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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Bad Blood, Secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

It’s a short and sweet post from me today. ‘Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup’ is a book that has been recommended to me multiple times on #bookstagram, but for some reason I always failed to pick up a copy. That is, until a couple of weeks ago when I saw it for buy-one-get-one-half-price whilst purchasing a Christmas present for my partner (no spoilers, just in case they read this!).

The blurb reads…

“The riveting true story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar Silicon Valley biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who uncovered the biggest corporate fraud since Enron”

I loved John Carreyrou’s impartial reporting style throughout the entirety of the book. It presented a nice change to other books that I have read recently, which have been first-person accounts, like Mindf*ck, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, and Under the Wig. Reading ‘Bad Blood’ felt much like reading an extended investigated newspaper report – exceptionally informative, well structured, and to the point. 

To be honest, I had not heard of Theranos ahead of the books publication, and for that I am a little shocked. With all the media buzz around ‘silicon valley unicorns’ (here, here, and here!) and my previous job being backed by one of the UK’s largest venture capitalist firms, I would have thought it might have been raised in conversation once. Throughout the entirety of the book, I felt my jaw hitting the ground, thinking ‘how could this not be seen?!’ ‘why was this allowed to continue?!’. Which is an absolute testament to Carreyrou’s methodical and accessible writing. He lays out in plain English, using legal documents, first hand accounts, and company records, just exactly what played out at the top levels of Theranos. Detailing how information was strategically kept away from junior staff, and manipulated for potential investors.

Overall ‘Bad Blood’ is an eye-opening read in the context of ‘Uber’ ‘WeWork’ and ‘Tesla’ – it should provide food for thought for would-be investors, venture capitalists, and young entrepreneurs alike. Anyone remotely interested in financial markets or early-round fundraising will also find it a captivating read, and hopefully a warning to conduct proper due-diligence and company stress-testing.

Have you read ‘Bad Blood’? What are your thoughts on the Unicorn trend? Let me know in the comments below.

About John Carreyrou:

“John Carreyrou is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter as the Wall Street Journal. For his extensive coverage of Theranos, Carreyrou was awarded the George Polk Award for Financial Reporting, the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in the category of Beat Reporting, and the Bartlett & Steele Silver Award for Investigative Business Journalism. Carreyrou lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children”

‘Bad Blood, Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup’ in Facts:

Author: John Carreyrou
First Published Date: 2018 (in the UK)
Publishing House: Alfred A. Knopf (US), Picador (UK)
Pages: 339 (299 as bulk read)

Instagram: @nonfictionmillennial

2 Comments

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