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Over the past decade, through his writing in The New Yorker magazine and his books Complications and Better, Atul Gawande has made a name for himself as a writer of exquisitely crafted meditations on the problems and challenges of modern medicine. His latest book, The Checklist Manifesto, begins on familiar ground, with his experiences as a surgeon. But before long it becomes clear that he is really interested in a problem that afflicts virtually every aspect of the modern world--and that is how professionals deal with the increasing complexity of their responsibilities. It has been years since I read a book so powerful and so thought-provoking.
Gawande begins by making a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don't know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we made because we don’t make proper use of what we know). Failure in the modern world, he writes, is really about the second of these errors, and he walks us through a series of examples from medicine showing how the routine tasks of surgeons have now become so incredibly complicated that mistakes of one kind or another are virtually inevitable: it's just too easy for an otherwise competent doctor to miss a step, or forget to ask a key question or, in the stress and pressure of the moment, to fail to plan properly for every eventuality. Gawande then visits with pilots and the people who build skyscrapers and comes back with a solution. Experts need checklists--literally--written guides that walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure. In the last section of the book, Gawande shows how his research team has taken this idea, developed a safe surgery checklist, and applied it around the world, with staggering success.
The danger, in a review as short as this, is that it makes Gawande’s book seem narrow in focus or prosaic in its conclusions. It is neither. Gawande is a gorgeous writer and storyteller, and the aims of this book are ambitious. Gawande thinks that the modern world requires us to revisit what we mean by expertise: that experts need help, and that progress depends on experts having the humility to concede that they need help. --Malcolm Gladwell
All quality control systems are simply a bunch of checklists to make sure everyone performs the best practices. Everyone in product manufacturing has known this for decades. Read morePublished 13 hours ago by Peter Fowler
While I didn't enjoy the writing style, the ideas presented in this book about the simple matter of creating checklists that prevent careless mistakes are solid. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Karl O'Callaghan
This book has so many practical applications in so many fields: simply breaking things down into their component parts and accounting for all of them. Read morePublished 7 days ago by M. DeFraites
This was a highly engaging book right from the start. Checklists were born from aviation but now have been adapted in surgery. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Nupur Deshpande
I expected a how to book on making checklists. Instead, the book was a compelling story about the advantages and uses of checklists. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Edward Brumby
It's a good book, but it's dragged out a bit to explain a relative uncomplicated idea. The knowledge is worthwhile but a bit chewy to get to it.Published 12 days ago by Antoine Gideon Louw Rocher