Book Title: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Author: John Carreyrou
My Review Rating: 5/5
What happens when greed, pride, lies and deceit is there? It all comes falling down! True to this metaphor this book is an apt representation of when excessive greed kicks out your morality, you have only one way to go…down!
A must read book on Investigative journalism! The book deals about the spectacular rise of Theranos to its ultimate downfall. The style of the book is just exemplary with the very clear and concise writing. Each chapter is well written, easy to understand, gripping making it a fascinating read. In simple words this book is just unputdownable and perhaps one of the best books on frauds I have read in recent times. Now something about the book!
All that glitters….
It looks like coming straight out of Alice in Wonderland story book, Elizabeth Holmes – a Stanford University dropout and the Founder & CEO of Theranos is just 19, has already “built” a super successful company valued at $10 Billion by 2015 – by virtue of her stake in it, she becomes the world’s youngest female billionaire with Forbes estimating her networth at 5 billion! The company has a board that boasts of the likes of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, etc. etc. (although the board is a rubber stamp – one of the board members indeed admit as per the book!) She attends the gala dinner hosted by President Obama, helps Hillary Clinton & her daughters in raising funds for her elections. She is leading a life that every entrepreneur must be vying for.
…is not gold!
Theranos business model was based around the idea that it could run multiple blood tests using its proprietary technology that required only a finger prick of blood. The company ran its operations under garb of complete secrecy that even departments worked in silos barely communicating with each other, although each was dependent upon one another. Employees were forbidden to talk to outsiders about the company and any contempt was steadily met with termination and litany of litigations. Such was her charm that it even raised money from marquee investors such as Larry Ellison from Oracle, Rupert Murdoch, VC firm Draper Fisher Juvetson etc. What’s more astounding is that the money was raised with the condition that Theranos will not have to reveal how the technology worked and further Elizabeth would have final say over everything in the company. But then one day everything came crashing down. The technological breakthrough that she had oversold to everyone on whom they could lay bare their hands was never demonstrated and nevertheless how much did Theranos tried to cover-up its operations, the shortcomings and inaccuracies of its technology were exposed that amounted to outright deceit. Following enquiry by regulators the company was forced to close its labs and testing centers and Elizabeth and one of her top lieutenant were charged with massive fraud.