The New York Times bestselling author of Better and Complications reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist
We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies—neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist. First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.
In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.
An intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference, The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.
This is an excellent book, but it is missing one key element. Why doesn't a book about the power of checklists contain a checklist for creating checklists?45
A very candid and well written case for why professionals should set aside pride, and develop and use checklists. James Kelly, Esq.55
Nice summer read! I strongly recommend this book to people who are organized and love biomedical sciences.55
As a medical professional I am well aware of the potential for mistakes. This book only reinforces the fact that a team approach is the best way to take care of patients.55
Gawande writes in a way that I found incredibly easy to digest. His pace is perfect- he mixes stories, facts and insight with timing that never leaves you bored.55
It is interesting to read about how the medical profession recognized the value of the checklist and incorporated it's use In surgery. I am aware that checklists can be a useful quality control tool. The way the author presents how the various disciplines use checklists and teamwork to support their efforts makes for very interesting reading. This book gave me a deeper appreciation of "surgical teams" and the surgeons that lead them. It also left me wondering if the use of another simple tool like the Pareto chart has been considered for use in quantifying areas where additional improvement can be made.45
The author is a masterful storyteller. In this book he provides numerous stories and examples of how different professionals use checklists to prevent mistakes, handle crisis, and complete complicated projects. I would like the book better if he had introduced more practical tips for creating, managing and applying checklists earlier in the book. It seems like the best advice appeared in the second half of the book.45
Persuasive and compelling from start to finish, Gawande has written a gem. Who knew that checklists could be so interesting, or so important as an organizing principle to enable better professional performance? The singular achievement of this book is to convince you that checklists can (and should) apply to many more endeavors than just aviation's famous pre-flight checklist. Given the pedestrian ho-hum associations I had of checklists it's remarkable to be convinced of the radical improvements enabled by something so simple. Far from being robotic instructions that switch off thinking, a well implemented checklist empowers performance and innovation, especially in any complex undertaking. Gawande repeatedly illustrates the power of checklists by using case histories drawn from his own professional world (he's a practicing surgeon: wow, such interesting things happen in an operating room!). But he also draws from many other professional walks of life, everything from skyscraper construction to hedge fund analysis. Like only the best kind of non-fiction writing can do, Gawande's book doesn't just show you the data and pattern of a better idea, it promotes and enables insights as you read the book. I had many ah-ha! moments when I could connect the dots and see exactly how to profitably use checklists in my own work. Manifesto indeed!55