Maybe this holiday season part of you is looking to unwind with a heart-in-your-mouth thriller full of jaw-dropping plot turns, scandalous villains, and determined heroes triumphing in the face of terrifying odds. Maybe another part of you is saying, no, be good and read a thought-provoking business book that will make you smarter instead.
Well, I have good news for you. You can do both at the same time.
The Financial Times and McKinsey just crowned their annual best business book of the year, and according to a host of breathless reviews, the winner will both keep you up all night reading and push you to think deeply about the culture and flaws of Silicon Valley.
Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou took home the prize for Bad Blood, his deeply reported book detailing the meteoric rise and equally dramatic fall of blood-testing startup Theranos and it's once celebrated, now reviled founder, Elizabeth Holmes.
Thriller-level suspense meets thought-provoking insight
A quick glance at the book's Amazon page will show you that reviewers are united in their opinion of Carreyrou's book--this is one business book that reads like a thriller.
"You will not want to put this riveting, masterfully reported book down," raves best-selling business author Bethany McLean. "Crime thriller authors have nothing on [Carreyrou]," agrees Booklist, which calls the book a "riveting, read-in-one-sitting tour de force." The New York Times describes the book as "chilling."
But while nearly everyone seems to agree Bad Blood is a great choice if you want to while away a chilly evening or a long plane ride with a propulsive page turner, the book offers a lot more than entertainment. The story's unbelievable twists and turns and its deep dive into the character of Holmes also nudge readers to consider what's wrong with startup culture to make fraud on such scale possible.
The judges for this year's prize noted the book "raised questions not only about the culture at one startup--at its high point valued at more than $9bn--but in the whole of Silicon Valley. The book offers insights about the cult of founder-leaders and weaknesses in regulation and corporate governance," notes the FT article announcing Carreyrou's win.
Commenting on his victory, Carreyrou was even more blunt in his assessment of the lessons to take from the book. "Mr. Carreyrou said that readers should learn from the Theranos scandal that the 'move fast and break things' approach" doesn't work very well "when lives are at stake," reports the FT.
So pick up a copy, curl up, and settle in for a long read. This book promises readers both a wild ride and a whole lot to think about.