BAD BLOOD by John Carreyrou

Everyone should read this fantastic book. Before I go farther I should point out that this is no ordinary review and my particular knowledge and experience make it necessary to tell you something of myself. I’m a retired FBI agent and attorney in Silicon Valley. I used to work on high-tech cases much like the one in the book. I also litigated in both local and federal courts and served as a judge (pro tem) for several years. I was the first to investigate Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire hedge fund manager who stole insider information and was convicted of insider trading. He got eleven years. I could cite other cases, but the point is, I know what I’m talking about in this particular area. I’ll post this first section as a review, but the full writeup will be on my blog.

So, everyone who ever has had a blood test or anticipates ever having one should read it. Everyone in Silicon Valley in the tech/startup world should read it. But don’t read it just because you should; it is just the best, most engrossing, most entertaining book I’ve read in years. I read it in two days and would have done it quicker if my daughter and her husband hadn’t been visiting from out of state. If it were fiction no one would have believed it. It would seem too far-fetched. I’m also a skeptic of what’s reported in the press or in tell-all books since I’ve seen reporting that is slanted or simply inaccurate on cases of mine. But what I know from first-hand experience tells me that this author, an investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), has uncovered the truth in all its frightening, disgusting ugliness. The story he tells here is exactly what I have learned to exemplify the Silicon Valley milieu in which I live. It is a story of an egomaniacal young woman who envisioned herself as the next Steve Jobs, as a superstar tech entrepreneur, as the the first self-made female billionaire high-tech corporate genius. Elizabeth Holmes, the 19-year-old Stanford dropout who is the central figure in the book, founded Theranos, a company she claimed could perform hundreds of blood tests from a few drops of blood drawn with a thumb stick, thus revolutionizing health care.  It is a story of unbridled greed, lying on a pathological scale, of high officials like former Secretary of State George Schultz, retired generals, Stanford professors and others who betrayed their company, its shareholders, the patients and doctors who relied on the faulty tests Theranos produced, all for the promise of incredible riches. It’s a story of secrecy, intrigue, and intimidation. I’ll stop here for the book review sites because my next posts will contain spoilers. I’ll explain there why and how I know this book to be true and reliable. For now, I’ll just say read this riveting, superbly-written, true story. You won’t regret it.

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