I enjoyed this book immensely, and appreciated the factual and as unbiased as possible approach the author took, as his investigation of Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos eventually made him a part of the story once Holmes began to view the journalist as a threat. Carreyrou’s level headed reporting was a necessity given Holmes’ view of him as someone with a vendetta against her personally, and he admirably sticks to what can be factually confirmed, making allowances any time he draws a conclusion that cannot be supported 100%.
But man oh man, is this a story that calls for some passion. Because even with the restraint Carreyrou shows here, this is a story he’s upset about and we should be too. Holmes’ desire to make herself into a self-made success in biotechnology involved cutting corners and suppressing doubters. In biotech. Designed to diagnose medical conditions. In. Actual. Patients. The level of fraud as its own bad act is awful enough before Carreyrou describes the harm it was allowed to inflict on patients – known faulty tests canceled international travel plans for one patient, incurred unneeded testing and inpatient hospital stays with high price tags for another, and in one awful case, a pregnant woman nearly had her thyroid medication changed to a dose that would have been potentially harmful to her fetus.
I wanted more of that kind of story, and felt the book spent too much time on the revolving door of employees who were difficult to keep track of as Holmes fired them faster than readers could get to know them.
This was a horrifying look at someone who wanted to change the world without having the knowledge to do it safely, solely for their own aggrandizement, but also a “how the hell does this happen?!” look at how money and flash can bypass safety. I’m excited to watch the documentary in theranos, but this is still a solid recommend.