The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (HBO)

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Inventor:

I think I could lie my way to a billion dollars. Who’s with me?

Quick synopsis:

A documentary focused on Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos. She became the youngest self-made female billionaire in history. She is also a fraud.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

Here is a partial list of the people swindled by Holmes: James Mattis, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Bill Frist, and Sam Nunn.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Holmes even swindled Walgreens. She used the age-old strategy of “FOMO” (fear of missing out, for you old people who aren’t hip). She pushed hard and made the Walgreens executives afraid to lose out to CVS.

My Take on The Inventor:

Elizabeth Holmes is an a-hole.

She grew up privileged, a bit shy, maybe bullied, and then went on to create one of the biggest scams American has ever seen. Along the way, she led a man to suicide, ruined countless lives financially, and threatened anyone who got in her way. She even lied about her dog being a wolf. The woman is unhinged.

Apparently, she was magnetic to be around. It is the only way to explain the inexplicable. Numerous men (yup, exclusively it seems) fall for her charms. These masters of industry and politics fell for some of the simplest tricks in the book. Refusing to show the inside of her machine, adjourning tests for lunch and magically having the results afterward and hiding behind trade secrets.

This is just the high-level details. There is much more. The documentary is good but see my verdict for the best way to learn about Theranos. Ultimately, the documentary did not leave me as outraged as the book did. And make no mistake, you should be outraged.


This is a good documentary for someone who knows nothing about the subject. However, Bad Blood the book is more comprehensive and gives the reader a much clearer pictures of the damage this woman and her associates did. Watch it here!

If You Liked This Try:





Leave a Reply