Ankur Shukla

@ankurshukla

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Book Review: Bad Blood

I recently finished reading Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Cerreyrou. The book details the inner workings of the (once a unicorn) startup Theranos and how the its founder Elizabeth Holmes tried to dream, build and eventually brought a disgraceful end to Therenos. Holmes, along with her #2 Sunny Balwani created an elaborate smoke and mirrors dream, misleading the investors and business partners as well as playing with the health of actual patients! The book also exposes the caustic culture within Theranos that was cultivated by Holmes and Balwani, focused on the doctrine of Holmes and her impractical beliefs! Holmes, with her evangilcal views on changing the health care industry her own way, fueled by the shrewd, thin-skinned, and overbearing Balwani, together created one of the biggest vaporware in the health-tech industry and did not stopped before taking it to actual people.

John Cerreyrou does an excelllent job with exhaustivly detailing all the aspects of the story. The book gripped me from the begining and kept me wanting more and more. Apart from a well constructed narrative, John remians very objective theoughout. This is one of the few books that can be used as a case study for what not to do in corporate governance! John's investigative peice on Theranos in Octorber 2015 in WSJ caused the first dominoe to fall for Theranos! After completing the book I was compelled to go back and read all his reporting on this from October 2015 all the way to Spetember 2018, by which Therenos was completly dissolved with Holmes and Balwani were under federal investigations. This is a facinating read and I would highly reccomend! Easily in one of the top 5 new books I read this year.


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