• Nicole King

Bad Blood by Jon Carreyrou

Do you get "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift stuck in your head when you see this book? Because I do. And I don't even like Taylor Swift. Just like the Taylor Swift song, Bad Blood by Jon Carreyrou will leave you disliking Elizabeth Holmes, but her story and now defunct company Theranos, will remain stuck in your head for ages.



Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos were supposed to change the world. First of all, Theranos was creating a device, called the Edison, that could run hundreds of blood tests from a single finger prick, alleviating the anxiety many of us have whenever we face the needles associated with the standard blood draw. Secondly, Elizabeth Holmes was the youngest self-made billionaire woman ever, someone who was supposed to revolutionize the tech and healthcare industries because of her device and her gender. There was just one big problem: the Edison didn't work. And even worse, Holmes knew it. Yet she continued raising money and selling her device, using deceptive techniques to hide the device's ineffectiveness.


The lengths to which Holmes and her partner Sunny Balwani went to deceive investors and the public are staggering. Tests were actually performed on standard equipment instead of Edison. People watching live demonstrations of the Edison would be whisked off to other parts of Theranos headquarters while their results were being calculating so that participants would not see the device malfunction. But it's also interesting to hear about the lengths Holmes went to just to sell herself. She idolized Steve Jobs, even adopting his uniform of black turtlenecks and hiring some of his key employees. Some say she even spoke in a lower tone when giving speeches or speaking to the press, hoping that a more masculine voice would make her seem more credible.


Bad Blood explains how this scam finally came to light. But what I found more interesting is how much people wanted to believe in Theranos and Elizabeth. Maybe it was the fear of needles and the blood drawing process. Maybe we wanted to see a woman crack the glass ceiling of the tech industry. Maybe we hoped this would be the first step in changing the broken healthcare industry. Or maybe it was pure greed, and the opportunity to make millions - maybe even billions! - from this revolutionary device.


Bad Blood isn't just about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes. It's also about how much we want to believe, and leaves you questioning the validity of some of the most prestigious startups.


Rating: 4/5

Now that the song is stuck in your head, you should get the book. You know, to take your mind off the song.



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