Review | Best of NonFiction: Bad Blood

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Description Summary |  A riveting unreal tale that is more like a Hollywood thriller movie than non fiction. A total showstopper.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Summary (Goodreads) | (Skip to Review)

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. 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 $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

In Bad Blood, John Carreyrou tells the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.



That was one hell of a ride. There are three things I need to say about this book:

  1. This is probably the best non fiction novel I’ve ever read.
  2. This is easily one of my top 10 reads this year.
  3. This book might make it into my favorites shelf.

This is a book you don’t want to read if you want to lose your faith in humanity (again).

Her ambition was voracious and it brooked no interference. If there was collateral damage on her way to riches and fame, so be it.”

There are no other words for it: it is absolutely disgusting what Holmes and her associates did to make some money.


Before reading the book, I had an initial bias in the sense that I was genuinely interested and I love nonfiction books about corporate scandals and all kinds of business crime.

That being said, after reading it, I think regardless if you’re not really a fan of this genre or are total sucker for it, you MUST take a chance on Bad Blood. The story is too fascinating, and the way Carreyrou built up the timelines is fantastic. You’re never lost and even if you’re following little trails of stories within, it always comes back to Theranos’s big story. I appreciate that because it cuts down on unnecessary chapters and provides a greater perspective on how big and reaching this is.


John Carreyrou has this astounding ability to make all the mundane tellings of investigations sound like your next Netflix true crime documentary. It is this talent in immersive writing that made the book highly engrossing, any relevant quotes or information where integrated within the story as if you’re reading a fiction novel. I was immediately hooked from that first chapter and it was with sickening fascination that I read about Theranos’s spiral and downfall.

I’ll end this review with an RIP to Ian Gibbons, it such a shame what happened to him and he deserved way more than he got credit for. He deserves to be remembered as much as Elizabeth’s notoriety.

Do I recommend? A solid yes.


Published by jawahirthebookworm

Hello I’m Jawahir the bookworm, a lost twenty-something year old bookish blogger who enjoys her books with a cup of strong coffee; milk no sugar no cream.

14 thoughts on “Review | Best of NonFiction: Bad Blood

  1. You make this book sound great! I find white collar crime fascinating (especially how much goes unpunished), although I can’t say I’ve heard of this fraud. I sincerely hope the perpetrators went to jail for a long time. I’ll definitely be adding it to my tbr.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never tire of white collar crime, it’s as you said so fascinating and baffling at the same time. Baffling in the sense, so many people actively choose to disregard the red flags for capital in a simple sense. The founder’s trial is set to start on March 9, so who knows!? I do hope that some form of fair punishment is declared.

      I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I understand it, large scale white collar crime isn’t investigated much because it is difficult and expensive, and there is a lack of political appetite for it. Financial regulators don’t have the incentives or the power to hold them to account. A sorry state for the world, but it pays to have money. Let’s hope that this trial turns out differently.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yes a lot of external factors come into play, especially political and economical ones. I think scandals on this big of scale causes harm not only to the corporation but ripples itself to have consequences on the economy, the stock market, the financial system, and the list goes on and on. It is not a surprise then to see so many people and institutions try and hide them.

        I’m hoping also this trial turns out differently but the pessimist side of me realizes that there’s a fat chance that something of significance is coming out of this (as usual with these crimes…*says sarcastically).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve thought about this a bit in the past, and I wonder if significantly raising jail times for white collar crime would be both possible and effective. Given the number of lives they potentially ruin, you’d think it would be correct morally. It also feels like it could restore some trust in the political system if it truly feels like no-one is above the law, as well as act as a deterrent. I’d be interested to hear what flaws you might have spotted with this plan, or if you just think that because it goes against the interests of big corporations, it can’t happen.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Since I’m not a U.S. citizen I don’t really know how the U.S. justice system works, but generally it would be moral to give these individuals a higher sentence. But there are flaws there: These individuals can hire the best defense lawyers so essentially they can get away with a much less severe punishment. Corporations are entities and these are certified official “persons” so the individual or CEO who committed the crime may not even face direct consequences and instead it falls onto the entity and the entity is trialed as an “individual”. Furthermore if you look at the these beauqratic organizations are built, they’re goal oriented with the aim of increasing profit or expand power, nothing else. This creates a certain mentality that ethics is not important as long as you make enough money.

        So I think if any change would happen, it would need for us to revise our financial regulations and the corporate scene (pushing forward different values, re examine the structure of these organizations, etc.). I read this very interesting article where the author expresses why he doesn’t think this type of crime doesn’t get punished:

        I know this is a lengthy reply so sorry if you had to read too much!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Don’t worry about the length of the comment, as I’m happy to read size if it’s got something interesting to say.

        I’m not a US citizen either, but I would imagine that cracking down on financial crime could be applied to the UK (where I live), or anywhere else for that matter. Although you’re definitely right about the whole system being set up in a way to protect them. The idea of having to take corporations to court, and not the individuals responsible for the corporation’s decisions just seems so flawed to me. Maybe there is a perfectly good reason that I’ve overlooked.

        The article was very interesting. One thing that I took from the ending is whether it is actually possible to change the system. Would the electorate have the appetite for reform if it was offered to them? Could they be encourage to grow that appetite? I’m honestly not sure what the answer is. The article claims that we are passive, and just assume that the elite have our best interests at heart, which clearly isn’t true. I guess it comes back to a fundamental flaw in democracy: it only works well when people care, and actively work to stay informed. I have no idea how to fix that, even though I think about it extensively.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Sorry I haven’t replied back as fast! The flawed identity of corporations and how they work are a fundamental reason to why certain interests (in specific the power elite among others) are prioritized.

        What I liked about the article is that it helped me understand more about the mentality of these people but I do agree that there is no way to leave things as it is and expect better results. Democracy looks great on paper but unfortunately reality is far different from that.

        I just read an update on the case and it seems that the trial is most likely to be delayed yet again to August (but nothing official yet), if convicted they might face up to 20 years in federal prison but honestly who knows if they’ll spend a fraction of that time or worse none at all.


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