[LMB] Bad Blood

Nicholas David Rosen ndrosen at erols.com
Sun Aug 25 18:07:33 BST 2019

I have been reading John Carreyrou’s _Bad Blood_, about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, and a thought occurred to me: Elizabeth Holmes is Miles Vorkosigan without the author on his side.

At least if we can trust the book, she was dishonest, with a nasty streak, but I don’t think she is purely and simply a crook; a smart crook would have jumped at the right time with millions of dollars of Theranos’s money, and acquired a new identity, probably in a country with which the United States does not have an extradition treaty.

She didn’t do that, and while I don’t claim any deep insight into her mind, it seems likely that she wanted to be somebody, a technology innovator, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a hero who saved people’s lives by advancing medicine, not just a fugitive with some stolen money, and she cut corners to accomplish this.  The pile of lies and scams just grew, as in _The Warrior’s Apprentice_, and she may have hoped that her employees could redeem her assurances, and achieve the radical advances in blood testing that Theranos claimed to have already, or to be on the verge of fully unveiling.

The real world doesn’t usually work like _The Warrior’s Apprentice_ (did Ms. Holmes by any chance ever read it?), so the truth eventually came to light — there was too much evidence, and too many ex-employees with grudges — and the hollow pyramid collapsed.

The same would have happened to Miles long before _Memory_ if the author didn’t like him, or if adventure stories with happy ending didn’t generally outsell those in which the protagonist ends up utterly defeated and disgraced.

Best Regards,

Nicholas D. Rosen 
ndrosen at erols.com

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