Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

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Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
Bad Blood (John Carreyrou).png
AuthorJohn Carreyrou
PublishedMay 21, 2018
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
LC ClassHD9995.H423 U627 2018

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup is a nonfiction book by journalist John Carreyrou, released May 21, 2018. It covers the rise and fall of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup headed by Elizabeth Holmes.[1] The book received critical acclaim, winning the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.

In 2016, a film adaptation was announced, to star Jennifer Lawrence, to be written by Vanessa Taylor and to be directed by Adam McKay.[2]


In late 2015, Carreyrou began a series of investigative articles on Theranos, published in The Wall Street Journal on the blood-testing startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes. The articles questioned the company's claim to be able to run a wide range of lab tests from a tiny sample of blood from a finger prick.[3][4][5] In May 2018 Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup was published by Knopf.

In 2021, Carreyrou released a podcast called "Bad Blood: The Final Chapter" covering the trial of Elizabeth Holmes.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

While Roger Lowenstein from The New York Times conceded that "Carreyrou's presentation has a few minor flaws"—such as an excessive number of characters and occasional reliance on stereotypes—he concluded that "such blemishes in no way detract from the power of Bad Blood", and that "the author compellingly relates how he got involved" and "is admirably frank about his craft". He added, "The author's description of Holmes as a manic leader who turned coolly hostile when challenged is ripe material for a psychologist; Carreyrou wisely lets the evidence speak for itself."[1] Kevin Nguyen with GQ magazine likewise called "Carreyrou’s reporting ... exhaustive, including interviews with more than 150 people", and said "the book stumbles a bit in its third act, when Carreyrou introduces himself and how he broke the story". However, he continued by saying that "these are small issues in a book that speaks volumes to tech at large", and that, "Bad Blood is a satisfying read for anyone who wants a book full of salacious startupenfreude."[7]

Charles Harry with the Library Journal said "Carreyrou's clearly written and accessible work can be compared to another outstanding business exposé, James B. Stewart’s Den of Thieves," and "highly recommended for all collections".[8] Danny Crichton, with TechCrunch, said "Carreyrou's tenacious and intrepid reporting at The Wall Street Journal would ultimately expose one of the largest frauds ever perpetrated in Silicon Valley ... And yet, what I found in the book was not all that thrilling or shocking, but rather astonishingly pedestrian." He explained, "Carreyrou's laconic WSJ tone, with its 'just the facts' attitude ... is punctuated only occasionally by brief interludes on the motivations and psychology of its characters", and that it "lacks the sort of verve that makes business thrillers like Barbarians at the Gate or Red Notice so engaging".[9]

Bill Gates said: "Bad Blood tackles some serious ethical questions, but it is ultimately a thriller with a tragic ending. It's a fun read full of bizarre details that will make you gasp out loud."[10]

The book was included on end-of-year lists, including the New York Post's list of the 28 most unforgettable books of 2018,[11] NPR's Guide To 2018's Great Reads,[12] and The New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2018.[13] The book also won the 2018 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award.[14][15]




  1. ^ a b Lowenstein, Roger (21 May 2018). "'Bad Blood' Review: How One Company Scammed Silicon Valley. And How It Got Caught". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (June 23, 2016). "Legendary Wins Bidding War for Jennifer Lawrence Movie 'Bad Blood'". Variety. Archived from the original on 2016-06-25. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ Stewart, James B. (Oct 29, 2015). "The Narrative Frays for Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes". The New York Times. Retrieved Jan 31, 2016.
  4. ^ Carreyrou, John (Oct 16, 2015). "Hot Startup Theranos Has Struggled With Its Blood-Test Technology". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved Jan 31, 2016.
  5. ^ Carreyrou, John (December 27, 2015). "At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  6. ^ Khorram, Yasmin (2021-07-09). "Reporter who broke Theranos scandal predicts outcome of Elizabeth Holmes trial". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-07-09.
  7. ^ Nguyen, Kevin (May 21, 2018). "'Bad Blood' Exposes the Biggest Scam in Silicon Valley". GQ. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  8. ^ Harry, Charles (June 15, 2018). "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup". Library Journal. 143 (11): 78–83.
  9. ^ Crichton, Danny (16 September 2018). "In Bad Blood, a pedestrian tale of heuristics and lies". TechCrunch. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  10. ^ Gates, Bill (December 3, 2018). "I couldn't put down this thriller with a tragic ending". Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  11. ^ Cahalan, Susannah; Dawson, Mackenzie (14 December 2018). "The 28 most unforgettable books of 2018". New York Post. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  12. ^ Baker, Elizabeth (November 27, 2018). "NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2018's Great Reads". NPR. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  13. ^ "The NYTimes Notable Nonfiction Books of 2018". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  14. ^ Andrew Hill (November 12, 2018). "'Bad Blood' wins the FT and McKinsey Business Book of 2018". Financial Times. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "Bad Blood". Book Marks. Retrieved November 10, 2018.

Works cited[edit]