Economics/Class Relations

Elizabeth Holmes’ prison life

May 30, 2023
Hello, Insiders. Shona Ghosh here, UK deputy executive editor. Elizabeth Holmes, the perplexing founder behind the failed blood-testing startup Theranos, is set to report to prison today.


For those of us riveted by Theranos’ collapse, laid out by the journalist John Carreyrou in his book “Bad Blood,” it should be a natural close to the saga. But questions persist: Why lie? How were so many of her high-profile investors fooled? And… is she worse than other founders who exaggerate and lie? Let me know your thoughts at


In today’s edition:

— Shona Ghosh


If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.


EVs, Putin, & debt ceiling

  • A Chinese EV billionaire’s wealth has plummeted 75% from its peak to $1.4 billion. He Xiaopeng’s fortune has been hit by Tesla’s price war in China. Read more.
  • Putin could be overthrown by the Wagner mercenary army, according to a former Russian commander in Ukraine. More here.
  • Get ready to see millions of Americans lose their jobs if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling in the next few days. What’s at stake.

Holmes heads to prison

Philip Pacheco/Getty Images
She was once America’s youngest self-made female billionaire. Today, Elizabeth Holmes is set to report to prison after being convicted on four of 11 counts of fraud and conspiracy.

The disgraced Theranos founder, who was once reported to have a net worth of $4.5 billion, is now expected to stay in a cell the size of a restroom in her $13,000 a-month home, according to a sketch based on descriptions of the prison. She also faces working for as little as 12 cents an hour and 6 a.m. wake-up calls.

It will be a drastic change from her life of luxury, so it may not come as a surprise that she previously delayed the start of her sentence. However, some people are looking forward to her arrival — including a number of current prisoners, per the WSJ. “Some people are like ‘I want to be her friend,'” one told the paper.


ChatGPT reads, average millennial, & more

Robyn Phelps/Insider


  • ChatGPT’s secret reading list. OpenAI won’t say what books it has used to train ChatGPT. But some data experts have figured it out — and the list is kind of mind-blowing. We’ve rounded up the top 50 books read by GPT-4, including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and “1984.” See the full list here.
  • Big landlords are barreling towards a “reckoning.” But smaller ones are doing just fine. That’s partially because many smaller landlords have 30-year fixed-rate debt, as opposed to commercial financing. We break down the main differences between “big” and “small” landlords.
  • Meet the average American millennial. They’re a parent, a homeowner, and have a net worth of $128,000, according to data. But while they may no longer be the economic victims of years past, three major hurdles still stand in their way, including student debt and childcare. Read more.
  • Lazard’s new CEO once inspired a fan blog called Peter Orszag has been named CEO of the investment bank. He’s best known as Barack Obama’s director of Office Management and Budget, and also has a past as a prolific writer and a Beltway sex symbol.
  • Taylor Swift’s Eras tour has led to a spike in sales of apparel like metallic boots and sequin dresses. Per CNN, fashion chain Francesca’s sees sales on certain dress styles jump around 30% when Swift performs nearby. The fashion retailer Altar’d State similarly sees a surge in sales for Swift-inspired looks. More on the Swift-sales bump.
  • A 34-year-old quit his day job after setting up two bachelorette-themed Airbnbs. Kent He used data to find “outsized opportunities” in the short-term rental market. He was able to achieve financial independence after setting up his two spots in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here’s how.
  • What to watch after “Succession.” If you have a Roy-size hole in your schedule, we’ve got you covered. Here are 12 shows with business drama, rich families, and more, including “Billions” and “Industry.” Plus, there were lots of easter eggs in Sunday’s finale – we’ve identified 11 you might have missed.

Saudi megacity



The Saudi crown prince revealed his latest vision for Neom, the $1 trillion megacity that critics fear is set to become a dystopian nightmare. The new images present it as a vacation paradise. See them here.

Tina Turner

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner died last week at 83 years old in her Switzerland home after years of health complications. Here’s a look back at her life and work.

Keep up with Insider

  • Get Insider’s app and notifications to be the first to find out about the stories you want to know — from tech to business. Download it here.
  • Become an Insider subscriber to get actionable, high-value news and insights to improve your career, company, and community. Subscribe here.
  • Want more of Insider in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletters here.
This edition was curated by Shona Ghosh, and edited by Hallam Bullock, Lisa Ryan, and J.R. Stacey. Get in touch:

Leave a Reply