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Publisher's Summary

From the hero whistleblower of the infamous Theranos scam, Thicker than Water is a look at never-before-revealed details behind closed doors at the company, revealing a cautionary tale of corporate bullying, gaslighting, ego, and wealth running amok in Silicon Valley.

Tyler Shultz had been in the workforce for less than a year when he emailed Elizabeth Holmes, his employer and the CEO and founder of Theranos, with concerns that the company’s lab practices were faulty, ignored quality control, and were potentially dangerous to patients. The COO fired back with a dismissive and insulting email, to which Tyler replied: “Consider this my two weeks’ notice.”

From there, his life spun out of control at the hand of Elizabeth, her team of high-powered lawyers, and the patriarch of Tyler’s own family George Shultz - one of America’s most prominent statesmen - who sat among the top of the Theranos board of directors. And yet, Tyler forged on. To protect his own conscience, the honor and reputation of his grandfather, and the health of patients worldwide.

Thicker than Water is Tyler’s as-told-to story - a harrowing and heartbreaking roller coaster of biomedical drama, family intrigue, and redemption - that will ultimately make you feel as though you are at a dinner party, seated next to a brilliant friend with one hell of a story. 

Selected audio clips are courtesy of Bloomberg.

©2020 Audible Originals LLC. (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

About the Creator and Performer

Tyler Shultz is the CEO and co-founder of Flux Biosciences, Inc., a bay-area start-up that aims to bring medical grade diagnostics into the homes of consumers. In 2017, he was named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" Health Care list. He holds a degree in Biology from Stanford. After Shultz blew the whistle at Theranos, he became a source for a series of articles in The Wall Street Journal exposing the company’s dubious blood-testing practices. He was subsequently featured in the The New York Times-bestselling book Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, as well as Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary The Inventor.

Our favorite moments from Thicker Than Water

"I had no idea what I was getting myself into."
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"I was totally captivated..."
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"There were hardly any red flags when I was an intern."
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  • Thicker than Water
  • "I had no idea what I was getting myself into."
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  • "I was totally captivated..."
  • Thicker than Water
  • "There were hardly any red flags when I was an intern."

What listeners say about Thicker than Water

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A Beautiful Soul

Hope his story gives the next bully pause and the next whistleblower strength. Elizabeth has been telling her story for over a decade, although painful I'm glad Tyler has a platform to tell the truth in his own words. Tyler had consistently proved himself to be the best man in the room regardless of personal risk. Disclaimer: We're his parents.

258 people found this helpful

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Gripping and tragic

I recommend "Bad Blood" to anyone who will listen. It is one of the best corporate true crime books I've ever heard. "Thicker than Water" is the perfect companion piece. There is a unique level to the tragedy of hearing this in the first person. More so to hearing what damage the company is doing to his family and the potential damage it could do to the otherwise stellar legacy of his grandfather who doesn't have many more years ahead of him. I nearly finished this in one sitting. It was hard to put down.

50 people found this helpful

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I ❤️Tyler Schultz

What a fine person Tyler is. He has true character. I watched everything I could find on YouTube (after listening to the dropout) about him and Erica. I sensed there was much more nuance to his story, and things he’s too classy to say about his own grandfather without the proper context. lo and behold, he tells the story here in-depth, all his feelings that were put through a mental test of endurance. I appreciate that he mentions Ian Gibbons, and admits that suicide crossed his mind, too. And how unfairly rigged the legal system is. He exposes all the players for what they truly are by staying true to himself. His parents must be proud. He has faced true evil and prevailed. The Podcast is really well done, too. Thank you audible, Carrie, Rachel and Abbey. Great job.

36 people found this helpful

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Riveting

I loved it! One of the best audio books I ever heard and definitely the best free audio book I ever heard!
I saw a documentary on the subject before and this just fleshed it all out.
Amazing, 5 out of 5!

28 people found this helpful

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A compelling story told by someone who was there.

As an Engineer, I enjoyed hearing this story from the perspective of a professional who actually worked there. I am very glad that I never had bosses like his! My managers and co-workers remained grounded in reality at all times. Tyler was not so lucky.

20 people found this helpful

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Profile in Courage

I appreciated listening to Tyler Shulz's telling of the Bad Blood story from his perspective. I listened to it straight through as I could not stop! Thank you, Tyler Shulz, for what you did and for telling us about it in such an unflinching manner.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Mo
  • 08-07-20

Clear and easy to understand

The editors wisely chose to let Tyler Shultz tell his own story. It's just his voice recounting events in mostly chronological order (at times with a soft music background). In fact, the brief free sample that audible plays before we buy the book includes the only part of the recording where the piece excerpts other interviews.

The story is compelling and it doesn't feel as though the narrator is engaging in self promotion. He doesn't seem to be trying to portray himself as a hero and he doesn't shy away from criticism of his own family (when discussing the role of his grandfather).

It's an important story so I'm glad to have listened but I do think that the piece could have been a little shorter without sacrificing significant content.

16 people found this helpful

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Excellent - Life of a Whistleblower

Been there, doing that for going on eight years now.

Tyler has the name to speak out for all whistleblowers. Unfortunately doing the right thing, that saves lives may cost your own life in the long run.

Whistleblowers are given the very typical moniker of being only a disgruntled employee
which in many cases is the furthest thing from the truth.

Like Tyler, most whistleblowers wanted to help the company get on track, not hurt it.

Well done narrative in his own words. It is all very familiar treatment of whistleblowers that save lives.

One finds out who their true friends are. It gets lonely being a whistleblower.

From an FAA certified Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), and FAA AIR21 certified, successful federal whistleblower.

Great job Tyler, you are a true HERO.

14 people found this helpful

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Amazing story

It was very interesting to read and see how people react to whistle blowers.
The best short story I've listened to!

14 people found this helpful

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Rare courage and integrity

What a great story told from the heart. Whistleblowers like Tyler Shultz are sadly too rare a breed. And boards like the Theranos one far too common.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Denis
  • 05-08-21

Excellent personal account

Tyler’s account of what happened at Theranos is fascinating to hear after reading Bad Blood and watching the HBO documentary.

The only issue I had with this was the insane amount of music played.

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  • Edward Jennings
  • 03-30-21

Fascinating Story, well narrated

Listened to it in one sitting. Fascinating atory about the evil machinations of Holmes and Balwani and their use of the US legal system as a blunt instrument.

Engagingly narrated and with a great musical soundtrack 😂😂

I'm trying to work out who will play Tyler in the upcoming movie. I also hope there's a fight scene between Tyler's actor and Jennifer Lawrence.

Was sorry to hear about how TS's relationship with his grandfather suffered because of that Holmes bitch. Made me very sad.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-09-21

Quite disappointing

I really enjoyed johns thicker than blood story so maybe had higher estimations than I should for this... I managed to power through the 6 hours over a couple of weeks but was painful enough particularly all the random over dramatic music sprinkled throughout. It’s very like an angsty diary - there were some interesting bits showing how poorly treated he was by theranos but very much came across as an ego booster for the author who seems to live in a different world to most people...

I only paid about $3 for it in a half price sale but Defo still overpaid... if it was free I wouldn’t have finished it...

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  • Mr Julian M Bromley
  • 08-24-20

Clearly Blood isn’t Thicker Than Water

Totally sold on Tyler Shultz life sacrifices in this amazing saga of our time. How he had the mental strength to pursue it is an amazing story (but I guess the nervous laugh is an understandable side effect)So sorry his famous grandfather didn’t step up to the mark in time, but his Step Grandmother and parents certainly Did I only hope the trial whenever it happens can see past Elizabeth Holmes ‘Ed Bundy-esk’ cleaver tidal wave of life threatening fraud!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-06-21

Author narrated books are great...

Great story delivered in a lovely tone. Avoids the frequent monotonous tones of the audible book reader. He tells his story in an engaged voice.

My kids were forced listen on a long journey. My 9 year old asked us to finish it the next day.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carlos
  • 12-01-21

Amazing story

Absolutely love it. I knew a lot about the scandal but not as much about the heroic efforts of Tyler to bring the truth to light. It was a bit so nice to have the story told by himself that it make me want to be his friend. highly recommended.

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  • R. A. Chitty
  • 11-14-21

compelling story and character

I loved this, Tyler strikes me as an extremely honourable and likeable person. the music is great too. what a terrible time this young man had but stuck to his guns through it all. Highly recommended.

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  • Roisin
  • 11-13-21

A Hufflepuff digs deep - a moral dilemma

Schulz' anguish is audible as he reveals the price of telling the truth: the impact on his closest relationships, the financial cost and his mental health.

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  • Laura M
  • 11-12-21

A few new details to add insight

If like me you have read and listened to all material available about this absolutely unbelievable case, you will enjoy this. Most of it has been heard elsewhere but there are a few details that really add depth to the story. I especially like the reading, casual and conversational.

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  • Frank Rooney
  • 10-26-21

Insightful and compelling.

I thought I knew all that was worth knowing about Tyler Shultz's role in the Theranos saga - I was wrong. This perspective from Tyler's own mouth offers a personal account of how it feels to be terrorized by a multi-billion dollar business and America's most intimidating law firm. In addition to the medical scam which Holmes et al perpetrated, thier treatment of Shultz and others who were targeted for their principled refusal to go along with the con is an additional outrage which is brilliantly exposed in this short audiobook.

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  • Clare
  • 11-26-21

Brilliant.

Love the conversational pod cast style, rather than someone reading their manuscript.

I’ve been following this story for awhile, and this was excellent.

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  • Nosferatu
  • 11-15-21

Theranos - what a house of cards

A first-hand and utterly compelling view inside the Theranos house of cards. A must listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-09-21

Wow

Excellent, inspiring and compelling account of a whistleblower’s experience and the impact of such an intensely challenging situation on their life and relationships.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-08-21

Great listen

If you’re interested in the disaster that is Theranos this is a must listen. Really enjoyed it and Felt empathy for Tyler throughout especially in relation to his grandfather.

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  • "sphanges"
  • 10-25-21

Brough a tear to my eye

Having followed the story of Theranos through the books, articles, documentaries, podcasts and the current ongoing trial, I was interested to listen to Tyler Schultz himself describing the events and his role in the eventual downfall of Theranos. It was much more moving than I was expecting, and it brought a tear to my eye as he described the incredible toll this has taken on him and his family, I aspire to live my life with the same level of integrity and resolution to do not what is easy, but what is right.

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  • BEHAPPY
  • 09-18-21

enjoyed truth!

Most enjoyed the short chuckles of Tyler throughout:)
Credits for anyone prepared to be truthful! Hope he has a fulfilled future. thankyou!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-07-21

Excellent

An inspiring, honest and thoughtful story. I have so much respect for Tyler, his family and friends.

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  • AJBSydney
  • 12-30-20

Moving First Person Account of Hero Whistleblower

This audiobook is the first person account of Tyler Schultz, one of the Theranos Whistleblowers. The founders and CEOs of Theranos took huge advantage of investors and the public, lying and stealing to build their company. In the process, they bulldozed past patient safety, government regulations and the moral men and women who raised concerns. Tyler Schultz is one of these who paid an incredibly heavy personal and financial price for standing up to Elizabeth Holmes who, according to all accounts, was an absolute bully and seemingly absent all morals. Tyler’s story, told by him, adds important details to the WSJ’s reporting. I couldn’t help but cry as Tyler recounted the stress and anxiety of the legal torment Theranos put him through as well as the estrangement from his grandfather. This book is more evidence that the world turns over time towards good people like Tyler and towards justice. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the important lessons of this disgraceful saga from Silicon Valley. Thank you for your bravery and your story Tyler!

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  • Ms Rachel Bailey
  • 09-24-20

Humble, courageous, inspiring

This does not feel like a book being read, rather it feels like a story being told to you by a friend. Even if you’ve devoured all of the Theranos content available, this adds depth to the story and reveals more of the devastating human cost of the company’s moral bankruptcy.