Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
I’m not a huge watcher of TV (unless it’s Love Island, Love is Blind or Married at First Sight Australia) however I do adore a documentary or docu-drama. Especially those stories that you can’t believe are actually true — but somehow they are. Think The Tinder Swindler and Inventing Anna. The kind of show that invariably results in viewers spending a good few hours down an internet rabbit hole afterwards.
Which brings me to the story of Elizabeth Holmes. I first heard about Holmes when I read an article about her. When she was on the front of Forbes. When she was the actual darling of Silicon Valley. I found her utterly fascinating; her wardrobe (black turtlenecks Steve Jobs style), her voice, her formidable intelligence. She was changing the way modern medicine worked. For everyone. Apparently.
Until — BOOM. It all came crashing down; it turns out, her company Theranos was far — very *very* far — from what it seemed. A valuation in the billions, investment from some of the smartest and wealthiest on earth — all by way of fraud on a massive scale.
John Carreyrou is the man who originally questioned the company in a series of investigative pieces for the Wall Street Journal. Bad Blood is the book he wrote and it is a meticulously researched piece of non-fiction that reads like the most gripping of thrillers around. It charts the rise and fall of Holmes and with her, Theranos, in a way that will have you on the edge of your seat but with all the information that will leave you gobsmacked — you won’t believe it’s real but the devil is in the detail.
Yes there’s a tv show and podcast — both very, very good. But this — the book by the writer who had the courage to expose a billion dollar company in the first place — is superb. Needless to say, I urge you all to read it; not only for the Holmes story in and of itself. But for the wider lessons it teaches us; about big technology, bigger money and what can happen when you build a company on smoke and mirrors.
Order your copy of ‘Bad Blood’ here.