Bad blood : secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup / John Carreyrou.

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    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: In 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 $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work. For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When John Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, 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. The biggest corporate fraud since Enron is a cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.
    • Content Notes:
      A purposeful life -- The gluebot -- Apple envy -- Goodbye East Paly -- The childhood neighbor -- Sunny -- Dr. J -- The miniLab -- The wellness play -- "Who is LTC Shoemaker?" -- Lighting a Fuisz -- Ian Gibbons -- Chiat\Day -- Going live -- Unicorn -- The grandson -- Fame -- The Hippocratic Oath -- The tip -- The ambush -- Trade secrets -- La mattanza -- Damage control -- The empress has no clothes -- Epilogue.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-324) and index.
    • Other Titles:
      Secrets and lies in a Silicon Valley startup.
    • ISBN:
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Booklist Reviews 2018 May #1

*Starred Review* Stories of corporate fraud and malfeasance are so ubiquitous as to barely raise an eyebrow, so the shock-and-awe media coverage surrounding the charges of massive fraud against Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes indicated a story of nearly unprecedented significance. A teenage Stanford dropout when she patented her idea for developing portable devices to administer comprehensive tests using only a single drop of blood, Holmes had a meteoric rise in Silicon Valley. She was acknowledged as the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, helped in large part by her doe-eyed, husky-voiced charisma that attracted the likes of former secretaries of state George Shultz and Henry Kissinger and current secretary of defense James Mattis to her board of directors. Yet the company's purported capabilities and successes were shams, created by Holmes' unwavering but deluded belief in her thesis and reinforced by a workplace run on intimidation, fear, and paranoia. It would take the dauntless efforts of Wall Street Journal reporter Carreyrou to expose Holmes for the charlatan she was. Crime thriller authors have nothing on Carreyrou's exquisite sense of suspenseful pacing and multifaceted character development in this riveting, read-in-one-sitting tour de force. Investigative journalists are perhaps the country's last true protectors of truth and justice, and Carreyrou's commitment to unraveling Holmes' crimes has been literally of life-saving value. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 June #2

Carreyrou's clearly written and accessible work can be compared to another outstanding business exposé, James B. Stewart's Den of Thieves—both are by Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporters, both are based on deep investigative reporting, and both provide riveting accounts of business greed and fraud. In March 2018, Elizabeth Holmes and the health technology company Theranos settled SEC civil fraud charges by Holmes divesting control of the business and paying a large fine. Her former partner's case is pending. This work demonstrates how Holmes founded Theranos while in school at Stanford to provide a revolutionary blood-monitoring device using minimal blood. Holmes aspired to be like Steve Jobs, copying his dress and managerial style. She charmed and cajoled wealthy and powerful mentors who helped her raise millions. Inside the company, she and her partner terrorized highly skilled employees who were fired when they could not deliver quick results to match her promises. To stave off questions, the company believed it could "fake-it-until-you-make-it," a Silicon Valley flaw, per Carreyrou. Using aggressive tactics and pit bull attorneys, Theranos squelched dissent and threatened the author. VERDICT Highly recommended for all collections.—Harry Charles, St. Louis

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.