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Book Mini-Review: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Book Mini-Review: Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

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I have been wanting to read Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou for a while now. My husband and I watched the HBO documentary on Theranos, The Inventor: Out for Blood, a few months ago and have been fascinated with this story. When we were headed to the beach a few weeks ago, we decided to get this as an audiobook so we could listen to it. I have a very hard time following fiction audiobooks; for some reason, my brain just processes nonfiction better auditorily. Anyways, I just finished listening to Bad Blood earlier this week. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I feel like the less you know, the better off your reading experience will be. Honestly, there’s not much else to say other than this is truly a BONKERS story.

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford to begin her own biotechnology startup, Theranos. I had heard about Theranos probably 4 or 5 years ago and how great the company and the young founder/CEO were. I didn’t know much about it, but would see it mentioned on The Skimm every now and then. Basically, I knew Holmes’ company was valued at a couple billion dollars, and her technology was supposed to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Cut to the fall of 2015, and cue all the backlash that the Wall Street Journal’s reporting started. John Carreyrou is an investigative journalist for the WSJ and was the one who broke the story about how mismanaged and fraudulent Theranos was. His book Bad Blood is a much more in-depth look at Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos, and the truly crazy antics that followed the company.

I really appreciated how detailed Carreyrou was in describing the science behind what Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes were trying to do. In theory, it sounds like an amazing revolution to the medical industry; yet in practice, it just wasn’t feasible. I appreciated Carreyrou reaching out to other reputable pathologists and scientists to understand why the finger-pricks of blood would not work on most lab tests. I expected to have a hard time following the science behind Theranos, but Carreyrou never dumbed it down to condescend, yet neither did he talk over your head about it. He was very diligent about nailing all the facts in layman’s terms, but never shied away from all the science and biology. I liked his reporting and writing style, especially on a subject that I was unfamiliar with.

I really enjoyed listening to this in-depth look at a Silicon Valley startup, that for so long received nothing but praise from everyone. I liked the flow of the story and obviously, the subject matter was incredibly intriguing. Please let me know what other non-fiction books you would recommend to someone who thoroughly enjoyed Bad Blood. I got so caught up in the story, that I had to remind myself that almost four years have passed since the WSJ broke the story and a couple of years since Theranos was shut down. Yet with the publication of Bad Blood, the release of the documentary, and two upcoming biopics on Elizabeth Holmes (one with Jennifer Lawrence, and one with Kate McKinnon), this story is not going away anytime soon. And I, for one, am here for it. I give Bad Blood 4.5 stars.

What other nonfiction books are as compelling as Bad Blood?

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