This is the fascinating tale of one of the most outrageous scams in Silicon Valley – and the most outrageous part is that it is true! It is the story of Elizabeth Holmes and her startup, Theranos. Elizabeth Holmes started out at Stamford, as an engineering student, but impatient to get started earning her first millions, she quickly decided to drop out and start her own company. She had in mind that because she had a fear of needles, she would develop a laboratory testing device that could run multiple tests on a small drop of blood from a finger stick specimen, taken by a device that would be relatively painless. However, what began as a good idea, ballooned into a project that because of blind arrogance, deaf ears to any guidance or advice, paranoia, and pure irrational greed, broke laws and broke lives and caused irreparable harm to so many. And it appears that, like most narcissists, Elizabeth Holmes was completely unrepentant, seeing herself as the victim.
What is wonderful about this story is that it is told by the investigative reporter who broke the story for the Wall Street Journal, which gives both credibility and an insider’s perspective. Careyou writes with vivid detail, laying out the gradual development of the background on Elizabeth Holmes, how she came to start the company, and how she ruled it, along with her henchman (and apparent lover) Sunny Balwani, with an iron fist, firing immediately anyone who disagreed with anything she said or did (even if they were looking out for her benefit and the welfare of the company). He tracks her ascent to stardom, and it was nothing short of that. People worshipped her – just as she worshipped Steve Jobs and took on much of his persona, even adopting his notorious black turtlenecks and deeper voice. And because she had their attention, she was able to convince so many to invest in her dream. Unfortunately, that is all it was. She could not make it a reality, and because she could not face this, she faked it and lied to the world that it was.
This is a tragic story of how greed and ego took precedence over peoples’ health and welfare, and lawyers, Silicon Valley giants, politicians, and others bought right into it, swindled by a young, polished liar. And, as Careyou acknowledges, the true heroes of the story are those who stood up to her and her pit bull lawyers and despite being tormented and hounded, told the public the truth. It is because of these brave people that these crackpot lab testing facilities were not expanded and put into more locations throughout the country and led to hurt even more individuals than they already did.
The details will just astound you!