Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” as Want to Read:
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,518 Ratings  ·  2,130 Reviews

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, accl

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by Metropolitan Books (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Checklist Manifesto, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jennifer Howse Absolutely. No pop psychology here; it's about the open-minded search for improvement, and how to develop -- and use -- an effective checklist as part…moreAbsolutely. No pop psychology here; it's about the open-minded search for improvement, and how to develop -- and use -- an effective checklist as part of that goal.(less)
Being Mortal by Atul GawandeComplications by Atul GawandeThe Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha MukherjeeBetter by Atul GawandeThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Best Books for Medical Students
7th out of 120 books — 214 voters
Stiff by Mary RoachThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver SacksOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken KeseyThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Medicine and Literature
123rd out of 1,137 books — 1,434 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Petra X
The Checklist Manifesto is not as helpful as Gawande's previous books - especially Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance which improved my business quite a bit with the injunction to 'count something' (so we did, everything, and saw the patterns. You should see my spreadsheets now! (Just as an aside, as an artist I am good at statistics I can see the patterns. Can't do maths though, never even got to GCSE level on that).

Where this book really made a difference is in operating theatres. They a
May 02, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Before starting, I read quite a few reviews that described it as an extended magazine entry. And I went in skeptical; I was curious how much one could say about checklists. I see lists as a great way to get things done. As long as they are simple and directed, they can focus my attention and keep me on task. So I went in a list enthusiast, but still skeptical.

This book argues checklists help us be more effective with complex tasks, by focusing us on what needs to be done and is often overlooked
Peter Derk
We all have those books that sit on a nightstand, half-finished for weeks, right? Months? Maybe a year?


Well, at some point you have to look at them and say, "I may not be finishing that one."

Or, alternatively, you can look at it and say, "Man, fuck this book."

It's not like there was anything terribly wrong with the book or anything. I just...I feel like I got the idea pretty early on.

Humans are to the point where we've uncovered so much knowledge that human minds can't hold all of
Dec 08, 2010 Matt rated it liked it
My having read - and enjoyed - a 200-page book about using checklists suggests that I'm a cocktail party nightmare, but I found this to be very much a worthy read. At the heart of it, this is really a book about management and efficiency. It's got a lot more "manifesto" in it than "how-to" though, which makes it both easy to plow through and easier for mass consumption. I actually wish it were more scientific and systematic than it turned out to be, but even as it rambles, it's thoughtful and in ...more
Glenn Sumi
Feb 09, 2016 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Surgeon and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande explores how using a humble checklist can reduce simple human errors, saving lives, money and time.

Curious about how checklists might limit post-surgical complications, Gawande examines how they have worked in the fields of construction and aviation, where errors could potentially kill hundreds or even thousands.

His results, written in lively and clear prose, are eye-opening, with fascinating glimpses into operating rooms around the world as well as bus
Dec 15, 2015 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
“One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.”
― Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto


"Checklists seem to provide a protection against such failures. They remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit. They not only offer the possibility of verification, but also instill a kind of discipline of higher performance."
― Atul Gawande, The Che
Jan 24, 2010 David rated it it was amazing
You have to feel sorry for Atul Gawande's siblings. No matter how brilliant their accomplishments, at any family gathering, we know who is going to be center stage. He's not just your average doctor, he's a surgeon. Specializing in endocrine cancer. This astonishingly good book isn't his first - he's written two others, "Better" and "Complications". Of course he's a Harvard professor. Oh yes, he does a little magazine writing. For the freaking "New Yorker", for crying out loud. His essay in the ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2non-fiction, 1audio
It never ceases to amaze me how systems can get lost in their own complexity as they grow. Something starts out simple, but as time goes by complexity creeps in incrementally. What used to work so well isn't really cutting it any more. Worse, the attitudes & aptitudes that were once mandatory must also be changed. Gawande does a great job of showing exactly this when it comes to medicine.

The doctor that delivered me & cured my childhood colds also did my hernia operation, sewed up our w
Nov 28, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Over the last couple of years I’ve been studying and some of the subjects I have done have presented me with an assessment rubric. This is a kind of checklist which sums up everything that is good and bad about checklists to me. The first is that a checklist only really makes sense for highly repeatable behaviours. There is a really good reason why they work so well when landing planes and performing surgery. Things can go catastrophically wrong in either of these, but mostly they go wrong in so ...more
Jan 15, 2010 Jack rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-science
It is easy to hate Atul Gawande. The boyish good looks in a wunderkind surgeon with an extraordinary gift for prose. The first two books were lovely, reading about the experiences I had had and sometimes thoughts I had thought, but far more beautifully expressed than I ever could. It's just not fair.

And then he goes and writes this book. It's really good.

In particular, it is a shamelessly persuasive manifesto for a remarkably simple idea: smart people should focus their smart energy on doing thi
How is this book a bestseller? It's not what I'd been hoping for. I expected a grand revelation in this book about a new way to approach making and using checklists to accomplish more, faster. What I got was a bunch of anecdotes about people using checklists successfully, many of them having already done so prior to the author exposing them to the technique.

The author, a surgeon, essentially had just discovered the power of checklists himself and was on a mission to get their usage established a
Jun 09, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, meridian
I am a list person. I have daily and weekly to-do lists and lists of projects I want to do, lists of projects for my husband to do and lists of ideas for summer activities for my boys, lists of books I want to read and places I want to visit. When I can see everything that needs to be done, even if it's an enormous amount, I feel like it's at least possible to get my arms around it and begin.

When I was the credentialing coordinator for a multi-specialty medical clinic, I used checklists all the
Jan 22, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing
More lively and fast-moving than you'd think a book about checklists could be.

Gawande speculates about why many people resist using checklists even though research has proven them effective. One reason interested me especially - that they distribute authority within a team. Thus nurses tend to like them more than surgeons, because a checklist provides a nurse with a more powerful voice, a surgeon with less.

I see this book as part of a movement in human endeavor away from organizational structu
Nov 13, 2012 Malbadeen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I would pay $60.00 to hear Atul Gawande speak.

If my finance* and I did that free-pass for sex with one celebrity thing, I would trade it in for dinner with Atul Gawande.

If there is anything by Atul Gawande available before I get on an airplane, I will always choose it.

The title kind of stinks and probably turns too many people away, which is a shame because it's great!

If you're even remotely considering this book, you've got to read the 1st few chapters about the phenomenal/creepy/awesome medica
Aug 16, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it
The surgeon-author makes the case for using checklists to improve outcomes in all sorts of complex things. He starts with an interesting anecdote of how aviation checklists got their start after test pilots crashed the "bomber that was too much plane for one man to fly". He bases the whole book on the premise that in the past man's problem was usually too little information, but now it is too much information and that we need a way to simplify in order not to miss the "easy stuff" that we think ...more
Sep 17, 2013 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In his third installment, and as the name implies; Atul presents a simple idea that could very well be a cure for human fallibility and an effective strategy to overcome failures. The checklist.

While it is an obvious and rational solution to overcome the inherit ineptitudes of practicing medicine and mastering its complexities, it is a fairly underestimated tool and quite often forgotten.

In his superb narrating skills, he takes you on a journey starting at why we need checklists through how th
Feb 19, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
Make sure you put down "Read this book" on your checklist.
One of the better and more practical business books have come across.
Rock and rollers might appreciate the tributes to Van Halen's "No Brown M&Ms" policy. One finds it quite refreshing to hear David Lee Roth defend the policy in the name of logistics and supply chain management.
Most of the examples come from the authoris experiences as a surgeon; nevertheless, he generates more interest on the subject and presents it more intelligentl
Mar 09, 2016 Athena rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A light read, but an enlightening one. Having worked for decades in a field where checklists are absolutely critical I was astounded that the medical field only recognized the importance of these simple tools when they were shoved down their collective throats. "Look, you - these work!"

For the most part it made me realize how hidebound most physicians/surgeons can be. In the worlds of engineering/software/computing/project management/fill-in-the-blank, the checklist is as important & sometim
Apr 05, 2016 Noor rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-medicine
Gripping from the first page, Gawande main message of the book is simple: information has reached a new level whereby it has exceeded people's capabilities to maintain independently. The solution, according to the author, is the simple checklist.

Gawande compares the medical profession to aviation, engineering, investment banking and the culinary profession, as his message is transferrable to most domains. Long gone are the days where polymaths or master engineers à la Michaelangelo exist, he arg
May 04, 2013 Lightreads rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
More complex than the title suggests. A manifesto on doing difficult, complex, absolutely vital things correctly as much of the time as possible. I talked about this when I read his Better, but he's hitting really close to home with me on this stuff. I'm not a doctor, but it doesn't help to know that there are literally tens of millions of dollars in insurance policies ready in the event I fuck something irreparably up when I know a mistake could wreck careers, fortunes, lives. So how do you com ...more
Jason Miller
Jan 03, 2010 Jason Miller rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people with interest in productivity or dealing with complexity
Recommended to Jason by: nobody
I am a professional teacher of mathematics at a good, regional University in the Midwest. In many ways, my job is straightforward. Help students learn enough mathematics to be successful and productive citizens. Sometimes this means preparing them for the 'next' mathematics course they need to take. Sometimes this means giving them a good mathematical experience and increasing their ability to think about things in a mathematical way.

In many ways, mine is a simple job. There's little that's comp
Apr 20, 2012 Craig rated it it was amazing
Who would have ever believed that David Lee Roth (yes, of Van Halen fame) possessed the insight and intelligence of Boeing test pilots from the 1930s? Certainly not I, and Dr. Gawande himself expressed delighted shock when he learned of the details of their similarities. It all boils down to complexity, or more correctly, the ability to successfully manage extreme complexity.

Filled with riveting examples from medicine, aviation, construction, pubic service, and finance, this book systematically
Jason Cox
Jul 21, 2012 Jason Cox rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any professional
A little over a year ago I heard about this book at a medical conference I attended where we were discussing the benefits of CPOE (Computerized Patient Order Entry) for hospital patients. Based on the recommendations of others at the conference I went ahead and bought the book and finally got to it a few weeks ago. I highly recommend you read this book.

About the Author:
Atul Gawande is a surgeon who both maintains a private practice and consults for the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding w
Mark K.
May 27, 2012 Mark K. rated it it was amazing
This book encapsulates, affirms, and extends my experiences with checklists and procedures that began while I was a nuclear power plant operator for the U.S. Navy, where verbatim procedural compliance is one of the keys to power plant safety. I advocate the use of checklists and procedures in IT operations and in performing other repetitive processes as a means of "not forgetting the important stuff."

It struck me that one of the benefits that Dr. Gawande attributes to checklists is actually only
Dana Stabenow
Dec 05, 2015 Dana Stabenow rated it really liked it
"For nearly all of history, people's lives have been governed primarily by ignorance," writes Dr. Gawande.

But sometime over the last several decades--and it is only over the last several decades--science has filled in enough knowledge to make ineptitude as much our struggle as ignorance.

In particular, the practice of medicine and especially surgery has improved beyond all imagination, but the discovery and accumulation--and dissemination--of so much research has overwhelmed O.R. teams to the poi
Feb 18, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
This probably could have been a long article rather than an entire book. Main point: utilizing checklists, even though many of us feel that they are intrusive or beneath us, can increase our effectiveness regardless of our skills. Counterintuitively, routinizing behavior is seen to be especially useful in extremely complicated or specialized settings (such as in medicine, which many doctors argue is too individualized to benefit from checklists).

I found it interesting that perhaps the most impo
Jan 03, 2013 Kevin rated it it was amazing
My personal favorite of Gawande's 3 books. He is a surgeon who also got his start as a healthcare reporter; his pieces for The New Yorker have been used as examples for framework in gov't's healthcare reform, for example. His writing style is disarming and easy to follow. He removes all pretentiousness from his writing, and is eager to admit how much he doesn't know. By doing so here, he takes the very boring topic of checklists and provides real-life examples of effective checklist use to make ...more
Mar 29, 2011 Preeti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medical-health
I suck at reviews but here goes.

This book was an easy and fascinating read. I can't remember how I came across the book but it looked interesting so I added it to my list. Then while on a library adventure I saw it on the New Books shelf so I picked it up.

The book talks about the complexity of situations that arise in surgery and how to tackle those issues so that common problems can be avoided. The answer is a checklist.

I loved learning about how checklists came to be used in the aviation field
Dec 27, 2011 Mason rated it really liked it
I found this book fascinating, and as a writer, I am thinking about ways of applying the checklist approach to my writing.

Gawande is a prolific writer, somehow finding the time alongside his surgeries and research to write excellent articles for the New Yorker and three books over the past several years.

Oddly, though, he never even mentions the idea of applying his checklist approach to writing. He does talk about how many professionals feel that their particular speciality isn't amenable to che
Jan 08, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing
As the title suggests, this book is not just Gawande's usual mixture of clear writing and good personal storytelling, but a call to arms.

His basic premise: The world of medicine -- and many other businesses and institutions -- have become so complex that it is impossible for highly skilled professionals to avoid making errors. And as with previous work by Johns Hopkins' Peter Provonost on ICU catheter infections, Gawande has found that developing a simple checklist, modeled on those used success
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care
  • Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality
  • How Doctors Think
  • Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible: Seven Radical Principles That Will Transform Your Business
  • This Won't Hurt a Bit: (And Other White Lies): My Education in Medicine and Motherhood
  • Competing Against Time
  • On Call: A Doctor's Days and Nights in Residency
  • Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
  • Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It
  • White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine
  • The Deadly Dinner Party: and Other Medical Detective Stories
  • The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care
  • The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust
  • Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition
  • Culturematic: How Reality TV, John Cheever, a Pie Lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football . . . Will Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas
  • The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy
  • The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work
  • Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure
Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by as one of the ten best books of 2007; and The Checklist Manifesto. His latest book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard
More about Atul Gawande...

Share This Book

“Man is fallible, but maybe men are less so.” 16 likes
“What is needed, however, isn't just that people working together be nice to each other. It is discipline.
Discipline is hard--harder than trustworthiness and skill and perhaps even than selflessness. We are by nature flawed and inconstant creatures. We can't even keep from snacking between meals. We are not built for discipline. We are built for novelty and excitement, not for careful attention to detail. Discipline is something we have to work at.”
More quotes…