Saturday, January 2, 2021

Thicker Than Water: The Untold Story of the Theranos Whistleblower, by Tyler Schultz (author, narrator)

Audible Originals, August 2020

Tyler Schultz is the grandson of former Secretary of State George Schultz, and it was largely due to that connection that he landed an internship at Theranos, a startup claiming to have a new technology that would allow blood testing for a wide range of conditions, in little clinics in Walmart and similar locations, with just one drop of blood, and of course, far more cheaply. Stated baldly like that, it looks pretty transparent, but the CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, was apparently very charismatic, and charmed and persuaded a number of prominent, influential people--including George Schultz, but also Henry Kissinger, James Mattis, and Betsy DeVos, among others.

Initially, Tyler Schultz believed the hype. He eagerly accepted an internship at Theranos, and while his experience wasn't perfect, he remained a true believer in the project. When he finished college, he sought and received a fulltime job at Theranos.

And gradually, he started to notice things that just weren't right. Initially, just listening to Holmes talk enthusiastically and convincingly about what they were going to achieve would reliably quash his doubt and restore his confidence. Yet, as time passed and problems mounted, her ability to bury his concerns faded. The big breaking point was discovering that false data was being reported to the FDA, and negative results were simply being omitted.

He made a detailed report of the problems to Holmes, still trusting that she could set things right.

Not long after, he was out of a job.

Talking to his grandfather achieved nothing; George Schultz still completely believed in Holmes.

Tyler got another job, and tried to put it behind him, but he was still worried that real harm was being done. Eventually he talked to an investigative reporter.

This is Tyler Schultz's personal story, not the big picture, but his personal and sometimes terrifying experiences, as the truth slowly came out, the investigative reporter talked to other sources, and Thereanos fought back, including having Tyler and all his friends followed.

It's a fascinating and moving story. Tyler Schultz didn't set out to be a whistleblower or a hero, and initially was trying to help Holmes pursue what he thought was her real plan for Theranos--the one she talked about.


I bought this audiobook.

No comments:

Post a Comment