Read: January 2021

Inspiration: What is the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos?


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“Bad Blood”, published in 2018 by author and journalist John Carreyrou, tells the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos. The book describes how Holmes, who founded Theranos when she was 19 years old, claimed to have developed a revolutionary new blood testing technology that could perform a full range of laboratory tests with just a few drops of blood. However, as Carreyrou investigates the company, he discovers that the technology did not work as advertised and that Holmes had engaged in a massive fraud to mislead investors, doctors, and patients. The book follows the rise and fall of Theranos and the legal and personal consequences for Holmes, who was eventually charged with multiple counts of fraud and sentenced to prison.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Elizabeth Holmes start Theranos to change world of diagnostic testing–small drop of blood give map of diseases, company start early 2000s, Holmes very ambitious, inspired by Apple and Steve Jobs, but Holmes aggressive–fire employees a lot, tight to vest, lots of lawsuits if employees do anything, close monitoring to maintain secrets, and often overstate effectiveness of product, Holmes refuse proper FDA and lab testing to verify claims of effectiveness, constantly delay shipping for experimental test, Safeway CEO Burd convinced of prospects and remodel stores for wellness center but Holmes never deliver devices (safeway FOMO that could be revolutionary and not want competitors like walgreens and CVS to take it), roll out theranos and walgreens collab 2014 but continue to bs results, employees keep leaving frustrated, theranos add high clout board members–kissinger, schultz and mattis, close with obama admin–invite biden to tour facility, as WSJ report get going theranos threaten all sources and reporter–follow them around and threaten suits, theranos use Boise–highest profile lawyer around and work through intimidation, board of high profile advisors enamored by Holmes and not see fraud that employees and doctors notice, rupert murdoch WSJ parent owner invest 125mm in theranos, Alan Beam who recently left as lab head at theranos was key source for story, eventually story couple with CMS inspections results and walls close in on fraud/violations, investors lost total 1bn–betsy devos 100mm, murdoch 120mm, waltons of walmart 150mm, carlos slim 30mm and more, holmes and sunny indicted 2018 with trial july 2020, incredibly secretive–even not tell dating sunny who ran company, holmes not a medical expert at all and none on board

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Welcome to JeffReads, where I share summaries of the best books I’ve read on business, politics, science, technology and more.




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