Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

  • Read this even if you watched the documentary. Thank me later.
  • Elizabeth was an amazing salesperson who idolized Jobs way too much. It continues to surprise how much we humans, associate oratory skills with success. Voting decisions, investment decisions, hiring decisions are to name just a handful of decisions with serious impact that are heavily biased by beneficiary's speaking skills. Probably there lies an opportunity to make orator based decisions void using technology? (Note to self - revisit later)
  • There are a lot of heavily biased old men who blindly followed Elizabeth and played blind eye to many initial warnings. The true heroes of the story are the employees who quit, who faced mental stress and the whistle blowers who pushed the story forward despite a unicorn with billions attacking them.

Some notes

  • Luck plays a huge role in extreme success and failures
  • "When you strike at the king/queen, you must kill" - Elizabeth Holmes was called to a board meeting and asked to wait outside while the board decided on company's future. They reached a consensus - remove Elizabeth as the CEO. They felt she was inexperienced and young (and- extremely overstated sales projections for a 'medical' product that is still in development). They called her in to convey the decision but something strange happened. She convinced them to change their minds and remained as the CEO. She was 24 years then. The employees who reported her to the board were fired.
  • Mentors might be overrated? ****Don Lucas, who mentored Larry Ellison (Co-founder and CTO of Oracle), was also the mentor to Elizabeth (and often didn't pay heed to Devil's advocates until it's too late).
  • Don't make a worthy enemy willingly- ****A very interesting read on how far someone can hold a grudge - Fuisz vs Loucks. Entire episode of Fuisz vs Elizabeth was a gripping read.
  • If you can build. and can sell. Nothing can stop you. ****Elizabeth did the selling part very very well.
  • You hire a smart person, they bring in 2 more. You hire one bad apple, they bring 10 more. Elizabeth hired her brother (who was apparently unfit). Her brother brought in four more of his friends into the company. Collectively called "Frat pack" in the company.


  • Someone should put this book in the hands of Aaron Sorkin. This will make for one hell of a thriller to watch

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