Lionel Barber, FT editor and chair of the judging panel, called Bad Blood “a brilliant piece of enterprise journalism” that “reads at times like a thriller”. Kevin Sneader, global managing partner of McKinsey, the consulting firm that supports the prize, presented the award to Mr Carreyrou, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal. Mr Sneader said the book taught lessons about “the proper trade-offs between fostering innovation and conducting due diligence”.
Lionel Barber, FT editor and chair of the judges, praised the finalists, drawn from a longlist of 15 titles, for making “complex ideas accessible with riveting narrative, fine writing and in-depth research”. He said this year’s books posed “hard questions, from the boardroom to the shop floor”.
The book is also a blistering critique of Silicon Valley, a kind of nonfiction corollary to Dave Eggers’s The Circle... Tales of corporate malfeasance are always better when the writer is in the room, and the story is at its most compelling near the end, after Carreyrou enters the action. His unmasking of Theranos is a tale of David and Goliath.
Carreyrou’s presentation has a few minor flaws. He introduces scores of characters and, after a while, it becomes hard to keep track of them. In describing these many players he sometimes relies on stereotypes... Such blemishes in no way detract from the power of “Bad Blood.” In the second part of the book the author compellingly relates how he got involved, following a tip from a suspicious reader. His recounting of his efforts to track down sources — many of whom were being intimidated by Theranos’s bullying lawyer, David Boies — reads like a West Coast version of “All the President’s Men.”
Bad Blood is a satisfying read for anyone who wants a book full of salacious startupenfreude.... But more vitally, the resonant moments of the book make not just Theranos out to be a fraud, but the promise of the tech industry itself. Overpromising everything to dazzle investors, abusing employees as the norm for “startup culture,” skirting laws and morality in the name of innovation—these are all features of Silicon Valley, not a bug.