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Project Unthinkable

A Doctor's Gamble to Save Millions of Lives

By: Derek Yach

Price: CAD $27.95


Imprint: Barlow Book Publishing

232 Pages

9.29 X 6.34 X 0.79 ins

ISBN:  9781988025285 -- Hardcover
9781988025414 -- Paperback

Publication Date: 11/10/2018

This is the memoir of one of the world's most effective health crusaders and his lifelong campaign to save lives around the globe. Author Derek Yach started out in a traditional way, at the World Health Organization, where he demonized Big Tobacco for causing the death of millions worldwide. Then, after engineering an international treaty to curb smoking around the world, he crossed the line. In an unorthodox move, he joined Pepsi to help its CEO transform the chips and soda behemoth into a more healthy company. The author's rationale was this: To save tens of millions of lives, you may have to go inside the enemy corporation to help it change. So when Philip Morris International (PMI) announced it was ready to switch from combustible cigarettes to smokeless ones, a move that could save untold lives, Yach made the most audacious gamble of his long career in global public health.

Project Unthinkable is a biography embedded in several big themes:
  • Can a company that causes harm to human health change from the inside?
  • Can you cross the line and work with the opposition?
  • Will combustible cigarettes become history?

Dr. Derek Yach led the development of World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which imposed strict controls on tobacco throughout the world. After moving to the U.S., he led the global health effort at the Rockefeller Foundation and worked as a Professor of Global Health at Yale University. Then he stunned his colleagues by joining PepsiCo, where he worked with the CEO to turn the chip and soda maker into a healthier business. He served as chief health officer at Vitality, a health and wellness company, and on the Clinton Global Initiative before making his latest move, to collaborate with Philip Morris International on its efforts to dramatically reduce tobacco deaths with smokeless cigarettes. Yach has authored or co-authored over 200 articles on global health in medical journals. Born in South Africa, he is an avid long-distance swimmer and lives in Connecticut, USA.


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