Bill Gates once attributed the initial spark that led to his charitable organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to an infographic (Figure 10.10) that he had seen in an article in the New York Times. As told by Nick Kristof:

Figure 10.10: Death By Water, the graphic that saved millions of lives.

New York Times.


“In September, I traveled with Bill Gates to Africa to look at his work fighting AIDS there. While setting the trip up, it emerged that his initial interest in giving pots of money to fight disease had arisen after he and Melinda read a two-part series of articles I did on third world disease in January 1997. Until then, their plan had been to give money mainly to get countries wired and full of computers. Bill and Melinda recently reread those pieces, and said that it was the second piece in the series, about bad water and diarrhea killing millions of kids a year, that really got them thinking of public health. I was really proud of this impact that my worldwide reporting and 3,500-word article had had. But then Bill confessed that actually it wasn’t the article itself that had grabbed him so much—it was the graphic. It was just a two column, inside graphic, very simple, listing third world health problems and how many people they kill. But he remembered it after all those years and said that it was the single thing that got him redirected toward ...

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