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Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Without sounding too dramatic my suggestion is – READ THIS BOOK!!  I listened to Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup and I was captivated from the outset.  It helps that Carreyou is a former journalist for the Wall Street Journal as his writing is crisp yet compelling.   

Bad Blood is the story of a company, Theranos and its CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford drop out who claimed she had a technique for conducting a blood tests with only a finger prick rather than extraction of a vile of blood.  Carreyou takes us through this investigative journey demonstrating which reads like a good mystery novel. 

The names of the smart, wealthy and sophisticated people that fell for Holmes’ lies and failed to ask for proof are astounding.  I won’t give their names away but they are listed in the book. . These individuals invested and/or supported Holmes at every step until it became abundantly clear through solid journalistic reporting that the company was built on a foundation of sand.  The Theranos Board ignored employees who raised concerns.  One company investor even ignored a consultant it hired explicitly to ensure the effectiveness of the test. 

Employees who questioned the validity of the device and results were harassed by private investigators hired by nationally recognized law firms and forced to defend themselves from civil prosecution.  Families were torn apart.  George Schultz shunned his grandson who alerted him to the fraud and instead chose to remain on the Theranos Board and maintain a friendship with Holmes.  The most concerning element of this venture is that thousands of individuals relied on the results of these tests to determine medical treatment.  I find it unconscionable that anyone could perpetuate such a harmful deceit.   

Bad Blood should be required reading in every ethical class in high school and post-secondary institutions.  Business leaders and employees alike, regardless of industry would benefit from reading this book and determining whether they work in a business environment that encourages ‘speaking up”.   

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