Bad Blood
John Carreyrou
Contributed by Andrea Barraza

Historical Context

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is a book written by John Carreyrou and published in May 2018. The story presents the work of a journalist who thought outside the box and saw past publishing mediocre articles to document a major scandal. Through his work, Carreyrou managed to reveal the fraudulent activities of the multi-billion biotech company named Theranos. The book is filled with many inside stories which present the illegal and deceptive dealings of Theranos as well as the stressful life the journalist had to endure during that period of time when the company’s CEO and the lawyers were continuously threatening him.

Elizabeth Holmes' massive rise to fame as the CEO of Theranos and as one of the first female pioneers in biotech pitching her business to Silicon Valley investors initially won her widespread acclaim. She was heralded for her innovation. Her company sold shares which were valued at an unprecedented sum of over $9 billion. Even so, the only problem her company had was the fact that neither of the so-called innovations really worked.

The book is divided into 24 chapters and it actually follows the rise and fall of this mega-company. Over 150 people were interviewed in order to confirm the validity of this information and a majority of them were Theranos employees. As a matter of journalistic integrity and transparency, the author gave chances to everyone who was involved in promoting and marketing this defective product to justify their actions and comments. However, the majority of these individuals, especially those with vested interests, declined to cooperate.

The book is dedicated to all the readers who want to find out what really happened behind the closed doors of this controversial biotech startup and company, drawing parallels to previous cases of sprawling, unchecked corporate fraud such as the infamous Enron scandal.

Author’s Biography

John Carreyrou is an investigative journalist who is acclaimed for his works in the Wall Street Journal and who was awarded twice with a Pulitzer Prize. He is a Duke University graduate where he studied political science which helped him achieve his dream of becoming a journalist. He initially worked as a journalist for the Dow Jones Newswires and after that for the Wall Street Journal.

The first Pulitzer Carreyrou received was in 2003 for an explanatory report shared with other co-workers of the Wall Street Journal and which focused on different corporate scandals in the United States. He co-wrote one of the articles together with Martin Peers regarding the chairman of Vivendi Universal, Jean Marie Messier, who managed to keep the cash crises of the company hidden for a long period of time.

The second Pulitzer he received was in 2015 for his investigative piece known as "Medicare Unmasked,” which ultimately lead to the responsibility of the American government to release Medicare information that was kept classified. Through this data, multiple cases of abuse that lead to taxpayers’ loss were found.

Mr. Carreyrou always had a passion for medicine and because of that he also became the bureau chief of Health and Science in New York for the Wall Street Journal. Because of this, we can see multiple articles written by him and which focuses on the medical industry.

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