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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  39,992 ratings  ·  3,729 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller

In latest bestseller, Atul Gawande shows what the simple idea of the checklist reveals about the complexity of our lives and how we can deal with it.

The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry—in almost every realm of organized activity
Paperback, 215 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Picador (first published December 22nd 2009)
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Cyril Danthi This book is not a good resource for a care giver as this book doesn't recommend any solutions. However reading this book, one can think how a…moreThis book is not a good resource for a care giver as this book doesn't recommend any solutions. However reading this book, one can think how a checklist could be developed for a specfic cause with some examples. The checklist should be able to guide and control to achieve the purpose. (less)

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4.05  · 
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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
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
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Glenn Sumi
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Ch
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
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is more than a book, it is a groundbreaking transformation. Having worked in the wider healthcare sector for over 30 years (not a clinician), you understand the levels of authority, the egos, and intransigence of senior healthcare professionals, especially in relation to their juniors and lesser deemed roles. The challenge has been, to inculcate something so obvious and relatively easy to implement, causes concerns that much of hard-earned experience and intellect can be reduced
I really enjoyed Atul Gawande's earlier book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, and also an anthology that he edited, The Best American Science Writing 2006. So, I eagerly started this very short book, about checklists. Dr. Gawande ran a program sponsored by the World Health Organization. He proposed that hospitals institute checklists in the operating room, that would do two things. First, the checklists would help catch mistakes that can easily happen, as surgeries can be simp ...more
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Booooooooring... and completely useless. Since I live + die by super-efficient checklists, I thought Gawande would offer how to do them better... at least give us sample checklists of the 1%. No such luck. Just drawn-out tales from hospitals and airports: important yes, but vague and impractical. At least compile actual checklists in the index! Imagine a cookbook without a single recipe :) Overall, a poorly-constructed read which by Chapter 3 seems like Gawande's way of publicly congratulating h ...more
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ms. Smartarse
In my experience, telling people that I like to read is a risky endeavor. There are of course a select few bookworms, who would respectfully respond by asking about my taste in books. Most people's reaction however, tends to fall into one of the following extremes.

1) Utter bewilderment that anyone would STILL be spending time to read books... and for pleasure, no less.

2) Great, let me recommend this absolutely amazing book called--

The first ones I can deal with easily enough: they feed my need
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Alfred Haplo
UPDATE Jul 11, 2019: It's terribly funny to see another book about "checklists", that almost seems to complement Gawande's with an equally Non-Succinct Title Beyond the Checklist: What Else Health Care Can Learn from Aviation Teamwork and Safety. Captain "Sully" Sullenberger appears in both books.

Original Review:

”These are…ridiculously primitive insights. ...But, really, does it take all that to figure out what house movers, wedding planners, and tax accountants figured out age
Apr 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm chagrined that I didn't do enough research about this book. I crassly assumed that "How to Get Things Right" denoted it was a how-to book, and that "The Checklist Manifesto" would have offered advice or instruction on the best ways and times to implement various types of checklists.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's nine chapters of anecdotes. Nothing more. It's the literary equivalent of someone derailing your conversation in a bar and killing the next three hours of your life with tedious, tangenti
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande, is an interesting book on the power of checklists in complex scenarios. Gawande is a doctor and famous author, and examines checklists mostly from a medical perspective. However, the application of checklists to various tasks transcends disciplines, and Gawande notes this. In various jobs throughout disciplines, oftentimes tasks can become muddled with interruptions and distractions. Even veteran doctors can forget simple things ...more
Nov 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Huma Rashid

Here's the thesis: checklists are good. Use checklists.


Seriously, that's all this book is, over and over and over. The author reminds me of my dad, who uses a 20 minute story to express an idea he could have said in ten words.

I gave it two stars bc there's a bunch of research adn story-telling and work that went into this book, obviously, but dear LORD is it pointless.
Iman Shabani
This one was on my top list to read for almost 4 years now, and now I was finally able to do it.

It was worth the wait, and I'm going to dig deeper into this book soon as it seems to have the potential to be used by everyone for one situation or another.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book really takes off after the first 50 pages or so. The author draws interesting parallels between the world of medicine and aviation, finance and construction – eventually concluding that something that seems as elementary and mundane as a checklist can be used as the ultimate tool of efficiency and even collaboration. I love the anecdotal style of writing which is comprehensive yet not boring at all 😊
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gorab Jain
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
Interesting details on how the checklist came into being, its different variations given by the real life examples mostly from healthcare and air force.
Didn't work that well and got bored with the repetitive examples and statistics on how a checklist helps.
Agreed how handy checklists are in this era of overflowing information and complexity.
This book propagates checklist like every damn process in the world could be improvised using a checklist.
Would have been interesting to add scenarios differ
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BOOK 1 1 10 Oct 27, 2017 05:52PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Page Count for ISBN 0143423223/9780143423223 5 13 Mar 07, 2016 10:49PM  
Mansfield Public ...: The Checklist Manifesto Review by Jennifer Olynyk 1 8 Jul 01, 2013 10:20AM  

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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
“Man is fallible, but maybe men are less so.” 26 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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