March was a slowly reading month, a lot on and not enough time dedicated to just reading. 14 books overall for the year, so staying just on schedule.
Shocking. No other words to describe Theranos and the lies that Elizabeth Holmes created. There is so much to digest in this biography, from the brilliance of Holmes, in her ability to get funding, to the vile culture she created within her own firm. Instead of listening to colleagues worries or concerns, she would immediately dismiss their opinion stating that they did not believe in the brand or the vision. This added to a culture of fear within the laboratory, as many testimonies lay bare. As a reader you can almost understand and sympathise with many of the scientists both naivety and excitement for what the company could be. Theranos aimed to provide an easy at home kit, for users to test their own blood and diagnose a slue of diseases. Over the years the vision got altered, to suit what Holmes deemed viable. Without even having a minimum viable product, she was out declaring the success to investors and spreading false hope about what iteration 2 would give.
The book also covers sexism within the tech space, not in the sense of the MeToo movement, but rather how Holmes would display male dominant characteristics. Such as purposefully deepening her voice, to a baritone level. As well as idolising Steve Jobs and trying to be as like him as possible. From the dressing in the polo-necks to implementing management techniques that Jobs had used, to describing Theranos’ products as the iPod of healthcare.
Rating – 5*
Never have I read a book expecting one thing and getting the complete opposite. The basis of the book is Evelyn Hugo, her life and her as guessed seven husbands. Evelyn is a Hollywood starlet, which initially made me think of Marilyn Monroe. So vivid was the descriptions I had to check whether Evelyn was a fictional character or not. Plot spoiler it’s all fiction.
The book challenges perception on what the media has outsiders believe but what is actually happening behind closed doors. Evelyn has hired Monique to write her tell autobiography. The books written from Monique’s perspective as she writes the book. Only in the closing few chapters do you understand why Evelyn chose Monique. All along Evelyn was calculated in her decision. An easy read with a lot of food for thought.
Rating – 4*
I am totally undecided about what I thought of this book. Everyone has been raving about it, but I just thought it was nice? Like a standard beach read. The underlining themes of the book about reputation in school and how it affects you whilst there, at university and when you return to visit home. All intertwined with class and how money affects a lot of peoples thought process. The irony of Connell and Marianne’s relationship is never lost though. One wealthy, yet unpopular. The other popular but without the wealth. Connell’s mother is the cleaner of Marianne’s household which adds another element to their relationship.
At points throughout the book, I wanted to slap both characters and tell them to just get their acts together. So on reflection, maybe it was much more than a beach read, as I was invested in the characters. If Rooney after did a sequel, with them 10 years after University, it would be interesting to see how the relationship had or had not evolved.
Rating – 4*
This was very much a story within a story. Reta Winters, is herself a popular author, currently working on her next new release. Dealing with the writing of the manuscript, working with her editor and day to day life with her husband and children. I personally found her to be story, quite flawed and cliche. However, the sub story of her daughter on the street was far more interesting. How would you cope if your daughter just left university and chose to make herself homeless. Sitting on the same street every day begging for money. How this affects her siblings is also mentioned throughout and is a fascinating look into sibling relationships.
Rating – 4*