Epic Measures is perfect for:

  1. Classes and seminars in global health, public health, medicine, economics, political science, computer science, statistics, and current affairs

  2. First-year Reading Experiences

  3. One Book, One School Programs


Who’s reading Epic Measures?

University of Washington • Carrboro High School • Institute of Medicine • Harvard University • Albert Einstein College of Medicine • University of Minnesota • University of Massachusetts-Amherst • Hampshire College • Smith College • Dartmouth College • University of Montana • University of Michigan • Texas A&M University • National University of Singapore • Oxford University • and more


What they’re saying

“Jeremy Smith’s engaging story of a man obsessed with the numbers, and the mortal dramas they tell, reads like a novel and is better than any textbook or survey of this planet’s health.”

—Paul Farmer, cofounder of Partners In Health and cochair of the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School


“I found this book to be an outstanding read. It is in the same vein as other outstanding nonfiction titles in public health, including The Hot Zone (Preston, 1994) and The Great Influenza (Barry, 2005). This book will interest anyone who cares about global health or who wants to improve health outcomes in the United States or abroad. I will be integrating the book into our global health curriculum and using Murray’s research as a background for my own.”

—Jay Maddock, dean of the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University


Students have been captivated by Smith’s tale of Chris Murray, the astonishingly ambitious global health figure who has been the driving force behind the Global Burden of Disease project. As depicted by Smith, Murray is a study in contradictions: an iconoclast who seeks to work within the largest global health institutions and who is as capable of charming his peers as he is of alienating them. While Murray does not conform to our sense of how a humanitarian operates, this thrilling book offers us an insider's account of how he spearheaded the project that will almost surely save more lives than any innovation (vaccine, toilet, etc.) in public health history.

    I could not recommend this book more highly.

—Matt Cone, teacher at Carrboro High School


My students really learned a lot from Epic Measures. Most importantly, they acquired new tools to understand for themselves what ails the world—and they used this information to articulate arguments about how we should devote resources to improving global health.

—Kim Yi Dionne, Five College Assistant Professor of Government, Smith College

One Book. Seven Billion Students.

Epic Measures is the true story of a new way of seeing the world. It’s about challenging powerful institutions and developing innovative methods to help billions of people in need. It makes the political personal and connects local, national, and global trends. Students like learning about big ideas through a story. They’re surprised and excited about the problems with existing authorities and celebrity causes. And they’re inspired to use new ways of seeing to take action to improve lives.

Reviews and coverage

  1. “The Quest to Synthesize All of the World’s Death and Disease”—review of Epic Measures in PsycCRITIQUES

  2. “One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients.”—review of Epic Measures in Development Policy

  3. “Turning to Big, Big Data to See What Ails the World”The New York Times covers Epic Measures

  4. “It Turns Out We Really Didn't Know What People Are Dying From”—NPR News covers Epic Measures

  5. “A study about dying that might save your life”—CNN covers Epic Measures (video)

  6. “Informing the Next Generation”—story of global studies classes using Epic Measures to chart new health policies


Lesson plans

  1. Critical reading and discussion syllabus and course blog with sample student response essays (Smith College)

  2. Critical reading and discussion questions (University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Hampshire College)

  3. Research project assignment using global health data visualization (adapted from Carrboro High School)


Additional resources

  1. Jeremy N. Smith author website

  2. Epic Measures book website

  3. “When ‘Moneyball’ Meets Medicine”—Jeremy’s piece in The New York Times piece about how statistical analyses have moved from sports to matters of life and death

  4. “Big Data Shows How We Live And Die”—Jeremy’s interview on The Write Question public radio show (audio)

  5. Carrboro High School interviews Chris Murray (video)

  6. Online interactive global health data visualization

  7. Online interactive U.S. health map


Order Epic Measures

  1. Order now from Amazon, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, BooksAMillion, Google Play, HarperCollins, and wherever books are sold.

  2. Request a complimentary desk copy for instructors who adopt Epic Measures for course use. For requests by phone or mail, please consult this HarperCollins website.


Bring Jeremy to your school

    Jeremy writes for the The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Discover, and he and his work have been featured by CNN, NPR News, and Wired, among many other outlets.

    He speaks frequently before diverse national audiences, including the National Academy of Sciences, the Center for Global Development, Town Hall Seattle, the Salt Lake City Public Library, and classes at Harvard University, Dartmouth College, the University of Minnesota, the University of Colorado-Boulder, Oregon State University, and San José State University.

    Contact him to arrange an public event or Skype session at your school.

Video trailer: Epic Measures in 60 Seconds

Praise for Epic Measures


Barnes & Noble Editor’s Recommendation

iBooks 20 Best Books of April

Amazon #1 Best Seller in Medicine


Epic Measures is a fantastic read.”

—Bill Gates


“Remarkably entertaining.… A giant compilation of ‘who knew?’”

—Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times


“Jeremy Smith’s engaging story of a man obsessed with the numbers, and the mortal dramas they tell, reads like a novel and is better than any textbook or survey of this planet’s health.”

—Paul Farmer, cofounder of Partners In Health and cochair of the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School


“Once you realize that the work you’re doing could save millions of lives, it’s hard not to go a little crazy. Epic Measures is a story of people who believed, despite the entire world disagreeing, that what needed to be done could be done. It’s exciting, well-crafted, and inspirational. Like The Social Network but actually important. Saving a million lives isn’t cool. Y’know what’s cool? Saving a billion lives.”

—Hank Green, cocreator and cohost of Crash Course and SciShow


“Jeremy Smith tells an inspiring story of how a simple idea, conceived logically and pursued with grit, can greatly improve the human condition.”

—Edward O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus, Harvard University


“This book is a crash course in global health mixed with a thriller and a biography. And my goodness, what a made-for-Hollywood character at its core—a brilliant but bristly scientist out to revolutionize the way we conceive healthcare. I was constantly surprised to learn what really ails us as a human race.”

—A. J. Jacobs, author of Drop Dead Healthy and The Year of Living Biblically


“Reading Epic Measures is…an intense intellectual treat, the sense of participating in something important, and the thrill of a riveting adventure.”

—Gary King, director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University


“Bold, brash, and brilliant…. In Epic Measures, Jeremy Smith tells a compelling story of the man who led a group of like-minded collaborators, inspired a legion of followers, irritated the establishment, and changed the way the world thinks about health and disease.”

—Harvey V. Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


“The Global Burden of Disease Study is not only an epic dataset, but also an epic human story…. Through fine reporting and graceful writing, Jeremy Smith reveals the high-stakes story behind the numbers that are transforming global health."

—Michelle Nijhuis, co-editor of The Science Writers’ Handbook


“A fascinating account of a charismatic visionary.”

Kirkus Reviews


“An inspirational tale for everyone.”

Publishers Weekly


“The subtitle of this book [‘One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients.’] does not lie. Editor’s recommendation.”

Barnes & Noble


“A must read.”

—Apple iBooks 20 Best Books of April


“An illuminating look at global health.… The people and real-life drama behind the numbers come alive.”

—Kate Whittle, Missoula Independent


“A page-turner that could radically change the way you view health.”

—Joy Portella, Minerva Strategies


“A thumping narrative about trends shaping the future.”

—Aaron Shulman, The Los Angeles Review of Books


"We've all heard about the rise of Big Data and how it will have big effects. Well, this is the ultimate Big Data project and it could indeed save lives and money—big time!"

—Fareed Zakaria, CNN


“An incredible book. An incredible read. Truthfully, I cannot think of a greater book to read to get you on a path of public health awareness and personal health improvement. It’s fascinating.”

—Tim Danehey, Tim Danehey Show


“In public health it is said that what is measured gets done. But what if the measurements were all wrong? This book should be mandatory reading. While others on the beach may have been reading mysteries, I was turning the pages of a true thriller.”

—Richard E. Besser, M.D., chief health and medical editor, ABC News

SciShow Talk Show discusses Epic Measures

CNN discusses Epic Measures

Carrboro High School Interviews Chris Murray

Bill Gates covers Chris Murray and healthdata.org