show Elizabeth moved into that apartment in July 2005.
FoMO—the fear of missing out.

Jun 07, 2018

From Epilogue:

March 14, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani with conducting “an elaborate, years-long fraud.” To resolve the agency’s civil charges, Holmes was forced to relinquish her voting control over the company, give back a big chunk of her stock, and pay a $500,000 penalty. She also agreed to be barred from being an officer or director in a public company for ten years. Unable to reach a settlement with Balwani, the SEC sued him in federal court in California. In the meantime, the criminal investigation continued to gather steam. As of this writing, criminal indictments of both Holmes and Balwani on charges of lying to investors and federal officials seem a distinct possibility.


Add a Summary
Jun 07, 2018

High-profile investors who lost the most money on Theranos per WSJ (in $Millions):

Walton Family: 150
Rupert Murdoch: 121
Betsy DeVos: 100
Cox Family 100
Carlos Slim 30


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