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Bad Blood:  Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

By JOHN CARREYROU. Book review

This book is about the rise and dramatic fall of Theranos. About the idols of Silicon Valley.

Book cover
Book cover
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John Carreyrou is the award winning Wall Street Journal investigative journalist who uncovered the sham in a series of articles.

This book is constructed from the accounts of people who witnessed the events, or have been part of it. It starts as early as Elizabeth's childhood, but it does not linger and quickly moves to the time of forming a new goddess in Silicon Valley. It covers Elizabeth's obsession with Apple's Steve Jobs, to the extent of hiring the same photographer for her marketing material.

The youngest self-made female billionaire!

By 2015, Forbes had named Holmes the youngest and wealthiest self-made female billionaire in America. I remember the headache and heartache she caused to all of the rest of us, the poor average people. She was all over the place as "a strong independent woman!" Feminists celebrated her and practically worshiped her. She never failed to beat men in greed, and deception. Way to go, girl! Did she get away with it for so long because she was a woman? It did sound like it. Some characters refused to see through her actions simply because she was the new named idol.

Elizabeth shall be sentenced in November in 2022. I remember the

Book quotes

Forbes celebrated Holmes

No, Dad, I’m not interested in getting a Ph.D. , I want to make money.

Her response to her father suggesting Ph.D. when she was a freshman. She also said when she was ten I want to be a billionaire. And no one corrected her. I sympathize with her. She dropped out of Stanford to be a billionaire. What kind of target is that?

Real-Time Curses

A typo for the original company name: Realtime Cures, she should have stuck to it.

one hundred thousand Americans died each year from adverse drug reactions

That is a huge number, even relatively. Do the benefits of drugs outweigh this dark reality?

but weren’t encouraged to communicate with each other . Elizabeth liked to keep information compartmentalized so that only she had the full picture of the system’s development

Some of the key factors behind the failure of any company, not just a notoriously malice intending company, is lack of communications.

Howard had been one of the first people to help her when she dropped out of Stanford, letting her use the basement of his house in Saratoga for experiments in the company’s early days

She stabbed him in the back. Ungrateful!

Fuisz sued Baxter for wrongful termination, alleging that Loucks had fired him for refusing to pay a $2.2 million bribe to a Saudi firm to get Baxter off an Arab blacklist of companies that did business with "Israel"

Those were the good days. I'm thinking, maybe MBS refuses to normalize, just to keep getting that bribe?

Fuisz’s work for the CIA involved setting up dummy corporations throughout the Middle East that employed agency assets, giving them a non-embassy cover to operate outside the scrutiny of local intelligence services

Eye opener, for the cute Arabs who want peace around the world, here is your enemy, what do you have to say in their defense? This reminded me of a book I read recently, Spy Schools.

Three months later, Loucks stepped down as a Yale trustee

The works of the jewish lobby that went on to campaign against him.

Don’t listen to them, she’d said of the scientists They’re always complaining.

Why would anyone do business with her beyond this point? The idol of Silicon Valley.

American flag that she said had been flown over a battlefield in Afghanistan

A gift she gave... before that flag became a symbol of defeat in 2020.

Would you rather be smart and poor or dumb and rich? The three engineers all chose smart and poor, while the Frat Pack voted unanimously for dumb and rich

Being smart is something a dumb person cannot appreciate, it's like: you never miss what you never had. Not like: you don't know the value of something until you lose it. Anyone who chooses to be dumb and rich, is definitely dumb, but not necessarily going to be rich. Besides, people can always work on changing their poverty status, but you're either born smart or not. So don't be Paris Hilton. Don't be Elizabeth Holmes either, they are both dumb.

The blunt-spoken general had once famously told Marines stationed in Iraq ,“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

American terrorists. They were polite in Abu Ghraib for sure. Now they walk free.

but just because you badly wanted something to be real didn’t make it so.

And just because you don't believe in it, won't make it go away. So here is a bet for those who do not believe in Hellfire.


I learned a new word: سحيج

were dealing with an erratic man-child of limited intellect and an even more limited attention span

Sunny, the Pakistani ex entrepreneur, was exactly that. Going about terrorizing employees, tracking their movements and tapping their emails. That's like 80% of company managers here in Jordan.

Elizabeth told the gathered employees that she was building a religion

Any sane person should have left when she said that, now that they have not, serves them all right.

they both knew that cherry-picking data wasn’t good science

You know, like how scientists deal with evolution data. But because the western media is adopting it, it's okay to cherry pick.

But what she omitted to disclose was that she had never been close to him

She used her not-so-close relative's death with cancer to promote her product, and no living relative intervened to stop her.

She was the company’s most powerful marketing tool

When a company of a medical innovation uses a person as a marketing tool, it's already bankrupt. The problem was not just Elizabeth, it was the whole culture.

it dawned on me that there was nothing these people would stop at to make my story go away

The journalist was never discredited. I just wondered: what did the other stakeholders in the journal have to gain by dismissing his story?

she’d gotten this far: she was an amazing saleswoman. She never once stumbled or lost her train of thought. She wielded both engineering and laboratory lingo effortlessly and she showed seemingly heartfelt emotion when she spoke of sparing babies in the NICU from blood transfusions. Like her idol Steve Jobs, she emitted a reality distortion field that forced people to momentarily suspend disbelief.

Wallahi serves you right! Why would anyone suspend his or her judgment when dazzled by marketing buzzwords?

Holmes channeled this fake-it-until-you-make-it culture, and she went to extreme lengths to hide the fakery

In the tech business they admittedly do that, they lie! But the tech business does not affect people's lives. Or so goes the argument. Deception goes beyond what people can measure, and we all shall stand individually in front of our Creator, and respond to every inquiry in our deeds panel.


John Carreyrou

This is a biography written by a journalist, as a long news article. Which is my favorite style of writing. It is a breeze to read and very entertaining. It caught my full attention and I could not put the book down at times. I enjoyed it and I give it 5 out of 5.