Bad Blood

Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

John Carreyrou


This is a fascinating story about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, her partner/lover Sunny Balwani, and the company Theranos. The main takeaway for me is that straight-up lying works. A lot. Until it doesn’t anymore.

Holmes was able to snow and scheme a disturbing large number of people who should have known better. All it takes is a good story, commitment to the lie, and a good legal team.

The only thing I wish the book had, and it’s probably impossible to get from Holmes, is the insight into why she did it.

The larger takeaway is the feeling that Silicon Valley is, at its core, a shell game. Have an inspiring “mission,” big up your company, get some seed investors, sell to a bigger fish, be hailed as a visionary. Where are the companies doing the real work? Is “real work” valued any more?