True Story

HBO’s Documentary About Theranos is Out!

It’s Theranos week! On Monday, HBO’s documentary about Elizabeth Holmes and her company, Theranos, was released. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley relies on “extraordinary access to never-before-seen footage and testimony from key insiders” to tell the story of how the multi-billion dollar company fell apart.

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bad blood by john carreyrou cover imageBad Blood by John Carreyrou, the first book to really tell the full story of Theranos, was one of my favorites last year, so this documentary has been on my radar. Sadly, as of the time I’m writing this newsletter, I haven’t gotten to watch it yet. But, I’ve read a lot of articles about it… so that’s pretty close, right? Here are some good ones:

  • On All Things Considered, NPR’s TV critic Eric Deggans called the film “a compelling and critical look at startup culture in Silicon Valley” with an “impressive narrative.”
  • In Business Insider, director Alex Gibney shared some of the difficulties he encountered getting Theranos employees to speak with him for the film, given the heavyweight lawyers that Holmes employed.
  • The WIRED review of the movie gives some details about how it was all stitched together and explores one of the central ideas of the documentary, hubris.
  • The Guardian looks at why Americans are so fascinated with fraudsters (guilty as charged), and interviews Gibney about how he approached the film. Gibney’s take in this interview about Holmes’ general nobility is interesting, as well as the discussion of the role gender played in the scandal.
  • And finally, another Business Insider story explains why Elizabeth Holmes wasn’t interviewed for the documentary, despite the director’s efforts to do so.

Changing gears… the Editors Buzz books are out! Earlier this month, BookExpo announced this year’s titles for their Editors Buzz panels, “which highlight forthcoming books expected to appeal to readers in the fall and winter.” There are two great memoirs on the adult list that are now definitely on my list too:

  • How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones, a coming-of-age memoir about growing up young, black, and gay in the south.
  • Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener, a memoir about a woman in the tech industry.

The editors behind these books will be on panels at BookExpo, the publishing industry’s annual conference in May.

And that’s all for this week! You can find me on Twitter @kimthedork, on email at, and co-hosting the For Real podcast here at Book Riot. Happy reading! – Kim