The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

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Henry Holt and Company, Apr 1, 2010 - Medical - 224 pages

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.


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User Review  - andycyca -

Just as the title suggests, this is a manifesto (Wiktionary: "A public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially that of a political party.") about checklists. Before I delve ... Read full review

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User Review  - bookworm12 -

A fascinating nonfiction look at how essential check lists are in surgery and for pilots. I thought it was going to focus more on using check lists in every day life, so while it was interesting, I didn’t love it. Side note, the number of errors (often fatal) in surgery is terrifying! Read full review


the problem of extreme complexity
the checklist
the end of the master builder
the idea
the first try
the checklist factory
the test
the hero in the age of checklists
the save

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About the author (2010)

Atul Gawande is the author of Better and Complications, a National Book Award finalist. He is also a MacArthur Fellow, a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He served as a senior health policy advisor in the Clinton presidential campaign and White House from 1992 to 1993. He received his B.A.S. from Stanford University, M.A. in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University, M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. He lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.

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