I happen to be an entrepreneur myself and in a strange way empathized with Elizabeth Holmes’s journey from height of fame to criminal soon to be behind bars. Start-up founders must be delusional to even attempt to start new companies against established competitors, building technology team from scratch and selling your vision to customers, investors and public at large. It is an impossible task and you need one level of craziness to be able to do it.
Once, you are in this crazy journey - it gets immensely difficult to figure out right from wrong. Not that it justifies any of the crimes - but it is helpful to understand the pressure founders are always in. This book beautiful tracks this journey and provides viewpoint of many of Theranos early employees and associates and would be extremely insightful for every start-up founder, employee and even customers.
What is alarming is how easy was it for some of the most reputed investors, politicians and even military generals to fall for the grand vision and miss the ground all together. Their all-star board included - Henry Kissinger, George Schultz and James Mattis; Holmes herself was close to Clinton and Obamas and was Silicon Valley star favourite of VCs, media and magazines. This should help readers temper the regard they have for public intellectuals as everyone is human - equally prone to errors and poor judgments.
Apart from being a fair warning about the extremes of Silicon Valley - this also is an engaging crime thriller - where you cannot help but turn page after page to learn how it all ends. No wonder this is soon turning into a Hollywood movie directed by Adam McKay director of 'The Big Short' with Jennifer Lawrence playing Holmes
This book is a much-needed balance in times where disruption is itself the end. One of the best books of 2018.