[Review] Bad Blood

Author: John Carreyrou
Sourced: Snapped up from Amazon for $17
Meows: 4.8 out of 5, minus .2 because I felt angry that I too probably would have believed the sham


Elizabeth Holmes is a Stanford dropout with an entrepreneurial spirit and an idea that she believes will transform in-home patient care. Generating funds during the height of Silicon Valley start-ups (from the early 2000’s) and creating a team off the back of a few well-known venture capitalists, Elizabeth works towards a vision for a blood testing machine that can deliver instant results. However, when the vision doesn’t match the reality of the product or the promises she’s made to funders, Holmes creates an elaborate web of lies that reaches as far as the White House and the US military. Bad Blood is an expose of how Elizabeth Holmes managed to successfully lie her way into billions of dollars without ever having a working product.


“When the editors at Forbes saw the Fortune article, they immediately assigned reporters to confirm the company’s valuation and the size of Elizabeth’s ownership stake and ran a story about her in their next issue. Under the headline “Bloody Amazing,” the article pronounced her “the youngest woman to become a self-made billionaire.”
page 208


First and foremost, I give this book a very solid 6 toe beans. It’s definitely one of those nonfiction, documentary-style books that covers a lot in the span of a few hundred pages. It’s guaranteed that you probably missed some important parts and it’s worth holding on to, so you can re-read as the Theranos story unfolds in real life. However, if you feel you read it thoroughly the first time, then it’s a great book to pass on to a friend so you can rage together over the story. Is it permanent collection worthy? I think that depends on what you like most in your permanent collection. For me, I would be content sharing this book and passing it along to friends and perhaps one day snagging it again from a Little Free Library.

Now, let’s discuss the quote I mentioned above. There weren’t a lot of quote-worthy phrases from this book as it was written in a very factual manner (as it should be). But, this part of the book stuck out to me because just this year, the same magazine (Forbes), released a similar list of female billionaires with nearly the exact same title. I don’t know the frequency of the Forbes list, but the part that stuck out and reminded me of this was the “self-made” part. Holmes’ list was published in 2014, and four year later Forbes is staking a new claim with Kylie Jenner as the youngest self-made billionaire; however, once again, Forbes jumped the gun since Jenner hadn’t broken the billion mark (at time of Forbes’ publishing), not to mention the controversy around the term ‘self-made.’ I wonder if Forbes unofficially revoked the title from Holmes when the Theranos tea was spilled; but regardless, Jenner would still have taken over the new role beating Holmes by 9 years.


Who else has read Bad Blood? I’d love to hear your take on how Elizabeth managed to scam so many smart and intelligent individuals. Like and leave a comment below.

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