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The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion dollar startup by the prize winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyersIn 2014 Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup unicorn promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at 9 billion putting Holmes's worth at an estimated 47 billion There was just one problem The technology didn't workFor years Holmes had been misleading investors FDA officials and her own employees When Carreyrou working at The Wall Street Journal got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking uestions both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits Undaunted the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015 By early 2017 the company's value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold rush frenzy of Silicon Valley


10 thoughts on “Bad Blood

  1. says:

    I don’t read a lot of page turners I often find myself unable to put a book down—but they’re not the kinds of books that would keep most people glued to their chairs Still I recently found myself reading a book so compelling that I couldn’t turn away Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou details the rise and fall of Theranos If you aren’t familiar with the Theranos story here’s the short version the company promised to uickly give you a complete picture of your health using only a small amount of blood Elizabeth Holmes founded it when she was just 19 years old and both she and Theranos uickly became the darlings of Silicon Valley She gave massively popular TED talks and appeared on the covers of Forbes and FortuneBy 2013 Theranos was valued at nearly 10 billion and even partnered with Walgreens to put their blood tests in stores around the country The problem? Their technology never worked It never came close to working But Holmes was so good at selling her vision that she wasn’t stopped until after real patients were using the company’s “tests” to make decisions about their health She and her former business partner are now facing potential jail time on fraud charges and Theranos officially shut down in AugustThe public didn’t know about Theranos’ deception until Carreyrou broke the story as a reporter at the Wall Street Journal Because he was so integral to the company’s demise Bad Blood offers a remarkable inside lookSome of the details he shares are—for lack of a better word—insane Holmes would invite prospective investors to the lab so they could get their blood tested on a Theranos machine The device had been programmed to show a really slow progress bar instead of an error message When results didn’t come back right away Holmes sent the investors home and promised to follow up with resultsAs soon as they left an employee would remove the blood sample from the device and transfer it to a commercial blood analyzer Her investors got their blood tested by the same machines available in any lab in the country and they had no ideaThere’s a lot Silicon Valley can learn from the Theranos mess To start a company needs relevant experts on its board of directors The Theranos board had some heavy hitters—including several former Cabinet secretaries and senators—but for most of the company’s existence none of them had any expertise in diagnostics If they had they might have noticed the red flags a lot soonerHealth technology reuires a different approach than other kinds of technology because human lives are on the line Carreyrou writes a lot about how Holmes idolized Steve Jobs and his unwillingness to compromise on his vision That approach is okay for consumer electronics—if a new phone doesn’t work as promised no one gets hurt—but it’s irresponsible for a health company Holmes pushed a vision of what Theranos could be not what it actually was and people suffered as a result Bad Blood is also a cautionary tale about the virtues of celebrity On the surface Holmes was everything Silicon Valley loves in a CEO charismatic and convincing with a memorable personal story made for magazine profiles There’s nothing wrong with that on its own A rock star CEO can be a huge boon for a startup But you can’t let fame become the most important thingTheranos is the worst case scenario of what happens when a CEO prioritizes personal legacy above all else—but I hope that people don’t use it as an excuse to write off the next young woman with a big idea I also don’t want Bad Blood to scare people away from next gen diagnostics Theranos went to extraordinary lengths to get around uality standards The industry is highly regulated and new diagnostics undergo rigorous testing Bad Blood tackles some serious ethical uestions but it is ultimately a thriller with a tragic ending It’s a fun read full of bizarre details that will make you gasp out loud The story almost feels too ridiculous to be real at points no wonder Hollywood is already planning to turn it into a movie I think it’s the perfect book to read by the fire this winter


  2. says:

    Fascinating accounting of the Theranos scam and I do mean SCAM Exhaustively reported I do wish there had been analysis of how a scam of this magnitude was made possible and enabled This girl dropped out of college and convinced Henry Kissinger George Schulz Rupert Murdoch and a bunch of other famous andor incredibly talented people to give her money or work with her even though there was no there there WHAT? There are so many incredible WTF moments Just wow Privilege is a hell of a drug I guess


  3. says:

    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 by Paulo Coelho had been placed on every chair Elizabeth told the gathered employees that she was building a religion If there was anyone not prepared to show complete devotion and unmitigated loyalty to the company they should “get the fuck out”The Steve Jobs SyndromeI have covered Silicon Valley as a journalist and author for three decades now I’m not big on attending conferences but made a point to go to an awards event at a favorite forum in September 2015 Among the recipients that year was Silicon Valley legend Andy Grove getting the lifetime achievement awardAlso on the list getting the “global benefactor” award was someone I had never heard of Elizabeth Holmes I had also never heard of her company Theranos Though I once worked for a business magazine I never read any others And Theranos was in the medical device “space” which is pretty different from software and social mediaHer presentation was last Joining her on stage was her Stanford professor and mentor Channing Robertson He spoke first He told this story of Holmes as a kind of prodigy who camped out at the doors of his office and lab until he admitted her as a freshman into his upper division courses in chemical engineering I would learn later that he considered Holmes a once in a generation genius comparing her to Newton Einstein Mozart and Leonardo da Vinci Heavy praise indeedHolmes was up next She wore a black mock turtleneck that reminded me of Steve Jobs Her dyed blond hair was up slightly skewed that struck me as a bit calculated She had large unblinking blue eyes and spoke in a low baritone By the end of her talk it struck me that she had essentially said nothing of substance about her product or her company Instead it was high falutin’ claims that reminded me of the rhetoric Steve Jobs used when rolling out a new product except that he had a real product he was demonstrating each time I was immediately suspicious of Holmes and Theranos I had seen too much over the years to take something like this at face valueWhen I got home I did a computer search and learned that Holmes had been on the cover of numerous business magazines as the first female tech billionaire My wife would always add “on paper” In some photos she posed with a tiny vial of blood that was supposed to represent all that would be needed to do numerous tests with the company deviceAlmost a month later the first in a series of Wall Street Journal articles about Theranos by the author of this book was published It reported that their technology did not work I was to learn later that the author interviewed 60 former Theranos employees for his research My suspicions were confirmed I eagerly read every new installment of the WSJ seriesBut “Bad Blood” goes much deeper than those articles It turns out that Channing Robertson was not the only older man over whom Holmes had a kind of hypnotic power like the mythical Mata Hari There was veteran venture capitalist Donald L Lucas whose backing and connections enabled Holmes to keep raising money Then Dr J and Wade Miuelon at Walgreens and Safeway CEO Steve Burd as well as General James Mattis now Trump’s Secretary of Defense George Shultz and Henry Kissinger All of these men served as enablers when they were in positions where they could have put a stop to the fraud Most of these operations had experts who knew the science and tried to warn their superiors but were ignored And there’s no doubt that the medical miracles Theranos promised were very appealing to these older men as well as to so many others who heard her spiel One of the most important older men was Sunny Balwani her romantic partner 20 years her senior He knew nothing about science but was essentially her primary henchman for bullying dissenters in the company heading up employee surveillance and doing the dirty work of firing people He also subbed as CFO after the only one they had was fired for uestioning company honesty Balwani would pull numbers out of his butt and claim they were legitimate revenue projectionsThose who weren’t fooled were veteran venture capitalists who had been investing in the medical device space for years During one of her pitches to these firms she was asked so many uestions she couldn’t answer that she stormed out of the conference room In a one on one encounter with another successful venture capitalist he asked to see her device Instead she slapped her notebook shut and said “if you can’t trust me I can’t work with you” and slammed the door behind her as she departedIn turns out that in spite of her time at Stanford Holmes didn’t know much science She described the process of her device as follows“A chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample which is translated into a result which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel”The selling point was no needles just a slight lance of a fingertip could provide enough blood to do countless tests When the author ueried Timothy Hamill from the UCSF Department of Laboratory Science he told himthe pitfalls of using blood pricked from a finger Unlike venous blood drawn from the arm capillary blood was polluted by fluids from tissues and cells that interfered with tests and made measurements less accurate “I’d be less surprised if they told us they were time travelers who came back from the twenty seventh century than if they told us they cracked that nut” he addedThe whole concept was flawed from the beginning Holmes used non company technology to try to cover this up In a PowerPoint presentation she made to investors one slide showed scatter plots purporting to favorably compare test data from Theranos’s proprietary analyzers to data from conventional lab machines But all the data came from non Theranos technology They often used other tech than company technology that could not generate accurate results for patients Theranos even resorted to using hypodermic needles instead of the promised fingertip prick Meanwhile Holmes continued to expand her Steve Jobs persona She drank green kale shakes Jobs was vegan leased cars with no license plates as he had had several bodyguards who referred to her as Eagle1 Eagle2 was Bulwani and flew in a Gulfstream Jet She referred to her device as the i Pod of Health And even hired the ad and pr firm that Apple once used Chiat Day even though Theranos could not afford them And looking back it appeared that her dropping out of college was part of a script just the way Jobs and Gates dropped out to pursue their entrepreneurial dreamsWhen she went on the Jim Cramer’s “Mad Money” show to denounce the WSJ she sounded very Jobs like when she said “First they think you’re crazy then they fight you and then all of a sudden you change the world“Not surprisingly Theranos kept missing their deadlines Its contract with Safeway fell through but Walgreen’s was important to them Several stores in Arizona went “live” with testing Most tests done there were way off resulting in unnecessary trips to the ER and potential over treatment Various doctors and patients published negative reviews on Yelp This put the company in the realm of reckless endangerment “a crime consisting of acts that create a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person”This reality upset many employees who wanted no part of a fraud that would harm people At company meetings Holmes would say “If anyone here believes you are not working on the best thing humans have ever built then you should leave”Many took her up on that but it was never without controversy Meanwhile bulldog Sunny was dispatched to Arizona to intimidate those who had posted negative Yelp reviews And the company had hired super lawyer David Boies to threaten suit against anyone who revealed insider info on the company Just as one example it cost the Schulz family 400k in legal fees to defend George’s nephew Tyler Theranos knew Tyler had met with the author because they had a tail on both Tyler and the authorWhen I finished the book I thought back on that awards ceremony I had attended where I first saw Holmes I recalled Andy Grove whose lifetime achievement award represented the original Silicon Valley of sweat euity Grove lived through the Nazi occupation of his native country of Hungary and escaped after it became Communist In New York he worked as a busboy while he learned English and obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from City College of New York Graduate work took him to the west coast where he earned a PhD from UC Berkeley in chemical engineering He would go on to help found chip maker Intel a company that truly changed the worldThese days what I see in Silicon Valley is an increasing obsession with wealth and an absence of ethics and the spread of the Steve Jobs Syndrome like some kind of disease Theranos epitomized all of this The result is a lack of the honest work that Grove epitomized in which wealth and notoriety were by products not goals The real goal was to do good work first and foremost And always tell the truthThe beat goes onhttpsnymagcomintelligencer2019


  4. says:

    Last night when I finished this I just wanted to write a review that was haha repeated like four hundred times I've gotten some sleep since then and calmed down though This was really good like I stayed up until 3 am reading because I didn't want to put it down good Most I'm just befuddled that this happened at all and at the fact that most of the people implicated in this are just probably never going to face any repercussions I don't even necessarily mean legal repercussions but like just there seems like there's zero contrition or embarrassment on the part of people like George Shultz Henry Kissinger James N Mattis or Channing Robertson Like just their instance until even recently that Theranos has proprietary technology that was novel and that there wasn't merit to anything being said or the way Mattis was even confirmed as Secretary of Defense not too long ago I'm just baffled and I think the book shouldn't have said Holmes was solely responsible for the mess that was Theranos when so many people who we're supposed to think as credible couldn't be bothered to do any due diligence When Schultz's own grandson came to him to tell him that things weren't right at Theranos and he just disregarded him I honestly couldn't even comprehend how someone could be like that but I guess what else can you expect from someone involved in something like the Iran Contra affair Really good book would totally recommend personally could not look away from this god damn train wreck of a situation that was entirely preventable


  5. says:

    Tips on how to make an unicorn Be a sociopath Excel at salesmarketing Get some cool people on your BoardTips to how to fake it till you make it? Hire a lot of lawyers Intimidate all your employees Pretend that you are a vocal proponent of a cause that you are actually againstHow to make it as a woman in the tech world? Baritone Intese staringWhat can fuck up your amazing future as a tech billionaire? Facts and data I love any story that shows how salesmarketing can change the world This one is awesome Scary but awesome


  6. says:

    Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou is a 2018 Knopf Publishing Group publication ‘Super high turnover rate means you’re never bored at work Also good if you’re an introvert because each shift is short staffed Especially if you’re swing or graveyard You essentially don’t exist to the companyWhy be bothered with lab coats and safety goggles? You don’t need to use PPE at all Who cares if you catch something like HIV or Syphilis? This company sure doesn’t Brown nosing or having a brown nose will get you far How to make money at Theranos1 Lie to venture capitalists2 Lie to doctors patients FDA CDC government While also committing highly unethical and immoral and possibly illegal acts This is the story of Elizabeth Holmes’ meteoric rise and her swift and spectacular fall from grace I didn’t closely follow this case in the same way I do some true crime stories but I did keep up with it enough to get the gist of what had transpired who some of the players were and why the company was sued So when I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it I had to know all the details the how when where and why because it was just such a bizarre situation However after I read this book I sat back in complete shock Sometimes I just could not believe what I was reading I also couldn’t believe all the names that popped up in this book Before anyone starts pointing fingers at one side of the other people from all political stripes were misled by the charismatic Holmes These people are supposed to be the best and the brightest but frankly every one of them left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach For those who many not have kept up with the news stories Elizabeth Holmes barely out of her teens was behind a Silicon Valley startup called Theranos The company claimed to have invented a device that could take a very small amount a blood usually from a single finger prick and perform as many as eight hundred different tests on it often promising instant results or diagnosis The demonstrations showed mixed results so to be sure the results wowed the potential investor the tests were often rigged Any unfavorable statistics were simply tossed out or ignored The device and its potential capabilities were pitched to Safeway Walgreens and even the Military Elizabeth’s magnetic personality was enthralling and she had a way of convincing people to do what she wanted them to persuading even the most skeptical to put their faith and trust in her However multitudes of her employees found out the hard way what might happen if they challenged her or her Svengali like lover Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani Many people were disturbed by the false claims Elizabeth made and were very concerned about the false positive results the blood tests produced on real patients Employees at the company dropped like flies Eventually one employee Tyler Shultz grandson of former secretary of state George Shultz became a whistleblower bringing down a nine billion dollar operation in the process This story is utterly chilling and mind boggling I marveled at the gullibility of people we entrust our lives to not only at the base level of health care but at high levels of the government and the military I’d have thought some of the people were smarter than that Apparently not Look even someone like me from Podunk Texas would know better than to take a medical claim such as this one at face value I wouldn’t invest in it promote it or test it on patients until the thing had been approved by the FDA or whoever else had to put the seal of approval on it I damn sure wouldn’t allow our military to be subjected to something so unreliable Good God Is common sense dead in the water? It just seemed too far fetched to me and I really struggled to believe so many wealthy and even powerful people fell under Holmes’ spell so completelyWhich of course brings us to the core issue At the center of all this is Elizabeth Holmes a greedy sociopath a megalomaniac or whatever word you want to use This woman’s behavior is unconscionable She really should be behind bars This is a crazy story just nuts You will have to read it to believe it Now as far an investigative or true crime book goes this one is above average especially give the journalistic background of the author At times all the medical testing and lab jargon was a bit dry and sometimes the information or patterns of all the players felt repetitive The organization of the material was well done but not as tight as I would have liked Still I am thankful the author pursued this story for the WSJ writing an article which helped to bring down this dangerous company before any truly horrific damage was done Theranos ceased operations in August of 2018 Thank God Holmes and Balwani face up to twenty years in prison 4 stars


  7. says:

    This was fucking BANANAS


  8. says:

    Early in my career I worked at a next generation seuencing startup with Theranos level ambitions In fact it went further The founders’ mission was to cure aging Literally the goal was immortalityThere were other similarities The company was founded by wunderkinds they won the attention and support of a prominent professor in the field they dropped out and raised millions of dollars from non hard tech investors off the back of a concept then tens of millions of dollars off the back of a glued together prototype all while pursuing a fantastical goalThe company was wild but not fraudulent uite the contrary When the founders realized that the technology was not going to work or would take many years to validate they decided to fold the company All of the scientists even the skeptics were shocked and disappointed We were on the verge of breaking through in key areas But it was overAnd the irony? Many of those scientists went on to work at Theranos It was just down the streetBy 2012 they had all left Theranos ‘It's too crazy’ ‘It’s way worse’ Way worse than an immature company that blew up on a whim? I started following Theranos the Glassdoor reviews the funding announcements the glowing press coverage It was surreal to know that the company was a fraud and yet to see it riseCarreyrou exposed it all How Holmes and Balwani drove an employee to suicide how they strong armed employees investors even generals and statesmen how they lied to win multi million dollar deals from credulous partners The pulp in Bad Blood is juicy I read the book on one overseas flightTheranos is extreme but not singular Silicon Valley lionizes founders and ‘overnight’ 100X successes Investors are pushed pulled toward a hands off approach Founders retain board control and investors don’t meddle This environment is prime for fraud My management philosophy In a vacuum everyone cuts corners Everyone gets lazy And unscrupulous people do worseA couple years ago I tweeted ‘At what point do high profile unicorn frauds irreparably damage the philosophy and practice of founder friendly investors?’ That was about Hampton Creek It could have been about Zenefits or Uber in a sense or of course Theranos Who will be next? The odds on favorite is WeWork Does Tesla a public company count? The whisper consensus has many candidatesThere are many frauds left to be exposed But none as big as Theranos Well maybe one or two


  9. says:

    The True Cost of IdealismI have been guilty of the grave fault of idealism in much of my professional life Conseuently I cringe when I read of the young Elizabeth Holmes and her idealistic trajectory from the thrilling emotionally laden launch of Theranos which promised a breakthrough in medical technology to its ignominious destruction as a fraudulent scam In her I see myself not in her level of talent or her self confidence but in her profound self delusion It is this self delusion which seems the universal cost of idealism a cost which is borne not just by the promoter of an ideal but by the rest of the world as well in her case about a billion dollars in round figuresIdealism sells What it primarily sells is itself its promise its enthusiasm its own inherent goodness Modern serial idealists in places like Silicon Valley are idealists about idealism It is their idealistic energy and talent for putting together pieces in a technologicalconceptualcommercial puzzle that gets them what they need ideas contacts talented colleagues reputation and money The code phrase of the idealist is ‘Making a Difference’ So Holmes “wanted to truly leave her mark on the world she would need to accomplish something that furthered the greater good not just become rich” But most of all their energy and enthusiasm gets them power the power to promote their own idealistic self image Idealism is always couched in terms of abstract altruism that is improving the human condition But no matter what the area in which a particular ideal is to be pursued business politics medicine academia the idealist imperative his or her sine ua non is the acuisition and maintenance of power for themselves Power is a logical and practical prereuisite for the realisation of any ideal Idealists therefore want to enrol the rest of us in their ideal This is their route to power Their role model is not that of Albert Schweitzer or Mother Teresa and the selfless doing of good but that of Pericles and the talking of doing good usually about what others are reuired to do to prove their goodnessThe world of the idealist is constrained and defined by power regardless of the merits of the ideal put forth as its rationale Power is the elephant in the room that no one talks about but that must be constantly fed Eventually there is room for nothing else The ideal one has started with becomes a nostalgic memory restored to mind only at the behest of power to increase itself This is the essential paradox 0f idealism it will always end in tearsThe articulate and forceful idealists are in presenting their ideal the power they accumulate The idealist is a visionary a prophet who deserves power because of the strength of their vision and prophetic acumen Holmes made it clear to her employees that she was “starting a religion” It is faith which justifies for the idealist as for any believer those actions necessary to acuire power Chief among such actions is lying Chronic mendacity is not incidental or exceptional for the idealist It is a necessary virtue of techniue and substance Lying is expected because all communication is negotiation is it not? This is the common thread among idealists of diverse backgrounds views and personalities Donald Trump is an entrepreneurial idealist; Benedict XVI is a religious idealist; Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are high tech idealists; as indeed is Elizabeth Holmes However else they differ they share this distinctive trait they lie instinctively and routinely and without remorse indeed I suspect without consciousness of lying at all Although idealists have to be enthusiastic salesmen they are not mere evangelists who tout the advantages of their ideal while staying silent about its possible defects or adverse conseuences Idealists are true believers Unlike typical salesmen they do not present half truths distortions overstatement and tendentious arguments knowing them to be such They believe firmly in everything they say They are compelling even for hard bitten venture capitalists The guy Holmes recruited to do the engineering was mesmerised by her take of difference making “Edmond who went by Ed felt himself drawn in by the young woman sitting across from him who was staring at him intently without blinking The mission she was describing was admirable he thought”The ideal consumes idealists including their awareness of reality In their own minds they do not lie they convince themselves as much as others in order to further the ideal Lies are aspirational statements not false claims Their repetition is constructive truth an embodiment of hope and a demonstration of that very Christian virtue of faith So from the start of Theranos Holmes was faking the results of her diagnostic devices through high tech trickery believing much like Bernie Madoff another idealist that the breakthrough was at hand She was selling nanobot snake oil to West Coast money men at the same time as Goldman Sachs an exceptionally idealistic firm just ask them was pushing its sub prime portfolios into German pension funds Same product efficiency just different labels one procedural the other financialIn short idealism is not merely a neurosis; it is a sociopathology Idealists don’t simply have ideals; they seek to impose them on the rest of us at a profit Idealism is an infection spread from mouth to ear to mouth As both a philosophy and a practical ethic it is the secular residue of the Christian idea of faith It may not move mountains directly but it certainly can generate the cash to develop the machines which can And idealism justifies anything for those who have it; it makes the idealist immune from self criticism and indifferent to the conseuences of his actions Idealism certainly gets things done in a world which expects and respects it But what it gets done is rarely discussedIn business the conseuence is constant low level deceit punctuated by not infreuent criminal fraud; in politics the conseuence is extremism and ultimately terrorism; in religion fundamentalism and doctrinally justified inhumanity Idealism like its progenitor of faith is something we culturally value The central uestion that Bad Blood raises is not legal or organisational; nor is it essentially about the moral code of Silicon Valley It is about whether this legacy of what we glibly call Christian civilisation is a salvific virtue or a destructive vicePostscript It is also clear that idealists have no shame


  10. says:

    Lessons learned1 Elizabeth Holmes speaks in an unusually deep voice2 What matters is who you know If you look good and have the right connections you can get millions of dollars for your imaginary device particularly if you model it on the iPhone and dress like Steve Jobs3 Even very rich people can be stupid with money4 Sometimes the people that aren’t stupid are only supporting you for the moneyRather outside my normal genres of mystery sci fi and fantasy Bad Blood intrigued me both because of its medical focus and because I heard it was a particularly well done story Although I will once again offer up a appropriate title Bad Blood Tech because the blood itself here is perfectly fine Absolutely normal in fact Perfectly healthy blood that’s put into a nefarious machine sold by a flim flam operator of the highest levelThe storytelling is very straight forward generally devoid of literary flourishes and with only minor asides In fact at times the writing seems simplistic On reflection I think Carreyrou had to keep his sentences as factual as possible knowing that Holmes’ lawyers would go over every word looking to dispute it As such it reads uickly Until that is you you develop Toxic Exposure Syndrome the experience of immersing yourself in the world of unrepentant and awful people I found I had to take a break and once stopped was reluctant to pick it up I solved my little dilemma by reading backwards and was relieved to discover that the narrative eventually switches from the meteoric ‘rise’ of Thantos to the development of the Wall Street Journal‘s expose That’s when the crazy took an actively evil direction with Thantos harassing former employees potential sources and anyone who might speak to Carreyrou about ThantosWhat surprised me the most about this story is how many people Elizabeth Holmes was able to convince to part with their money Sure it seems she genuinely believed in her product and its potential But the goal was a product used to test blood for diagnostic purposes Even the most simple nurse cough cough could tell you that there’s certification involved This isn’t a Kickstarter for your new book or a new design for luggage or even an up and coming app that will tell you if the concert you are at will burst your eardrums this is a thing Tests almost always have to be run past the FDA And Holmes never showed anyone proof of such things Essentially thanks to an impressive amount of seed money through family connections she was able to keep her pyramid scam going by finding new people and just enough opportunities to parlay small successes into looking like big ones Until they turned to outright lies I will note that many of the scientists and engineers she hired did ultimately uit after sharing their ethical concerns with their boss whose response seems to have been 'don't worry about it'I do have to thank Carreyrou though We were sitting around work in the break room the other day in our fifteen by fifteen space shared by roughly twenty people a shift and someone was commiserating on how awful our jobs were right now “Well” I said “at least we have our souls”Three stars through no fault of the Author I just didn't enjoy reading about a rampant narcissist and her team of parasitic lawyers