Edge of the Crowd Book Club– March: Bad Blood

Uncover the rise and decline of Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes in March's non-fiction book club pick.


This month's non-fiction book for theEdge of the Crowd'sBook Club is John Carreyrou's Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup.

Bad Blood details the rise and fall of Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Carreyrou.

Theranos was a blood-testing startup that claimed to have created a device that was able to perform extensive testing on a single drop of the patient's blood.

Holmes was able to raise more than $700 million USD from venture capitalists and private investors including media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump's former secretary of education Betsy DeVos.

Theranos subsequently entered a partnership with American pharmacy and retail chain Walgreens to offer affordable and needle-free in-store blood tests.

At its peak in 2013 and 2014, Theranos received a $10 billion USD valuation and had a board of directors consisting of numerous former US secretaries of state and senators.

Holmes received widespread acclaim, becoming one ofTime's 100 most influential people,Forbes's youngest female billionaires,Fortune's40 under 40 andGlamour'sWoman of the Year.

She also developed a cult of personality, becoming known for her deep baritone voice that she employed during public appearances and her black turtlenecks - a nod to her admiration of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

In 2015, Carreyrou published series of articles in theWall Street Journalthat questioned the validity of Theranos' technology and business practices.

Carreyrou's reporting, alongside the research conducted by medical professors John Ioannidis and Eleftherios Diamandis helped expose the fraudulent practices employed by Theranos.

It was revealed that Theranos did not have a consistently working prototype of their blood-testing machines and that they had instead been using traditional blood testing machines and that it was medically unviable to glean hundreds of tests worth of information from such a small volume of blood retrieved from the fingertip.

The company also employed a wide range of tactics to mislead investors, government officials and the Food and Drug Administration about its technology, including creating a fake lab and going to extreme lengths to conceal any indication that their technology was faulty.

Theranos ceased operations in late 2018.

In January 2022, Holmes was found guilty of defrauding investors, but not guilty of defrauding patients. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 26 2022, in which she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 USD plus restitution.

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We have chosen Bad Blood as our March selection in time for the release of the 8-part miniseriesThe Dropouton Hulu, starring Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes.

The miniseries is adapted from the eponymous podcast, which took a deep dive into Elizabeth Holmes and featured interviews with former employees, investors and patients.

The book was published in 2018 and can be purchased at all major bookstores.

To read about March's fiction selectionclick here.