A non-fiction work that reads like a fast paced fiction novel, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou of the Wall Street Journal, is the story of Theranos, a start-up company in Silicon Valley run by a charismatic young entrepreneur whose fraud, arrogance and lies make for a stunning story.
Carreyrou leads the reader through the rise and fall of Theranos, a Silicon Valley medical company started by Elizabeth Holmes when she was a student at Stanford. According to her claims, Theranos had developed a blood testing device that was simpler, more cost-effective and could test a person for hundreds of diseases with a single drop of blood. Holmes promised to revolutionize the entire medical industry with the invention. In addition to the above claims, Theranos had amassed a large number of wealthy investors and was initially valued at nearly $9 billion, with Holmes being named by Forbes magazine as the youngest self-made billionaire, with a net worth of $4.5 billion. Theranos and Holmes were everywhere – magazine covers, television stories and other high-profile places. Simultaneously, a handful of their 800 employees were beginning to realize that the claims being made about the testing device were simply not true – it did not work.
Carreyrou’s book, which grew from an earlier Wall Street Journal story, details how the company defrauded and lied to employees, corporations and investors. His article, in part, set Theranos on a downward trajectory with the deception exposed. Presently, the United States attorney’s office in California has filed charges against Elizabeth Holmes and another executive. They have pleaded not guilty.
Initially, I was not sure if I would enjoy this book coming from a non-medical background, but I quickly became engrossed in the story and the massive deception that occurred within the company. A highly recommended read!
Certain lives are at once so exceptional, and yet so in step with their historical moments, that they illuminate cultural forces far beyond the scope of a single person. Such is the case with Coco Chanel, whose life offers one of the most fascinating tales of the twentieth century–throwing into dramatic relief an era of war, fashion, ardent nationalism, and earth-shaking change.
Coco Chanel transformed forever the way women dressed. Her influence remains so pervasive that to this day we can see her afterimage a dozen times while just walking down a single street: in all the little black dresses, flat shoes, costume jewelry, cardigan sweaters, and tortoiseshell eyeglasses on women of every age and background. A bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume is sold every three seconds. Arguably, no other individual has had a deeper impact on the visual aesthetic of the world. But how did a poor orphan become a global icon of both luxury and everyday style?
Raised in rural poverty and orphaned early, the young Chanel supported herself as best she could. Then, as an uneducated nineteen-year-old café singer, she attracted the attention of a wealthy and powerful admirer and parlayed his support into her own hat design business. For the rest of Chanel’s life, the professional, personal, and political were interwoven; her lovers included diplomat Boy Capel; composer Igor Stravinsky; Romanov heir Grand Duke Dmitri; Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster; poet Pierre Reverdy; a Nazi officer; and several women as well. For all that, she was profoundly alone, her romantic life relentlessly plagued by abandonment and tragedy.
Chanel’s ambitions and accomplishments were unparalleled. Her hat shop evolved into a clothing empire. She became a noted theatrical and film costume designer, collaborating with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, and Luchino Visconti. By age forty, Chanel had become a multimillionaire and a household name, and her Chanel Corporation is still the highest-earning privately owned luxury goods manufacturer in the world. In Mademoiselle, Garelick delivers the most probing, well-researched, and insightful biography to date on this seemingly familiar but endlessly surprising figure–a work that is truly both a heady intellectual study and a literary page-turner. (description from publisher)
One of the most influential, admired, and innovative women of our time: fashion designer, philanthropist, wife, mother, and grandmother, Diane von Furstenberg offers a book about becoming the woman she wanted to be.
Diane von Furstenberg started out with a suitcase full of jersey dresses and an idea of who she wanted to be-in her words, “the kind of woman who is independent and who doesn’t rely on a man to pay her bills.” She has since become that woman, establishing herself as a global brand and a major force in the fashion industry, all the while raising a family and maintaining “my children are my greatest creation.” In The Woman I Wanted to Be , von Furstenberg reflects on her extraordinary life-from childhood in Brussels to her days as a young, jet-set princess, to creating the dress that came to symbolize independence and power for an entire generation of women.
With remarkable honesty and wisdom, von Furstenberg mines the rich territory of what it means to be a woman. She opens up about her family and career, overcoming cancer, building a global brand, and devoting herself to empowering other women, writing, “I want every woman to know that she can be the woman she wants to be.” (description from publisher)