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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

by Atul Gawande

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2,5961133,975 (3.98)90
Reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist now being used in medicine, aviation, the armed services, homeland security, investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.



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Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Every once in a while you run across a book that makes you think, "Why aren't we doing this? Or why aren't we doing this more?" The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right* by Atul Gawande is such a book. Gawande is a doctor on a mission, he wants to save lives. Gawande is looking for a solution to prevent simple mistakes as well as handle complexity. He advocates for the use of checklists as an organization and pre-planning tool. It is better to work out the issues before they are needed in an emergency. However, as Gawande points out, checklists are not only for medical emergency situations but also for routine tasks. Systems and processes have become complex enough that it is difficult for one person to keep track of all the steps in memory. Read more ( )
  skrabut | Sep 2, 2020 |
Gawande makes an important point: checklists are valuable to experts, not just novices. And they are useful across industries and occupations. Airline pilots, structural engineers and safety inspectors regularly use them to good effect. They can either be "do-check" or "run-do" and are utilised at specific pause points within a task. Value investors sometimes use checklists. Gawande presents some evidence that those that do fare better than "gut instinct".

Surgeons, he believes, should take the leap and use checklists. The point could have been made even more strongly by detailing the cognitive bias which affects most professionals, the one that makes the majority think they are above average. Specific to medicine, Gawande suggests some of the possible reasons checklists are eschewed: the need for doctors to "own" patient care through their own expertise; the media's idolisation of individual heroism; and the condescension with which some doctors hold professionals such as nurses who might well promote checklists.

What I love, therefore, about Gawande's approach is his insistence that checklists are a means of teams improving outcomes, not one of trying to bolster individual performance. Teams should introduce each other by name. Checklists in surgery should be verbal and can be run by any member of the team. This encourages knowledge sharing and holistic thinking. Gawande posits that successful results to complex problems are mostly due to effective teamwork and communication, not the heroism or brilliance of any individual. This story I can believe. ( )
  jigarpatel | Aug 23, 2020 |
Short enough as to not bore you with self-help bs & long enough to get the point accross. Loved the examples; Sully & Karachi soap. Summary: checklists are not sexy but they help. ( )
  sami7 | Aug 3, 2020 |
Perhaps the simple title made my expectations too low for this book. He really maxes out what is possible with a checklist - how empowering it can be for a team, how it focuses the users on critical things. Perhaps the best illustration is the airline industry. More than anything, he emphasizes the importance of doing your due diligence, having discipline.. Never discount an effective, well-thought out checklist! ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
What I really loved about this was how concise and clear it was. He has an idea, Checklists, he explores why they arose, how they work, and how they have been applied. Then he is done. Not droning on for pages with examples that are boring and teach nothing. Just straight to the point on what he learned. A wonderfully refreshing read that was not full of jargon or pop psychology. So worth a read.
  amyem58 | Jul 12, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I already know that "The Checklist Manifesto" will be on my list of best books this year. Gawande writes with gusto, humor and clarity. He features his mistakes -- always a good sign in a reporter -- including the one that ends the book.
Read this book and you might find yourself making checklists for the most mundane tasks—and be better off for it.
But that narrative gift doesn't transfer automatically to accounts of in-flight safety checks and structural engineering near-misses. Gawande's style is always clear, with the crispy lilt that is a trademark of the New Yorker, where he is also a staff writer. But there's no escaping the fact that this is a book about, well, checklists. Hemingway would struggle to make it gripping. Gawande does well to pull off engaging.
added by stephmo | editThe Observer, Rafael Behr (Jan 24, 2010)
Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and a staff writer at The New Yorker, makes the case that checklists can help us manage the extreme complexity of the modern world. In medicine, he writes, the problem is “making sure we apply the knowledge we have consistently and correctly.” Failure, he argues, results not so much from ignorance (not knowing enough about what works) as from ineptitude (not properly applying what we know works).
Dr. Gawande is right to note that checklists are indispensable in situations where a small mistake can lead to tragic consequences, as in surgery. But his call for a broad checklist regime would be counterproductive—fraught with all the dangers of bureaucracy and excessive law.

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atul Gawandeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fyfe, LisaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levavi, Meryl SussmanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lloyd, John BedfordReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schloss, RoslynCopy editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I was chatting with a medical school friend of mine who is now a general surgeon in San Francisco.
Some time ago I read a case report in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Faulty memory and distraction are a particular danger in what engineers call all-or-none processes: whether running to the store to buy ingredients for a cake, preparing an airplane for takeoff, or evaluating a sick person in the hospital, if you miss just one key thing, you might as well not have made the effort at all.
...the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity—where knowledge required exceeds that of any individual and unpredictably reigns—efforts to dictate every step from the center will fail. People need room to act and adapt. Yet they cannot succeed as isolated individuals, either—that is anarchy. Instead, they require a seemingly contradictory mix of freedom and expectation—expectation to coordinate, for example, and also to measure progress toward common goals.
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Reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist now being used in medicine, aviation, the armed services, homeland security, investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.

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The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry--in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people--consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever advancing technologies, and still we fail.
Now, acclaimed writer and surgeon Atul Gawande makes a compelling arguement that we can do better and finds a solution in the most humble of places: the lowly checklist. He explains how checklists have made possible some of the most difficult things people do--from flying airplanes to building skyscrapers of mind-boggling sophistication. And drawing on his own experience, he shows how applying this idea to the immensely various and complex world of surgery produced a ninety-second checklist that reduced deaths and complications by more than one-third in eight hospitals around the world--at virtually no cost and for almost any kind of operation.
In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection, and to the flight deck of a crashing plane. Along the way, he reveals what checklists can do, what they can't, and how they could bring about striking improvements in fields well beyond medicine, from homeland security to investment banking to professions and businesses of all kinds.
The Checklist Manifesto is a gripping exploration of the nature of complexity in our lives and essential reading for anyone working to get things right.
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