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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

by Atul Gawande

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,4821293,535 (3.96)99
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 128 (next | show all)
This subject matter seems like it would be dry, checklists were the bane of my existence as a child with a checklist happy mother. But the circumstances they are implemented in are fascinating and anxiety inducing, from the emergency medicine and the operating room to engineering skyscrapers and flying planes. I loved the medical chapters, and was especially glad that the central line kit with all necessary items was invented and being used when my daughter had a med port for a few years. I remember those kits well, and the fact that they are relatively recent in the scope of things is eye opening. Maybe I better make a checklist for cleaning the house now.... ( )
  KallieGrace | Oct 4, 2023 |
Interesting read

I got this book on a whim and then found it so fascinating. I was so surprised by a book about checklists and how revolutionary they are in life. I couldn’t believe how much they changed the safety of surgery and flight. I really enjoyed this book. ( )
  hooligansmama | Oct 3, 2023 |
Dr. Gawande's reputation proceeded him, meaning that much of the medical community had already read the NEJM article on the same topic, considered how it applied to subfields of medicine, personal practices, etc. and the reforms espoused had largely been adopted, at least by the American medical community by the time of publication.

Nonetheless, Dr. Gawande's journey to discover why checklists matter, the subtle ways in which they matter and the fields that have instituted them was an interesting, if slightly shallow read. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Slightly repetitive but makes his case well. Great examples and detail. ( )
  horstbc | May 24, 2023 |
Book on CD read by John Bedford Lloyd

Subtitle: How to Get Things Right

Gawande became well-known for his original book of essays Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, in which he outlined some of the difficulties faced by modern-day surgeons despite the very best training and equipment. He wrote it while still a resident in training, and followed it up a few years later with Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance where he described more of his observations and shared his thoughts and questions for continued improvement. THIS book is his third.

He explains how a tool used in many industries to ensure that complex procedures are carried out in a “best practices” way consistently might be (and has been) applied to the complexities of modern medicine. What is this tool? A checklist.

I loved his earlier books partly because I am a total geek about medicine. So this book was slow to get my attention because he wrote about pilots and construction managers in some detail before getting around to applying that checklist tool to medicine. But when he began to relate the world-wide study undertaken under the auspices of the World Health Organization, I began to feel his enthusiasm for the subject, and his (and others’) excitement over the early results.

Still, for me at least, it seemed to be missing some of the “special sauce” that his earlier works (and his later work: Being Mortal”) had. I expect that this is partly due to the fact that this book is much more clearly aimed at the medical professional, and was, therefore, less personal to me. Still, you can bet I’ll be asking my surgeon / anesthetist / nurse about their use of a checklist the next time I have to have any surgical procedure!

John Bedford Lloyd did a fine job of narrating the audiobook, although I think the book might be best appreciated in text format. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 14, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 128 (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 (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gawande, Atulprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fyfe, LisaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levavi, Meryl SussmanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lloyd, John BedfordNarratorsecondary 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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