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Last Updated on August 6, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 553

A sociopath is often described as someone with little or no conscience. I’ll leave it to the psychologists to decide whether Holmes fits the clinical profile, but there’s no question that her moral compass was badly askew.

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This is John Carreyrou's description of Elizabeth Holmes, the would-be entrepreneur who convinced so many that her high-tech company Theranos would revolutionize health care. In actual fact, however, Theranos was nothing more than an elaborate scam that cheated investors out of billions of dollars.

In Carreyrou's retelling of the whole sorry saga, Elizabeth Holmes's powerful personality is the driving force behind convincing so many normally seasoned businesspeople to part with enormous sums of money for technology that didn't actually exist. Although Carreyrou isn't a trained psychologist, as he freely admits, the evidence he presents of Holmes's personality strongly indicates someone with a severely defective moral compass.

Holmes may not have deliberately set out to defraud investors; in fact, all the evidence suggests that she was a true visionary, someone who genuinely wanted to change the world. But somewhere along the line, the fanatical pursuit of that vision led her to engage in practices that were questionable from a moral, legal, and financial standpoint.

Hyping your product to get funding while concealing your true progress and hoping that reality will eventually catch up to the hype continues to be tolerated in the tech industry.

Whatever responsibility Holmes bears for what happened with Theranos, Carreyrou is at pains to point out that Holmes is very much a product of the toxic business culture of Silicon Valley. In the tech industry, it would seem, the vision thing is everything. It doesn't matter if you don't have any real evidence to support your vision, or even whether or not if it will one day form the basis of an actual real-life business. What matters more than anything else is the perception of success, the perception that your product, even if it turns out on closer inspection to be defective or non-existent, might just change the world.

It is this culture of hype that enabled and...

(The entire section contains 553 words.)

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