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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things…
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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (edition 2011)

by Atul Gawande

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2,137984,419 (3.95)84
Member:mfagan
Title:The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
Authors:Atul Gawande
Info:Picador (2011), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

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» See also 84 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Gawande is a surgeon, an innovator, and a writer. I discovered this book via the reading recommendations in Tools of Titans. It's an efficient tale about how Gawande and colleagues in the WHO pioneered pilot-like checklists to reduce common complications from surgery. After trial and error, and in the face of some egotistical resistance, they found ways to reduce complications and mortality across the full range of medical environments. This book is has an interesting story, and a valuable one. There are practical ideas for executing well in complex performance scenarios. ( )
  jpsnow | May 11, 2018 |
What a good, thought-provoking book. It really made me think about the improvements that I could make in my profession and life with something as simple as a checklist. ( )
  EdenSteffey | Mar 14, 2018 |
Tempted to give this 5 stars. Very well written, clear & important. ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Human beings make mistakes. It's a sad fact of life. Even intelligent, highly-trained people with lots and lots of experience at what they're doing make mistakes, especially in urgent or high-pressure situations. People get distracted at a crucial moment and miss a routine step, or they carry out routine steps on autopilot despite special circumstances that mean those steps should be skipped. Important information sometimes doesn't get to the people who need it most. People who notice problems sometimes don't say anything because they don't feel it's their place to speak up. And so on.

So, how do you deal with this? Well, enter the humble checklist. The airline industry has known about the power of a well-designed checklist for ages, but other areas that can seriously benefit from this practice have been slow to catch on, including Gawande's own field of surgery. But it turns out the introduction of checklists into the operating theater has astonishing, dramatic effects on reducing the rate of surgical complications and death from surgical complications. Of course, it has to be the right kind of checklist, and there's a real art to making them. A good checklist covers things that are important but easily missed, it fits quickly and easily into the natural workflow of the people using it, and, perhaps most critically, it increases communication among people who really need to make sure they're all properly informed and on the same page.

Gawande makes a strong, clear case for all of this, with a mixture of scientific data, case studies, personal anecdotes, and thoughtful examinations of how checklists are (or aren't) used in a variety of fields. You'd think this subject could get a bit dull, but Gawade's writing is vivid and readable, his experiences are relatable (even for those of us who aren't surgeons), and his examples and explorations are always interesting. I'd say this is a good read for anyone who is interested in how people get things done in general or in the practice of medicine in particular, and an essential one for anyone whose job involves making decisions about how to handle complex situations in which the stakes are high.

Rating: I'm going to give it a 4.5/5. Four of those stars are for being a good book, and the extra half-star is for being an important one. ( )
  bragan | Jan 10, 2018 |
This was an awesome and life-affirming book for me. As an editor, I love creating checklists to help me remember to do the million and one tasks that we need to do on each project (and I’m invariably forgetting at least one, indicating that there’s still work to be done). I nodded so much in agreement with this book that my head nearly fell off. It’s an excellent book. I need my own copy. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (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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Introduction
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.
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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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Book description
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.
-flap copy
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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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