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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
I'm in the health care profession and to be honest
I'm a bit concerned about ever having surgery myself
after reading this book. Read more
Great look at a tool that should sit side by side with the all the analytical tools we have. Practical advice for practical applications.Published 1 day ago by Paul Wedeen
Amazing book! I love the way he writes Atul Gwande writes! He has done great research to prove his case of how important checklists are to the success of any professional. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Melissa Mashburn
I can't help thinking about how much better healthcare would be if all medical professionals used checklists. I am a private pilot and understand how valuable they are. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Charlie McCullough
After reading all of Gawande's other works, I was naturally expecting an insightful text rich with vivid stories and thoughtful commentary. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Pava LaPere
Was recommended to me; wouldn't buy it again, but has some useful points. In general, though, LOVE his writing. Thought-provoking and timely, important reading for all.Published 5 days ago by sarah bartlett
Excellent concept - but a wordy, difficult book to read. Entire process could have been greatly simplified and explained.Published 5 days ago by pooleside
good book common sense plus extra things I was not awarePublished 5 days ago by Alejandro V. Moreno