I recently read "Bad Blood" a 2018 book by John Carreyrou. This book tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her startup company, Theranos. Holmes was an undergraduate at Stanford University when she came up with the idea of founding a company based on revolutionary new technology that would allow many medical tests to be performed using a single drop of the patient's blood. Unfortunately Holmes didn't actually have such technology or it appears a realistic plan for developing it. Holmes wasn't deterred by this, she dropped out of Stanford in 2003 and raised millions in venture capital for Theranos. For a while Theranos seemed quite successful. At its peak in 2013 and 2014 it appeared to be worth around $10 billion which would have made Holmes a multibillionaire. However this valuation turned out to be illusory.
John Carreyrou was (and is) a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporter. He wrote a series of articles for the WSJ starting in October 2015 about wrongdoing at Theranos which broke the spell Holmes had cast. Other investigations by government regulators followed and it soon became clear that the vaunted Theranos technology had little if any real value. Theranos ceased operations in 2018. Holmes has settled civil charges with the SEC and is currently awaiting trial on criminal fraud charges. This book tells the story through 2018.
I was a bit disappointed in this book. Much of it consists of the stories of various Theranos employees who were made uneasy by some aspects of the way Theranos did business. This gets repetitive after a while. The book seems longer than necessary at about 300 pages. And it doesn't seem particularly insightful about pulling together the facts that Carreyrou uncovered.
The book isn't totally worthless, I did get from it a better picture of what happened. However perhaps the story is ultimately not so significant or interesting that it needed a 300 page book, at least not this one. I think most readers can safely skip this one.
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