Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup



The Pequod Review:

I was riveted by this story of Theranos, and especially by the distinguished and supposedly savvy advisors who were blinded by Elizabeth Holmes’s charm. But I can’t help but feel that there is a more intelligent book waiting to be written about the broader range of fraudulent claims or practices at start-up companies, many of which were never fully publicized because the companies were able to successfully grow their way out in time. Do you think when Amazon raised $672 million in early 2000 through the desperate sale of European convertible bonds (without which the company very well may have gone bankrupt, never to be heard from again), their senior management perhaps made aggressive or false claims to investors about the company’s current performance? I don't want to excuse Holmes's deception, since her fraud seems likely to be an order of magnitude worse than what most other firms have done. But it would make for a more interesting and nuanced analysis to explore the range of what constitutes fraudulent behavior, and where Holmes's actions fall on the spectrum.

Separately, I had the nagging sense throughout the book that John Carreyrou was arguing his side extremely well and with persuasive detail, but in the manner of a trial lawyer who leaves out any exculpatory facts or interpretations. I am still persuaded of Holmes's guilt, but I would be interested to read a well-argued account of her side of the story.