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Bad blood, bad bloodlines, and bloodshed

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

  • at 19 years old, a Stanford dropout, Elizabeth Holmes, started up what was supposed to be a revolutionary blood testing technology under the company name Theranos
  • in an eerie and uncontrollable fashion, she modeled her persona after Bill Gates in a manner that wooed prominent investors (including Henry Kissinger and Rupert Murdoch) which allowed her to grow the company to a $9B enterprise
  • along with her sidekick, Sunny Balwani, she was able to grow relatively unabated for over ten years in an attempt to build the holy grail
  • lurking below the surface were disgruntled employees, medical industry naysayers, and ultimately a Wall Street journalist who was the beginning of the end
  • it is fascinating how one person can have such an influential and mesmerizing impact on even the most seasoned investors
  • one can only think that Elizabeth must have firmly believed that her team would eventually figure out how to make her dream technology become reality
  • I highly recommend this read for anyone interested in business and human psychology

 

Educated by Tara Westover

  • Tara was born into a Mormon family of survivalists in the mountains of Utah
  • her father ran a salvage junkyard and construction company while her mother was a midwife and healer
  • challenging family dynamics including brutal violence were part of the norm for her family
  • she was 17 before she saw a classroom, and yet she was able to ascend to the highest levels of education nationally and internationally
  • this is a gripping read where I found myself in the dichotomy between the bizarre behavior of this family yet in other cases some spiritual and healing modalities that I firmly believe in
  • true stories such as this are very intriguing, and I hope there is a sequel to see things play out down the road for this fractured family

 

The Reckoning by John Grisham

  • Pete Banning, a decorated WW2 hero, family man, businessman, and local hero commits an unthinkable and irrational crime that he provides no insight into
  • his kids are off at college, and his wife is in a mental institution, so what drives such a crime at this time in his life
  • Grisham weaves the story between the crime, legal maneuverings, the history of this Mississippi cotton-growing family and Pete’s time in the Philippines during WW2 including the Bataan Death March
  • I enjoyed understanding more about this part of WW2 and thought that the rationale for the crime was pretty obvious; however one should never assume this is the case when Grisham is at the helm
  • the book tended to drag in places, and while I generally enjoyed it, the story could have been shortened and had a few more twists and turns to match some of his best novels
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