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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
This is the third time I have read this. Each time I get a reminder or nugget of information that makes me a better professional.Published 1 day ago by Watkins Family
Cannot recommend this too highly for anyone interested in process improvement - in any field! Gawande's insights are game-changing, in the best possible way.Published 2 days ago by Karen M. Nash
Absolutely first rate , investigative work and story telling. Best book of the year for me , anyway. Read it.Published 7 days ago by Dorrie Murtagh, ARNP
Transformative material that is hard to put down once you've started. Will be checking out the other books Dr. Gawande has written.Published 8 days ago by JeanMarie
He is a fine writer and honest open surpeon with a massive amount of date he has collected, but the info will surely scare many from completing it! Read morePublished 9 days ago by mele da mew
The book is a great read. What is ground breaking is laying out how effective checklists are rather than what they are.Published 10 days ago by Peter B. Klibowitz
A surprisingly trite pitch for a concept on which I was already sold. The initial promise of non-medical examples was betrayed by a final third that was one long series of surgical... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Raja Raghunath