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She lied.

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She hid. It spans over ten years! Aug 11, Lex Kent rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction. I love the imagination of fiction. When I heard about this book from a television show, it sounded unbelievable. The fact that this was a true story that seemed stranger than fiction, I had to give it a read. This story is about the youngest woman, to become a self-made billionaire, and the giant fraud she committed on Silicon Valley.

Elizabeth Holmes, was a Stanford drop-out that used her knowledge and family connections to build a billion dollar start-up name Theranos. Theranos invented a blood testing portable machine that could test all the different blood tests a major lab would with just a drop of blood. This was a major breakthrough as it could stop the need for needles and vials of blood sick patients have to constantly be subjected to. Not only that but these machines were to be rolled out in Safeway a supermarket and Walgreens a drug store all over the USA so everyone could afford to be tested.


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The problem with this great idea; the machines never actually worked! This truly is one of the biggest scams Silicon Valley had ever seen. The cheating and lies and manipulation are unbelievable. The amount of people Elizabeth managed to bewitch is staggering. These were smart people she swindled. If you live in the USA, you will be shocked by many of the big names that totally fell for the scam.


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Actually, the names are so big you will probably recognize them even living outside the USA. At one point Elizabeth was worth close to 5 billion dollars. This book is written by the Wall Street Journalist that fought to bring her lies to light. This book is also about the brave men and women who were ex and current employees that risked lawsuits and bullying to blow the whistle. If you have heard about this book and were considering reading it I absolutely recommend it.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

View all 27 comments. Compulsively readable. I cannot recommend this highly enough. I sped through this audiobook in a few days because I just could not stop listening to it. There were so many unbelievable things in this true account of the Theranos scam that my mouth dropped open in a way I wouldn't have thought happens in real life. John Carreyrou traces the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her medical start-up Theranos from the beginning with the help of countless interviews and Mesmerising.

John Carreyrou traces the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her medical start-up Theranos from the beginning with the help of countless interviews and other insights. The picture he paints is breathtaking: of a firm run like a cult, of incompetence that can only be explained by a complete lack of understanding of science by nearly everyone involved, of unethical hounding of those who did see the bad science for what it was.

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I can tell you, if I can see the science as flawed it is really flawed — my knowledge of biology and chemistry is lacklustre to say the least. While I overall enjoyed this book a whole lot, there were a few things that did not quite work for me. First and foremost the framing of the story — as Elizabeth Holmes did not give any interviews for this book, her story is told from the other end, which I am absolutely fine with and I do think Carreyrou did an exceptional job with this, but his clear distaste for Holmes shines through in a way that I did not always appreciate.

Lots of kids are sore losers, most of them grow up not scamming patients. I do agree with his assessment that Holmes scammed her investors purposefully and did not care about the patients being misdiagnosed because of her flawed technology but I wish he had let me come to this assessment on my own a bit more. As a case study of how the lack of diverse knowledge can harm a company, this book is priceless. There were many instances where having somebody on the board of directors with just a little bit of knowledge of the science between the big idea would have led to a totally different ending.

I would have liked to have seen an analysis of the social structures in place that enabled Holmes to build her company and run it for many years without any pertinent experience as a year-old college dropout just based on knowing the right people and acting the part. But still, this book is amazing in achieving what it set out to do.

You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog.

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View 1 comment. From an early age Elizabeth Holmes, wanted to become an entrepreneur, maker her own fortune. Going to Standford, she revered Steve Jobs, and wanted to succeed in a life changing invention of her own. She dropped out of Standford and started her own company.

Triangulation 350: John Carreyrou, Bad Blood

She would Implement, invent and sell a small machine that would only take a pin prick of blood, getting instantaneous results that would allow doctors to make medication changes, much more quickly. Sounds good, many thought so, she raised mil From an early age Elizabeth Holmes, wanted to become an entrepreneur, maker her own fortune.

Sounds good, many thought so, she raised millions, contracts from leading companies. Many including Joe Biden and Betsy de Boss, contributed money to this promising silicon valley startup. She hired top people in different fields, but soon her company became revolving door as the littlest thing to get someone fired. So what went wrong? How was she able to pull the wool over do many eyes. Smart people, CEOs of leading companies, and the public at large? That is the story Carreyrou uncovered and made public. This is an engrossing read and another that proves the adage that truth is do often stranger than fiction.

View all 13 comments. Jun 17, Gwern rated it really liked it. Bad Blood is a straightforward read about the rise and fall of Theranos, done in chronological order in third-person up until Carreyrou becomes personally involved, at which point things accelerate to the SEC civil settlement. This means that it lacks a really conclusive 'ending': Theranos was continuing to limp on, having received funding from a vulture on the strength of its pate Bad Blood is a straightforward read about the rise and fall of Theranos, done in chronological order in third-person up until Carreyrou becomes personally involved, at which point things accelerate to the SEC civil settlement.

After reading BB, I had to think: maybe a second Holmes startup isn't a bad idea - after all, if she could get this far with no working product at all, what could she do with an actual product? It may look bad, but it'd probably work better than most startups.

Good timing on my part. This puts more of a period on reading BB, although the story is far from over. There's a quip that the most American character is the conman, because America is the land of second chances - Elizabeth Holmes is only 34 years old, after all, and even having aggravated the DoJ by persisting with Theranos, it's hard to imagine her being sentenced as a woman and without a lot of bodies and without Shkreli's autistic genius for infuriating judges to more than a few years at worst, so I wonder if we've seen the last of her? In any case, BB is good for resolving a lot of details about Theranos.

For example, I was perplexed at the time by the large Walgreens deal: Walgreens is a large, competent, sophisticated provider of pharmacy services, well capable of thorough testing; if Theranos was not what it was hyped up to be, how could Walgreens fail to notice? My assumption was that Theranos had done something clever to produce fake results if not perhaps as clever as the FSB at Sochi. BB provides the answer, which is dismayingly mundane: Theranos bluntly refused to provide any kind of real validation or access to its machines, and some Walgreens execs were furious about it and correctly convinced Theranos was a fraud, but others were seduced by the vision, and the doubters signed on because they were terrified of forcing Theranos into the arms of CVS , which is a rivalry I had no idea about.

It was a myopic view of the world that was hard to understand for an outsider like Hunter who wasn't a Walgreens company man.

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Theranos had cleverly played on this insecurity. A similar desperation appears to have animated Safeway's ill-fated Theranos commitment. It's no surprise it took a major newspaper like the WSJ to investigate it. It's also interesting for the unexpected details. For example, dressing like Steve Jobs wasn't Holmes's idea!

She was told to do it by one of her ex-Applers. And her family connections were dangerous as much as they were helpful: the shiny board of directors, for everyone it impressed, put other people off and made them suspicious, and without her family connections, the family friend Richard Fuisz would never have tried to patent-troll her out of peevish spite which directly fed into the first Fortune article and eventually Carreyrou's own investigation. With 'family friends' like these, who needs enemies?

Google Ventures took a hard pass when their guy walked into a Walgreens and Theranos couldn't do the test using just a nanotainer of his blood - a simple test that many others also did but then ignored the excuses and failures. It's not really that easy to draw a novel lesson here. Was Theranos initially too ambitious? Perhaps, but lots of startups scale back or pivot to new ideas based on their trial-and-error; reality cannot be planned out.