Bad Blood book cover

About the Book

Bad Blood- Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the next Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with its breakthrough device, which performed the whole range of laboratory tests from a single drop of blood. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.5 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. Erroneous results put patients in danger, leading to misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments. All the while, Holmes and her partner, Sunny Balwani, worked to silence anyone who voiced misgivings—from journalists to their own employees. Carreyrou, J. (2019). Bad blood. Picador.

About the Author

John Carreyrou

John Carreyrou, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, was a reporter at The Wall Street Journal for twenty years. For his extensive coverage of Theranos, Carreyrou was awarded the George Polk Award for Financial Reporting, the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in the category of beat reporting, and the Barlett & Steele Silver Award for Investigative Business Journalism. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup was named the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. Carreyrou lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and three children. Carreyrou, J. (2019). Bad Blood. Picador.

Headshot of John Carreyrou

Why this book?

Our selection process for the Common Reading Experience book includes the input of current Engineering students who overwhelmingly rated Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup very highly. John Carreyrou, a Wall Street Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner highlights the rise and fall of Theranos, a medical startup created by Elizabeth Holmes. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup provides tremendous insight into how a young entrepreneur began with a vision of ambition to transform the medical industry, yet, quickly falls due to a diminished ethical and moral compass and false collected data. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is a starting point for interesting discussions about how our technology, knowledge, and experience shape what we create. The story of Theranos highlights not just those who make poor decisions, but also the whistleblowers who show courage in the face of retaliation. This story highlights ethics, leadership, and entrepreneurial mindset, which are core to the Michigan Engineering experience.
Each student will be provided with a copy of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. Books will be shipped during the month of June to students’ permanent addresses. International students will receive an e-book unless a hard copy was requested. Faculty and staff can also request a copy of the book using this form.