Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (Nicole Schlinger Book Review)

Nicole Schlinger
Nov 14, 2018 · 2 min read
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. Our first post-election Nicole Schlinger Book review. How did Elizabeth Holmes fool some of the smartest investors and businessmen of our time? Human Nature. We see what we want to see. (For more on that — check out Robert Greene.)

Hello friends … Elections are over, and it’s time to get back to book reviews!

Let’s start with a bang! If you love business and adventure … this book is for you.

Bad Blood chronicles the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos.

Elizabeth Holmes burst onto the Silicon Valley tech scene as a superstar from Day One.

Theranos promised to revolutionize the multi-billion dollar business of blood testing. The promise was magical — instead of long, painful blood draws — Theranos would use nothing more than a pinprick to perform hundreds of blood tests, all conducted in a tiny box that looked a bit like Easy Bake Oven. (In fact, in one incarnation, you even loaded the little drops of blood on an itty bitty tray.)

Investors were hooked.. even without a thorough vetting of Holmes or her technology, which was dubious from the outset.

She checked their box for a young, attractive, female founder. She was a powerful rebuttal to the argument that Silicon Valley is a sexist boys club.

The reality is — Theranos never had the technology to produce what they purported to sell. Their blood testing machine could not perform the tests they claimed it did. Many of their tests were done off-site, using traditional (and very large) equipment. To keep up the myth that they were using only a few drops of blood, they often diluted samples which produced inaccurate results.

So how did this young woman manage to fool General Jim Mattis, former Secretary of State George Schultz, the CEO of Walgreens, and dozens of the biggest venture capitalists in Silicon


Even amongst the smartest, richest, most ambitious … we see what we want to see.

This was a great read. So interesting. Lots of drama. But the author really had it out for Elizabeth Holmes. He despised her from the get go, and he did nothing to disguise it. And for that reason … this book will not go down in history as the definitive portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos.

Footnote — When the story of CampaignHQ is told one day, the best action adventure scenes will be the pivotal moments where we sold a product we did not produce. (Do you know how to make patch through calls? Sure! Do you have a roomful of employees making phone calls? Absolutely!) Is it any wonder I had an affinity for someone who based a billion-dollar business on that same premise?

Nicole Schlinger

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Nicole Schlinger is a business owner, book lover, and dog owner.

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