Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

★★★★★ (5/5)

A very exciting read so far. However I keep forgetting the characters and their respective jobs owing to the fact that the author has used their first names only. Never happened to me whilst reading fiction though.

Henry Kissinger was on the board of directors for Theranos. Imagine the evil prowess of Elizabeth Holmes, a woman who even duped Kissinger.

A selection of my favourite passages from the book

  • Besides, the venture capitalists startups courted for funding knew that startup founders overstated these forecasts. It was part of the game. VCs even had a term for it: the hockey-stick forecast. It showed revenue stagnating for a few years and then magically shooting up in a straight line.
  • The way she trained her big blue eyes on you without blinking made you feel like the center of the world. It was almost hypnotic. Her voice added to the mesmerizing effect: she spoke in an unusually deep baritone.
  • Tony, who like Ian no longer had Elizabeth’s favor and was being excluded from the development of the miniLab, floated the notion that perhaps the company was just a vehicle for Elizabeth and Sunny’s romance and that none of the work they did really mattered. Ian nodded. “It’s a folie à deux,” he said.
  • The resignations infuriated Elizabeth and Sunny. The following day, they summoned the staff for an all-hands meeting in the cafeteria. Copies of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho’s famous novel about an Andalusian shepherd boy who finds his destiny by going on a journey to Egypt, had been placed on every chair. Still visibly angry, Elizabeth told the gathered employees that she was building a religion. If there were any among them who didn’t believe, they should leave. Sunny put it more bluntly: anyone not prepared to show complete devotion and unmitigated loyalty to the company should “get the fuck out.”
  • The tight security measures made an impression on James and Grossman. It called to mind the lengths to which the Coca-Cola Company went to guard its secret Coke formula and suggested to them that Theranos had very valuable intellectual property to protect. The representations Elizabeth and Sunny made to them cemented that belief.
  • George said a top surgeon in New York had told him the company was going to revolutionize the field of surgery and this was someone his good friend Henry Kissinger considered to be the smartest man alive.

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