WHAT: BAD BLOOD:
Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
WHEN: Published by Knopf May 21, 2018
WHERE: The author lives in Brooklyn.
WHY: “A riveting tour de force…
Carreyrou’s commitment to unraveling Holmes’ crimes is literally of life-saving value.
“Stories of corporate fraud and malfeasance are so ubiquitous as to barely raise an eyebrow, so the shock- and-awe media coverage surrounding the charges of massive fraud against Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes indicated a story of nearly unprecedented significance.
“A teenage Stanford dropout when she patented her idea for developing portable devices to administer comprehensive tests using only a single drop of blood, Holmes had a meteoric rise in Silicon Valley. She was acknowledged as the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, helped in large part by her doe-eyed, husky-voiced charisma that attracted the likes of former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger and current secretary of defense James Mattis to her board of directors. Yet the company’s purported capabilities and successes were shams, created by Holmes’ unwavering but deluded belief in her thesis and reinforced by a workplace run on intimidation, fear, and paranoia.
“It would take the dauntless efforts of Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou to expose Holmes for the charlatan she was. Crime thriller authors have nothing on Carreyrou’s exquisite sense of suspenseful pacing and multifaceted character development in this riveting, read-in-one-sitting tour de force. Investigative journalists are perhaps the country’s last true protectors of truth and justice, and Carreyrou’s commitment to unraveling Holmes’ crimes was literally of life-saving value.” –Carol Haggas, in a starred review for BOOKLIST
“Eye-opening…A vivid, cinematic portrayal
of serpentine Silicon Valley corruption.
“The well-integrated employee profiles and testimonies effectively support Carreyrou’s damning narrative and discredit Holmes as a power-hungry, avaricious young leader who courted venture capitalists with specious claims. He brilliantly captures the interpersonal melodrama, hidden agendas, gross misrepresentations, nepotism, and a host of delusions and lies that further fractured the company’s reputation and halted its rise.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS
“A bracing cautionary tale about visionary entrepreneurship gone very wrong.”
–PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, a starred review
. . . . .
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:
Tim Kemp had good news for his team. The former IBM executive was in charge of bioinformatics at Theranos, a startup with a cutting-edge blood-testing system. The company had just completed its first big live demonstration for a pharmaceutical company. Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos’s twenty-two-year-old founder, had flown to Switzerland and shown off the system’s capabilities to executives at Novartis, the European drug giant.
“Elizabeth called me this morning,” Kemp wrote in an email to his fifteen-person team. “She expressed her thanks and said that, ‘it was perfect!’ She specifically asked me to thank you and let you all know her appreciation. She additionally mentioned that Novartis was so impressed that they have asked for a proposal and have expressed interest in a financial arrangement for a project. We did what we came to do!”
This was a pivotal moment for Theranos. The three-year-old startup had progressed from an ambitious idea Holmes had dreamed up in her Stanford dorm room to an actual product a huge multinational corporation was interested in using.
Word of the demo’s success made its way upstairs to the second floor, where senior executives’ offices were located.
One of those executives was Henry Mosley, Theranos’s chief financial officer. Mosley had joined Theranos eight months earlier, in March 2006. A rumpled dresser with piercing green eyes and a laid-back personality, he was a veteran of Silicon Valley’s technology scene. After growing up in the Washington, D.C., area and getting his MBA at the University of Utah, he’d come out to California in the late 1970s and never left. His first job was at chipmaker Intel, one of the Valley’s pioneers. He’d later gone on to run the finance departments of four different tech companies, taking two of them public. Theranos was far from his first rodeo.