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 a multibillion-dollar startup, 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 a 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"--
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 2018
Edition: First Edition
ISBN: 9781524731656
Branch Call Number: Business & Career 338.768 Car


From the critics

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Sep 21, 2020

I listened to this in the car. It was good. Seemed like a good investigation that sort of took over the authors life so quite a while. Interesting

Jun 08, 2020

An astonishing account of youthful ambition with a technical idea that gradually transformed into a corporate monster that jeopardized the lives of its customers and its employees and hoodwinked many investors. The author reveals the inherent weaknesses of Boards of Directors of private corporations. The ebook concludes with some b&w photographs of the principal characters. This business story is unfinished as the executives of Theranos will come to trial in July 2020.

May 16, 2020

4 stars. This book came recommended to me and it was a very interesting read. Carryrou is an investigative reporter with the Wall Street Journal and he started investigating the multi-billion dollar medical start up Theranos and its CEO and mastermind Elizabeth Holmes and discovered shocking realities. This was a house of cards fronted by this charismatic and secretive woman with a star studded board and a legal team that was feared. He found the story and followed it where it led and ended up bringing down Theranos and the people who ran it, in spite of threats, surveillance, bullying and every attempt to stop him. What amazes me is how many people were taken in by Holmes and how badly she and her partner treated the staff and how long they were able to get away with this, putting people's lives at risk and making a lot of money. A very interesting read about a huge scam.

May 15, 2020

DNF - Technical

May 03, 2020

Also check out the documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley."

MaxwellPark_Library May 02, 2020

A stranger than fiction pager turner will keep you hooked until the last page. Exploring the life of Elizabeth Holmes and the rise and fall of her company Theranos.

Apr 10, 2020

Amazing, must read!

Mar 04, 2020

The fact that I read this book indeliberately alongside another positively mind-bending book called "The CEO Next Door", which is all about the good and bad qualities of a CEO was advantageous at the least, and opportune at best! This book showcased all those qualities of Elizabeth Holmes, the prota-antagonist of the story of Theranos that the other book painted with an extremely negative coating. Bad Blood is as much about the victory of investigative journalism as much it is about the charisma and reality-distortion-field of Holmes, about the gullability of the extremely accomplished like George Schultz and Henry Kissinger in dancing to the tunes of Theranos, about the blatant fraud of Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani, and about the plight of all those Theranos employees who had to go through this. Kudos to WSJ's two time Pulitzer winner John Carreyrou who had previously also unmasked the Medicare scandal, for fighting all the odds and coming through positive with his Theranos' bad blood test.

The book itself is written like a highly riveting thriller, as a story unfolding more dramatically in every chapter until it's game over for Holmes. I want to add that this book is MUCH MORE than the HBO documentary that's based on this. In fact, the documentary only covered the last few chapters of this book, making it seem like Theranos EVENTUALLY tried faking its technology, while in reality, the book shows with ample proof that it was broken from the day one! The firing of its early CFO Henry Mosley who had called on its bullshit way back in 2006 in a chilling scene by Holmes herself shows Theranos had a long history of fooling investors and suppressing the whistleblowers.

One of the highlights I took from this book is the sheer number of top firms/individuals that Theranos appointed to both defend itself and to boost its image! Chiat/Day (the ad agency that created the legendary 1984 Macintosh ad), Yves Behar (considered the best designer next only to Ive), David Boies (the most feared super-lawyer who had grilled Bill Gates in a landmark lawsuit), a Board that was made of legends like Larry Ellison, Dan Lucas, Henry Kissinger, George Schultz etc, the largest investor being Rupert Murdoch himself, clients being biggies like Safeway (feel sorry for Steve Burd) ann Walgreens etc were only a few of the superstars in the Theranos pavilion. Surely, with a cast like that, no movie could flop, could it? Well, only if there was no story at all in the first place!

There were some interesting things about Theranos too, to their credit. It started out as Real Cures, and to be fair, Holmes's initial patents about the nanotainers and blood testing processes did look splendid, undoubtedly. I didn't know there was a cofounder named Shounak to Theranos. At some point, it was disappointing to read about the nepotism of Sunny Balwani who had hired a bunch of Indian yes-men whose main job was to please Sunny and Elizabeth Holmes by agreeing to all their demands. That's just plain effed up.

It will be interesting if someone writes an alternate ending story to the Theranos saga, where, after all the struggles and skepticism raised by all the opposers, Theranos succeeded with their Edison and changed the world forever for the good. Also, the book could be part of a series, as there are many such companies in the Silicon Valley that over-promise, over-raise, over-expand, and then try to fake it than make it. Wework and Clinkle are the two that come to my mind immediately, but I'm sure there are many more.

Overall, the book was an unputdownable read. I just wanted a better cover for the book, though, where the two Os of BlOOd were splattered blood drops ;)

Mar 04, 2020

It had been such a Cinderella story - the youngest female billionaire, whose tech start-up was going to revolutionize healthcare. Theranos had vocal support from Stanford profs, Silcon Valley royalty, and Cabinet officials (George Shultz, Jim Maddis, Henry Kissinger, Hilary Clinton) alike, but the company cut corners when it couldn't deliver. The story as told deeply by the investigative reporter who broke it, and definitely reads like a thriller!

ArapahoeJulia Feb 28, 2020

A gripping true story about a start-up gone wrong, and about how the power of influence may sustain an idea longer than is warranted.

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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.


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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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