I love to read, and I mostly read books on investing and anything subject that would help me to be a better investor. As a result, non-fiction books dominate. As a luxury, I do read autobiographies and try to transport myself into those moments where the subject would have experience living their inspiring lives.
My work also requires me to travel which results in a lot of time waiting at the airport, long journeys in public transport and downtime on the plane. This is when I pick books which I may otherwise not have picked up. On my recent week-long trip to Vienna to attend a conference I bought Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. And boy oh boy it did not disappoint.
Being a phlebotomist early in my life and having worked in a diagnostic lab the industry, its practices and the science behind this book were natural to me. I have lived the life of a technician. And could relate to the problematic ethical point of view the whistleblowers would have experienced.
John does an excellent job to paint a vivid picture. Theranos was nothing but a sham. In hindsight, everything is evident. What Elizabeth Holmes (EH) wanted to achieve would have made patients lives easier no doubt about it. The principle was ambitious and also defied physics. It is the second part which the Theranos could not bend. Everything else was easy to bend and that it what happened.
What surprises me is how the stalwarts like Geroge Schultz, Richard Kovacevich, James Mattis and an industry veteran former VP on Amgen Fabrizio Bonanni failed to spot the fundamental flaws in the technology itself. Numerous project delays, willy-washy promises and excuses should have got these people to dig further, and none did!
Influential people yielded their power to protect EH rather than the common man or common sense. Everyone was smitten by EH and her charisma! Can we define a pathological liar’s ability to manipulate people as charisma? Who knows. 🤥😤
It is the determination of the author, the Wall Street Journal’s wider team and of course the whistleblowers who with their sheer will brought this fraud into the light.
I can only imagine how John would have felt when he was met with resistance at every point of his investigative journey to get this story published. At the end the investors lost money, the culprits paid a little price for their crimes, but the truth prevailed.