In the fall of 2015, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on its front page which effectively set the biotechnology world and the insular Silicon Valley scene on fire. Theranos, a much hailed start-up which was disrupting the world of healthcare and led by a visionary young woman, was a fraud, the story claimed.
To most people, the article amounted to nothing short of blasphemy. To stain the reputation of Elizabeth Holmes and her company, valued at $10 billion, was to align oneself against progress, and it was initially seen as the backward thinking that was prevalent in mainstream, non-Silicon Valley society. Here was the next Steve Jobs, right down to the ridiculous black turtleneck, being tarnished much in the manner Galileo was sabotaged by the Catholic Church for simply telling the truth.
The backlash from Theranos had followed similar lines of argument. The story was completely made up, and the firm had rebuttals on hand which would disprove every single line of the story. The reporter who broke the story, John Carreyrou, had his name dragged through the mud and the journal was buried with threats of lawsuits from the powerful law firm representing Theranos. However, despite the threats and vows to set things right, there was simply too much smoke around Theranos. It seemed as if the Valley had finally removed its blinders and began taking a look at facts. The facts were damning: Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes were frauds. As of now, Holmes and her crony are facing multiple charges of fraud and are battling to stave off jail time.
Most stories consist of all sorts of characters - good, bad, endearing, and hateful. This story is not like that. Almost every person you will listen about in this book is a fraud or behaves in an extremely stupid manner even when confronted with facts. There are no winners in this, just victims and the sociopathic perpetrators of fraud who still have the gall to go around behaving as if they are visionaries.