Bad Blood Secret And Lies Review:

  • Bad Blood is the real be-all end-all of Theranos information…. Bad Blood is wild
  • You will not want to put this riveting, masterfully reported book down
  • The definitive account of Theranos’s downfall, detailing its motley crew of executives, legal knife fights, dramatic PR stunts, and skullduggery
  • A great and at times almost unbelievable story of scandalous fraud, surveillance, and legal intimidation at the highest levels of American corporate power

Bad Blood Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup Summary


November 17, 2006

Elizabeth Holmes, Theranos’s twenty-twoyear-old founder, had flown to Switzerland

And shown off the system’s capabilities to executives at Novartis, the European drug giant.

Elizabeth had asked him to put together some financial projections she could show investors.

The first set of numbers he’d come up with hadn’t been to her liking, so he’d revised them upward

Chapter One

A Purposeful Life

When she was nine or ten, one of her relatives asked her at a family

gathering the question every boy and girl is asked sooner or later:

 “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

Without skipping a beat, Elizabeth replied, “I want to be a billionaire.”

“Wouldn’t you rather be president?” the relative asked.

“No, the president will marry me because I’ll have a billion dollars.”

Chapter Two

The Gluebot

Emond Ku interviewed with Elizabeth Holmes in early 2006 and

was instantly captivated by the vision she unspooled before him.

She described a world in which drugs would be minutely

tailored to individuals thanks to Theranos’s blood-monitoring technology.

Elizabeth cited the fact that an estimated one hundred thousand

Americans died each year from adverse drug reactions.

Theranos would eliminate all those deaths, she said. It would quite literally save lives.

Chapter 3

Apple Envy

In the summer of 2007, she took her admiration for Apple a

step further by recruiting several of its employees to Theranos.

One of them was Ana Arriola, a product designer who’d worked on the iPhone.

Chapter 4

Goodbye East Paly

In early 2008, Theranos moved to a new building on Hillview

Avenue in Palo Alto. It was the Silicon Valley equivalent of

moving from the South Bronx to Midtown Manhattan

Aaron felt someone needed to tell Elizabeth to pump the

brakes and to stop pushing to commercialize a product

that they were still trying to get to work

Aaron agreed that it was time for him to go.

To his surprise, Elizabeth tried to convince him to stay.

Chapter Five

The Childhood Neighbour

While Elizabeth was busy building Theranos, an old family

acquaintance was taking an interest in what she was doing from afar.

His name was Richard Fuisz. He was an entrepreneur–cum–

medical inventor with a big ego and a colorful Background

Shit happened…

Elizabeth got straight to the point. She wanted to know if

McDermott would agree to represent Theranos against Richard Fuisz.

Chapter SIX


Sunny was a force of nature, and not in a good way.

Though only about five foot five and portly, he made up

for his diminutive stature with an Aggressive,

in-your-face management style. His thick eyebrows and

Almond-shaped eyes, set above a mouth that drooped

at the edges and a square chin, projected an air of menace.

He was haughty and demeaning toward employees,

barking orders and dressing people down

Chapter Seven

Dr. J

Dr. J’s real name was Jay Rosan and he was in fact a doctor,

though he had spent most of his career working for big corporations.

It wasn’t just the business proposition that appealed to

Dr. J. A health nut who carefully watched his diet, rarely drank alcohol,

And was fanatical about getting a swim in every day,

he was passionate about empowering people to live healthier lives.

Dr. J was a staunch and tireless advocate for Theranos.

If anything, he thought Walgreens was moving too slowly.

Chapter 8

The Mini Lab

Elizabeth needed a new device, one that could perform more

than just one class of test. In November 2010,

she hired a young engineer named Kent Frankovich

and put him in charge of designing it.

Kent had just obtained a master’s degree in

mechanical engineering from Stanford.

SUNNY WAS a tyrant. He fired people so often that it gave

rise to a little routine in the warehouse downstairs.

Chapter Nine

The Wellness Play

Safeway’s business was doing poorly.

The supermarket chain had just announced a

6 percent drop in its profits for the last three months of 2011,

a disappointing performance its longtime CEO

Steve Burd was struggling to explain to the dozen analysts

who had dialled in to the company’s quarterly earnings call

One of them, Ed Kelly from the Swiss bank Credit Suisse,

was gently needling Burd for using stock buybacks to mask the bad results.

Chapter Ten

Who is LTC Shoe Maker?

Lieutenant Colonel David Shoemaker had been politely

listening to the confident young woman seated at the head

of the conference table explain how her company intended to operate

When, fifteen minutes in, he couldn’t hold his tongue anymore.

“Your regulatory structure is not going to fly,” he said, interrupting her.

Elizabeth shot an annoyed look at the bespectacled officer

in army fatigues as he enumerated the various regulations

he thought the approach she’d described fell afoul of.

This was not what she wanted to hear.

Chapter Eleven

Lighting a Fuisz

When Richard Fuisz opened the door, a process

server tried to hand him a stack of legal papers.

“I’m here to serve a lawsuit on Fuisz Technologies,” the man said.

Fuisz told him he couldn’t accept service because the company,

Though it bore his name, was no longer his.

He had sold it more than a decade earlier.

It was now part of Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Chapter 12

Ian Gibbons

Ian Gibbons was the first experienced scientist Elizabeth

had hired after launching Theranos. He came

recommended by her Stanford mentor, Channing Robertson.

Ian and Robertson had met at Biotrack in the 1980s,

where they had invented and patented a

new mechanism to dilute and mix liquid samples.

From 2005 to 2010, Ian led Theranos’s chemistry

work alongside Gary Frenzel. Ian, who had joined t

he startup first, was initially senior to Gary.

But Elizabeth soon inverted their roles because

Gary had better people skills, which made him a smoother manager.

Chapter Thirteen


Hiring Schoeller had been the idea of Patrick O’Neill,

the creative director of advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day’s Los Angeles office.

Chiat\Day was working on a secret marketing campaign for Theranos.

The assignment ranged from creating a brand identity to

building a new website and a smartphone app for the company

ahead of the commercial launch of its blood-testing

services in Walgreens and Safeway stores

Chapter Fourteen

Going Live

This was the Theranos sample collection device.

Its tip collected the blood and transferred it to two

little engines at the rocket’s base. The engines weren’t

really engines: they were nanotainers.

To complete the transfer, you pushed the nanotainers

into the belly of the plastic rocket like a plunger.

The movement created a vacuum that sucked the

blood into them. Or at least that was the idea.

But in this instance, things didn’t go quite as planned.

When the technician pushed the tiny twin tubes into the device,

there was a loud pop and blood splattered everywhere.

One of the nanotainers had just exploded.

Elizabeth looked unfazed. “OK, let’s try that again,” she said calmly.

Chapter Fifteen


Elizabeth had engineered the piece, which was published

in the Saturday, September 7, 2013, edition of the Journal,

to coincide with the commercial launch of Theranos’s blood-testing services.

A press release was due to go out first thing

Monday morning announcing the opening of

the first Theranos wellness center in a Walgreens

store in Palo Alto and plans for a subsequent nationwide expansion of the partnership.

Chapter Sixteen

The Grandson

Tyler Shultz listened to an emotional speech Elizabeth was giving.

She was talking about her uncle’s premature death from

cancer and how an early warning from Theranos’s

blood tests could have prevented it.

That was what she had spent the past ten years tirelessly

working toward, she said teary-eyed, her voice catching:

a world in which no one would have to say goodbye to

a loved one too soon. Tyler found the message deeply inspiring.

He had started working at Theranos less than a week earlier,

after graduating from Stanford the previous spring and

taking the summer off to backpack around Europe.

Chapter Seventeen


Initially determined to fight the lawsuit to the bitter end,

Richard and Joe were tired and battered. The trial had started a few days earlier at

The federal courthouse down the street and the extent to

which they were outgunned had fully dawned on them.

Unhappy with their lawyers and their mounting legal costs,

they had gone “pro se” several months earlier

Chapter Eighteen

The Hippocratic Oath

Alan scanned the costumed crowd and caught sight of Elizabeth.

She was wearing a long velvet dress with gold trim and a big

upright collar, and her blond hair was done up in an elaborate bun.

The irony of her Queen Elizabeth attire wasn’t lost on him.

With a net worth that Forbes had just estimated at $4.5 billion

in its October 20, 2014, issue, she had become Silicon Valley royalty.

Elizabeth loved to throw company parties. And none more so

than the one she organized every year for Halloween.

It was a Theranos tradition for which no expense was spared.

The company’s senior executives all played along.

Chapter Nineteen

Adam asked if I’d read a recent feature in The New Yorker about a

Silicon Valley prodigy named Elizabeth Holmes and her company,

Theranos. As it turned out, I had. I subscribed to the magazine and

often read it on the subway to and from work.

Now that he mentioned it, there were some things I’d read in that

article that I’d found suspect. The lack of any peer-reviewed data

to back up the company’s scientific claims was one of them.

I’d reported about health-care issues for the better part of a

decade and couldn’t think of any serious advances in

medicine that hadn’t been subject to peer review

Chapter Twenty

The Ambush

“Have you been speaking to an investigative journalist about Theranos?”

his father asked accusingly.

“Yes,” Tyler responded.

“Are you kidding me? How stupid could you be? Well, they know.”

Tyler learned that his grandfather had just called to say that

Theranos was aware he was in contact with a Wall Street Journal reporter.

Chapter Twenty One

Trade Secrets

Boies sent the Journal a second letter.

Unlike the first one, which was just two pages long,

this one ran twenty-three pages and explicitly threatened a

lawsuit if we published a story that defamed

Theranos or disclosed any of its trade secrets.

The early days of July 2015 brought two pieces of good news for Theranos.

The first was that the FDA had approved the company’s

proprietary finger-stick test for HSV-1, one of two strains of herpes virus.

The second was that a new law Arizona had passed allowing its

citizens to get their blood tested without a doctor’s order—

a bill Theranos had practically written itself and heavily lobbied for—was about to go into effect.

Chapter Twenty Three

Damage Control

In March, a month after I had started digging into the company,

Theranos had closed another round of funding.

Unbeknownst to me, the lead investor was Rupert Murdoch,

the Australian-born media mogul who controlled

the Journal’s parent company, News Corporation.

Of the more than $430 million Theranos had raised in this last round,

$125 million had come from Murdoch.

That made him the company’s biggest investor.

Chapter Twenty Four

The Empress Has No Clothes

The overseer of clinical laboratories in the United States had

not only confirmed that there were significant problems with

Theranos’s blood tests, it had deemed the problems

grave enough to put patients in immediate danger.

The number of test results Theranos voided or corrected in

California and Arizona eventually reached nearly 1 million.

The harm done to patients from all those faulty tests is hard to determine.

One thing is certain: the chances that people would have died from

missed diagnoses or wrong medical treatments would have risen

exponentially if the company had expanded its blood-testing

services to Walgreens’s 8,134 other U.S. stores

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