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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right Hardcover – December 22, 2009
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Amazon Exclusive: Malcolm Gladwell Reviews The Checklist Manifesto
Malcolm Gladwell was named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2005. He is most recently the author of What the Dog Saw (a collection of his writing from The New Yorker) as well as the New York Times bestsellers Outliers, The Tipping Point, and Blink. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of The Checklist Manifesto:
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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Publisher : Metropolitan Books; First edition (December 22, 2009)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0805091742
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805091748
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.79 x 1.01 x 8.59 inches
- Customer Reviews:
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That means we need a different strategy for overcoming failure, one that builds on experience and takes advantage of the inevitable human inadequacies. And there is such a strategy though it will seem almost ridiculous in its simplicity, maybe even crazy to those of us who have spent years carefully developing ever more advanced skills and technologies. It is a checklist (p. 13).
Gawande supports his conviction through the use of interesting, true accounts drawn from several areas: medicine (chapters 1, 2, 5, 7 and 8), aviation (chapter 6 and pp. 32-34, 173-182), construction (chapter 3), national disasters (chapter 4), factories (chapter 6), and investments (chapter 8).
The author believes that we normally do not look for patterns in our failures but we should, and the simple checklist could serve as our guide (p. 185). I, personally, have always made use of checklists, finding them a valuable means to keep me on task and remind me of what needs to be done. But The Checklist Manifesto has challenged me to step up my game, especially in my supervision of others and in accomplishing long term and/or complex goals. I think most everyone would benefit from reading this well-written, interesting, and helpful book.
Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher, Southern View Chapel
If you've already decided that you'd like to develop a checklist you have no real reason to read this book, unless you'd like to be entertained with some medical and aircraft stories.
Top reviews from other countries
Atul Gawande has presented compelling evidence that checklists can have a dramatic impact on quality of care and healthcare outcomes. He has shown that this is repeatable around the world and not just in the poorer regions. If an aircraft pilot fails, he goes down with the plane. If the same consequence was applied to the failure of a medical consultant - we'd have checklists in every hospital tomorrow!
He has given me food for thought around the use of checklists in my own work. I feel inspired to develop one at least for myself which I may then be able to pass on to my team.
I enjoy the philosophical approach he has to life, medicine and writing.
I thoroughly recommend this book as not only thought provoking but also an enjoyable read.
I enjoyed the methodical approach of following Atul on his journey, trying to get to the crux of checklists, how (or if!) they are beneficial to situations and how a balance can be struck between having sufficient information to be useful whilst not overbearing the user to the point where the list becomes disregarded. He uses examples such as investment fund managers, third world disease prevention schemes, professional kitchens, and of course hospitals whilst using various statistics to bring the narrative to life.
A number of real world disasters are cited which keep the book gripping and interesting, and help to outline the reality the checklists aren’t to make the user into a methodical robot, but how it helps to strike a balance between communication, delegation and preparation. The bottom line of the theme is that the effects of using checklists are subtle taken on an individual situation basis, but in unlikely circumstances or taking the statistical data over a large number of samples, a clear picture gets painted. Checklists, particularly in the context of surgery or plane mishaps, are fundamental to team cohesion and just by taking the simple of step of introducing names before surgery or a flight can have a profound effect on achieving desirable outcomes.
I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it, it does provoke thought into how checklists could be used in other situations and the problem of the human ego that leads dismissal of procedures that can have profound beneficial effects.
I now use checklists regularly for daily things, and at work our team uses checklists to avoid making mistakes. After reading the book I created a checklist of things to verify when going out, and it still often saves me forgetting to bring something important. It's a book that I think everyone should read who's into productivity and reducing mistakes!
I heard about this book from the Tim Ferriss podcast, where I'd also listened to another guest, Jocko Willink, and have taken away his mantra: Discipline Equals Freedom. Checklists as it would turn out, are a very practical and effective way to implement that discipline.
Thus, it is safe to say: CHECKLISTS EQUAL FREEDOM.