Winner of the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2018
"You will not want to put this riveting, masterfully reported book down. No matter how bad you think the Theranos story was, you'll learn that the reality was actually far worse." Bethany McLean, bestselling coauthor of The Smartest Guys in the Room and All the Devils Are Here
In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup 'unicorn' promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: the technology didn't work.
For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at the Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos' articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors.
In Bad Blood John Carreyrou tells the story of Theranos, and encourages us to consider the possible repercussions of our blind faith in a small group of brilliant individuals.
PRAISE FOR BAD BLOOD
"A dazzling story of deception in Silicon Valley. . .It is a tale of heroic cupidity on a scale that made the very best and the very brightest look like the very, very foolish . . . You will not be able to put this book down." Washington Post
"Chilling . . . Reads like a West Coast version of All the President's Men." New York Times Book Review
"Carreyrou presents the scientific, human, legal and social sides of the story in full. Although some of it was previously reported in his extensive coverage, he unveils many dark secrets of Theranos that have not previously been laid bare." Nature
"His [Carreyrou's] unmasking of Theranos is a tale of David and Goliath." Financial Times
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Wall Street Journal writer John Carreyrou's industrious reporting fuelled the catastrophic implosion of Theranos, the biotech company founded by celebrated wunderkind Elizabeth Holmes. Her Silicon Valley startup went from a $10 billion valuation to multiple fraud investigations—and Bad Blood lays out the book-cooking, truth-massaging and straight-up lying Holmes and her colleagues engaged in while pushing the Theranos myth. Carreyrou's harrowing portrait of a 21st-century con shines a harsh light on what happens when scruples are trampled by greed.
An apparent scientific breakthrough rests on a quicksand of deception in this riveting account of the rise and downfall of notorious biotech firm Theranos. Expanding on his award-winning investigative scoops, Pulitzer-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Carreyrou recounts how Elizabeth Holmes, a charismatic Stanford dropout, started Theranos with claims of a revolutionary blood-testing technology that needed just a few drops from a finger-prick rather than tubefulls drawn from veins with needles. Her start-up became the toast of Silicon Valley, with a $9 billion valuation and a board including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz. The reality, he reports, was less stellar: the company's flawed tests did not meet regulatory standards and gave dangerously inaccurate results, investors and journalists were snowed with fake demos, and Holmes and her second-in-command (and boyfriend), Sunny Balwani, dismissed employees' concerns and drove many out with verbal abuse and computer surveillance. The author's investigation is part of the story: as he pursues the truth, Theranos's attorneys, led by Bush v. Gore lawyer David Boies, intimidate his sources with lawsuit threats. In the end it is Holmes who is targeted with a lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission for "an elaborate, years-long fraud" and forced to relinquish voting control over the company and pay a six-figure penalty. Carreyrou blends lucid descriptions of Theranos's technology and its failures with a vivid portrait of its toxic culture and its supporters' delusional boosterism. The result is a bracing cautionary tale about visionary entrepreneurship gone very wrong. (May)