Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Book Report: "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup"

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Carreyrou's pitbull intensity to tear down the curtain of biomedical startup fraud perpetrated by Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani is a thrilling joy to behold.

I was drawn to the book by Alex Gibney's HBO doc, "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." Both projects take on the same urgent tone and dizzying exuberance of the meteoric rise and stomach-sinking fall of Theranos.

Carreyrou's tale is textbook process reporting, taking the reader along through the harrowing journey to exposing the truth. Battles against the firm's thug lawyers in a poker game for the souls of sources takes up much of the storytelling, with cloak-and-dagger maneuverings meant to ferret out his sources and prevent them from sharing the bread crumbs that would lead to oblivion for the company.

Hanging in the balance are the fates of trusting Theranos employees, venture capitalists, patients and doctors who put their faith in Holmes Steve Jobs-style bision of grandiosity. Somewhere along the line, Holmes shifted from eager, driven visionary to a carnival barker suckering in one investor after the next, consuming anyone who would make themselves a willing dupe to her sinister shell game.

Every paragraph of Carreyrou's decimation of Theranos is a delicious morsel. With no padding or grandstanding getting in the way of the torrentous tale, this is a tight, invigorating read that stands as an example of heroic journalism that the world needs more of.

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