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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  12,861 ratings  ·  1,495 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

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Hardcover, 208 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by Metropolitan Books (first published 2009)
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Laura
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
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Peter Derk
We all have those books that sit on a nightstand, half-finished for weeks, right? Months? Maybe a year?

*cough*

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.

Premise:
Humans are to the point where we've uncovered so much knowledge that human minds can't hold all of
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Matt
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
Trevor
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
David
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
Andrew
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
Malbadeen
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
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Emily
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
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Jack
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
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Becky Weaver
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
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Jason Miller
Jan 03, 2010 Jason Miller rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Craig
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
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Jason Cox
Jul 21, 2012 Jason Cox rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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Ahmed
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
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Sarah
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
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Kevin
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
Mark K.
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
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Shane
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
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Mason
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
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Mark
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
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ron btdtbttsawio
This is a well written and some what detailed look into how following a simple checklist can produce very dramatic results. The author is a surgeon so a lot of it is about procedures in the OR and how following the checklist can reduce infection rates, save lives, etc. He also looks into other complex professions such as the building industry (skyscrapers), the stock market, and the airline industry and how the checklist helps there as well.
It is really interesting also how so many people reject
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Petra Xtra Crunchy
Not as helpful as Gawande's previous books - especially Better which improved my business quite a bit with the injunction 'count something' (so we did, everything, and saw the patters). However the stories of aircraft and flying and the medical ones were very interesting. Recommended for people who are allergic to self-help books (me) but work in a complex industry and for Gawande fans (me again).
Leo Polovets
Atul Gawande is a doctor who writes great books. I read Better a few years ago and thought it did a good job of covering both the human and the practical aspects of improving medical practices. Checklist Manifesto feels like another winner. At its core, the book is an analysis of how smart people make dumb mistakes. This includes pilots who forget to check some key component before take-off, doctors who leave surgical instruments inside of patients, and so on. Gawande’s thesis is that smart peop ...more
Emily
Apr 04, 2010 Emily rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This book is less about medicine than Gawande's previous works, and more about how to improve the performance of experts in general. He opens by explaining that failure can be caused by ignorance of what to do or ineptitude in doing. In many fields, we have now learned so much that ineptitude is a larger factor than ignorance. He proposes the checklist, which has proven itself useful in aviation and engineering, as a solution applicable to medicine, finance, and other fields. More than that, tho ...more
Lightreads
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
Sarah
Aug 06, 2011 Sarah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Medical Professionals
Recommended to Sarah by: Amazon
Mr. Gawande is slightly arrogant if you ask me, which is one of the qualities he critiques about so many of his fellow doctors. The one comparison consistently made throughout the book is that of medical uses for checklists to aviation uses for checklists. So here comes my pilot rant. He compares doing surgery to landing an airplane (and if you can land one aircraft, obviously you can land them all. . . not true by the way). This is an inaccurate analogy. Doing surgery is like troubleshooting a ...more
Deanna
I was an ICU nurse for 10 years, and now am a family nurse practitioner. When I precept nursing students, I show them my daily list -- in the ICU, it is a 3" wide, 12" long piece of adhesive tape (easy to write on) stuck to the patient's bedside table where it can't get lost, with a simple list of numbers for the 12 hours of the shift down the side of the tape, and then abbreviations to fill in each hour what that patient needs so I don't forget anything important and can cross them off as I go. ...more
Sean Mcguire
I decided to read all three of Gawande's books, and this is the one I could get my hands on first. I wasn't as excited about it as I was about the other two, but so far I've enjoyed this one more than "Better", which I am reading now.

I expected this book to be a bit of preaching-to-the-choir, and to some extent it was. I'd long ago come to the conclusion that the work I do (software engineering) contains some really complicated but predictable and boring stuff that is easy to screw up, and that
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Jason
Next time I'm in Boston, I'm visiting the author at the Harvard School of Public Health and letting the MacArthur Fellow use my experience to update subsequent copyrights of The Checklist Manifesto. I'm a military aviator, and for over 8 years I was a crewmember on a sophisticated reconnaissance aircraft that carried a mission crew of at least 20 people. Atul Gawande's whole premise is that very complex mission sets, or projects, involving many people can be accomplished much more successfully a ...more
Eliza
12/19/12: This is the kind of book I read and then I can't decide whom--of all my friends--I want to give it to first. I want everyone to read it! Not because it's brilliantly written (Gawande is a wonderful writer, but the writing is not the point) nor because of its brilliant ideas. The Checklist Manifesto tells a simple and obvious story about human nature--about our shortcomings and our blindness to them--then it provides a way to recognize those shortcomings and to improve on them. How upli ...more
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Atul Gawande is author of three bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by Amazon.com 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
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More about Atul Gawande...
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End The Best American Science Writing 2006 Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

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“Man is fallible, but maybe men are less so.” 8 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.”
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