Byron's Babbles

When Purpose & Passion Turn Into Ambition

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 16, 2020

bad blood coverTwo new friends of mine recommended the book, Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, to me. We were discussing recent top reads and this great book was one of theirs. My top read that I recommended at the time to them was The Power Broker by Robert Caro. Interestingly, for two books written at very different times about very different people, the through line was very similar: two individuals who obtained power and then craved power and then abused power.

Caro_powerbroker_bookshot-e1551201329792As I always do, when given a book recommendation, I asked what I was going to learn, or get out of reading the book. Both of my friends told me I would get a lot out of what happens when winning the ultimate prize of wealth and notoriety becomes more important than anything else. They also said I would get much more out of it based on my professional and policy making life’s contextual lens. Boy were they right!

The book reads like a well-written novel, not what we think a well-researched non-fiction book (which it is) would read. I mean that as a compliment. I did not want to put it down. Amazingly, the real events played out much like a thriller novel. The big point of the book for me was how purpose and passion turned into ambition. This transition to ambition should be taken note of. This can happen very easily, and does: passion and purpose turning into ambition. When ambition took over, those involved, particularly Theranos Inc. CEO Elizabeth Holmes, shifted from creating significance to submitting to greed. Greed for celebrity, power, and money – a very dangerous combination. We have seen this happen historically and in current times with people who become larger than life. This book is an amazingly chronicled and written account that all should read and reflect on.

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  1. […] Another person I recently studied who let obsessive passion take over was Elizabeth Holmes, Founder and CEO of Theranos. I read about her in Bad Blood: Secrets And Lies In A Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou. She had purpose and passion for a world changing blood testing and analysis machine that only needed a drop or two of blood to run a myriad of tests. Her company wasn’t able to meet performance standards or efficacy. She is still involved in legal actions against her including criminal charges. Her ambition was for success as defined by celebrity, power, and greed instead of purpose for significance. To read more about this check out When Purpose and Passion Turn Into Ambition. […]

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