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For nearly a ten billion dollar fraud, what meticulous planning is required? How did a school dropout with no medical background deceive the medical technology establishment and even political giants? In “Bad Blood”, the author, John Carreyrou, uses a calm and objective style of writing to reveal the shocking fraudulent activity at the heart of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes’ company. In his research for the book, Carreyrou interviewed over 150 people, including sixty former employees. He drew upon the comprehensive background detail they provided to uncover the truth. Carreyrou tears apart the legendary company that built on lies. He reveals to the reader how the fraud was executed.
Overview | Chapter 1
Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.
Before we begin, let us try to imagine a particular type of product, a portable medical “magic box”. It can be kept at home, produce a diagnosis, and suggest a treatment plan. Whenever you feel physically unwell, all you need to do is to open this magic box, use the needle on top to prick your finger, let a drop of blood fall into the box, and this magic box will provide over two hundred professional test results. With this device, not only would you be able to track your physical condition instantaneously, the data from the blood test would be transmitted online to your doctor. They can then send over more comprehensive consultation notes and advise on your medication going forward. With such a magic box, you would be able to accomplish the entire process of a doctor’s consultation without stepping out of your door. Is this a product you would hope to own?
This is not a fantasy. Once upon a time, someone from Silicon Valley created such a product. The entrepreneur was a passionate follower of Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, had believed that “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” For this revolutionary dream, this individual dropped out of Stanford University, gathered a group of like-minded talents, and created a company that sold medical apparatus. Soon it was estimated to be worth $9 billion USD.
This person, who founded a company they called Theranos, was none other than Elizabeth Holmes. It was she who came up with this captivating idea and proceeded to use an irresistibly charming manner to rake in investment. She attracted business world legends, such as the Oracle founder Larry Ellison, to be her shareholders. She was even successful in persuading military and political leaders, like former U.S. Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, and former Defense Minister William Perry, to join the Board of Directors. These significant figures provided a shield for the company. Their credibility helped her company’s value ascend in the market, such that, at one point, it was the most successful Silicon Valley start-up.
At the helm of Theranos, Holmes dreamt of becoming a hero destined to save humanity. Yet ultimately, the dream melted as everyone found out that the magic product was just an illusion Holmes had created. The bubble was burst when everyone shockingly realized that the Theranos company Holmes’ had created was the biggest medical fraud in history.