Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou Review

Title: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Author: John Carreyrou
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Nonfiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I won this book and another in a contest on Instagram and reviewed it. Thank you so much, Alfred A. Knopf Books!

                I saw a giveaway on Instagram and threw my name in the ring, not expecting to win it. It’s been sitting on my ever-growing ARC stack, and once I decided to start alternating between them and library books, I chose Bad Blood as my next choice. Normally, I’m really picky about nonfiction; I find it rather dry. But I decided to take the plunge in this brutal, thought-provoking expose, and I wasn’t disappointed. Theranos, one of the most infamous Silicon Valley startups, is the topic of Bad Blood, and it carries all of the elements of a great story: a quick rise, a young woman in a profession dominated by men, emulating mystery and Steve Jobs, a deep voice and a dream perhaps too noble to be made real. I loved every moment of it; I’d heard of the scandal when it happened but didn’t take a deep look into what caused it. John Carreyrou, an investigative journalist with The Wall Street Journal, pulls back the curtain and exposes every sordid secret, from the beginning to the end. I’m in awe. It was informative, hard-hitting, thought-provoking and shocking. It was scandalous and surprising and one of the best works of nonfiction I’ve ever read, period.

               Theranos had every chance to be successful, and for a while, it was. Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford dropout who is driven, articulate, and determined to become the next Steve Jobs. She proposed something that would completely revolutionize the health care industry: a device that could take a variety of blood tests in a fraction of the time that traditional machines could. Soon health care providers like Walgreens were taking an interest in the young innovator’s mysterious technology. There was only one problem: the technology did not work. Decidedly in denial, Holmes was trying to get her technology put in stores and even used in the United States military. Backed into a corner and desperate to hold on to her newfound success, fame, and celebrity, Holmes’s rise and fall, and the subsequent crumbling of her company are documented in this investigative book. The pacing was breakneck and I really enjoyed the tone; it was factual but not so dry that I wasn’t interested. I also enjoyed the format and the way that things were presented. This kind of book, I have a feeling that there was a lot I didn’t pick up on. I’ll have to read it again, this time with a thorough look at the notes. Nonetheless, I very much enjoyed it. I feel like I really know the issue now, and the book; I was just in awe, and shock. Here was this wildly successful, smart and innovative young woman, but she’d messed up by overshooting and overpromising, and so, she failed. It shocked me, saddened me, made me think. It certainly made me look at nonfiction in a completely different way (and that’s a good thing). I’m definitely more open to it as a whole now. I can’t wait to read the other book that came with it! Thank you again to the publisher! The bottom line: Informative, shocking, and in-depth, I loved Bad Blood! Definitely one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read! Next on deck: Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer!

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