Book Club: Bad Blood

Sorry for the delay on this post, I know I promised it two days ago! Amalia’s flu has taken over our lives this week, but I’m excited to finally be sharing this review. I’m a little brain dead but hopefully my thoughts come across in some shape or form.

Striped Shirt 


There are no words to describe how fascinated I am by the Theranos story. Obviously, the rest of the world is as well since a documentary, podcast, and book have all been recently released about it! I have to say that I was underwhelmed by the HBO documentary, The Inventor, which I had encouraged everyone to watch when I announced this book pick. I felt that it didn’t tell the whole story as well as the book did, and it was a little boring. So many people have told me that the podcast, The Dropout, is excellent, so I’m planning to give that a listen next.

But I did really love the book for the most part!

My sister and her husband work in Silicon Valley and last night we had a long discussion about how the “fake it ’til you make it” mentality is rampant there. And sometimes it works when it comes to a single feature of an app or one piece of the puzzle that needs a little extra finagling, but when it comes to an entire product, especially one in healthcare, that obviously doesn’t apply. Elizabeth Holmes took that mentality to a terrifying new level. Her obsession with Steve Jobs clearly drove this in a big way.

But the fact that she was able to fool her board members and the high-level execs at Safeway and Walgreens goes to show how much storytelling and poise plays into a founder’s success. How she told her powerful story even before her idea was fully formed determined the company’s success for so many years. That and her physical presence which was clearly something special based on how everyone described her.

The New York Times said it well: She cast a hypnotic spell on even seasoned investors, honing an irresistible pitch about a little girl who was afraid of needles and who now wanted to improve the world by providing faster, better blood tests.

Her story was something that people wanted to believe and her solution offered something that would have changed the world. That excitement created blinders for many of the people involved.

About halfway through, it got a little repetitive because each chapter felt like the same story over and over with different players but I pushed through and liked it again by the end. My overall review is that I was intrigued by the whole thing and couldn’t stop reading before bed every night. I recommend it because I think it’s an important story for people to read. And John Carreyrou did a really good job of telling the story from many different perspectives.

One aspect that I’ve become kind of obsessed with is Elizabeth’s voice. Is it fake or is that her real voice? I think it’s fake, what about you?


This month we’re going in a very different direction. I’m very excited to start More Than Words by Jill Santopolo because I absolutely loved her other book, The Light We Lost.

I literally know nothing about it and chose it based on the author and a friend recommendation alone. I always trust her book judgment! Amazon describes it like this:

“Nina Gregory has always been a good daughter. Raised by her father, owner of New York City’s glamorous Gregory Hotels, Nina was taught that family, reputation, and legacy are what matter most. And Tim–her devoted boyfriend and best friend since childhood–feels the same. But when Nina’s father dies, he leaves behind a secret that shocks Nina to her core.

As her world falls apart, Nina begins to see the men in her life–her father, her boyfriend, and unexpectedly, her boss, Rafael–in a new light. Soon Nina finds herself caught between the world she loves, and a passion that could upend everything.

More Than Words is a heartbreaking and romantic novel about grief, loss, love, and self-discovery, and how we choose which life we are meant to live.”

Sounds good to me! And if it’s written even half as well as The Light We Lost, we’re all in for a treat.

Who’s reading with me this month?

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  1. Sarah said:

    I didn’t read the book but listened to the Podcast which is 100% better than the HBO documentary. The HBO documentary was like you said boring and underwhelming.

    And, I definitely think her voice is fake!

    4.4.19 · Reply
  2. Adrianna Taeschler said:

    I haven’t read this book yet I also am obsessed and fascinated with this whole thing. I think her voice is 100% fake and I believe in the podcast it talks about that. The podcast is incredible – must listen!! Looking forward to the trial this month and seeing what happens!

    4.4.19 · Reply
  3. Kristin said:

    I liked the book a lot. I didn’t really know too much about Theranos so it was really an eye opener for me. The one thing that really struck me, besides all the obvious crazy, was how much power / fear can be yielded through legal means when you have deep pockets.

    About ten years ago I left a job and was bound to a ridiculously termed non-compete agreement for several years when I started my own consulting business. I had signed it when I first joined the company when I didn’t think I would ever be in a position to work for myself. I was terrified of overstepping bounds and lost a lot of income because oftentimes I had to tell potential clients no. It didn’t help when I got a legal notice from my old company – right before Xmas to boot. The anxiety that raised was very real, so I can’t imagine how those employees must have felt with that the excessive bullying to keep quiet.

    4.4.19 · Reply