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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
The concept of using checklists is proven over and over in the many examples that the author mentions. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Honest Abe
Appropriate for essentially any occupation. Wonderful writer. Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking. A must read for anyone striving to improve.Published 6 days ago by Robin J. Trupp
This is a great book and an easy read. Would highly recommend it to people who are questioning why a checklist is important or whether they should use one or not.Published 8 days ago by Whittyone13
As a disaster response planner for healthcare I find all the frustrations and successes described real and apparent every day. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Robert Mitchell
I read the whole thing. It's extremely well written and often poignant. Truly the devil is in the details.Published 15 days ago by Scott Landreth