Uses multiple narrators to tell the story, each one revealing a bit more of the truth, which is intriguing. The only problem is the book is tedious anUses multiple narrators to tell the story, each one revealing a bit more of the truth, which is intriguing. The only problem is the book is tedious and the payoff is not worth the ride....more
When an author can't create anything new you end up with this. This is a Michael Crichton novel so you know you going to get a team of top-notch scienWhen an author can't create anything new you end up with this. This is a Michael Crichton novel so you know you going to get a team of top-notch scientists, some wealthy, eccentric entrepreneur, and a big scientific/horrific dilemma. The only problem is the entire plot. Here we have time travel. A wealthy, eccentric entrepreneur with some scientists figure out how to go back in time. They go to the middle ages. People get lost in time. Now, they need a new team of scientists to get them back. The only problem: the only reason the guy wanted to discover time travel was so he could create more realistic middle aged theme parks in our times. If you read that again and think that's a good idea, maybe you'll like it....more
Very interesting philosophy about what matters most and how reason is truest pursuit of knowledge. Unfortunately, some of the logical proofs are long-Very interesting philosophy about what matters most and how reason is truest pursuit of knowledge. Unfortunately, some of the logical proofs are long-winded without creating greater clarity....more
The other day I reviewed a relatively recent pop-psychology book called, The Art of Choosing. Along with many others, I casually mentioned author AtulThe other day I reviewed a relatively recent pop-psychology book called, The Art of Choosing. Along with many others, I casually mentioned author Atul Gawande. This book is his.
I’ve read all 3 of Atul’s books (we’re on a first name basis). They are all related to medicine. He’s a surgeon and a pretty good author. His first two, Complications and Better, discuss how medicine is in an inexact science with sometimes unrealistic expectations and the challenges doctors face trying to help their patients. They were interesting reads and I got to learn about flesh-eating bacteria and other stuff I hope I never contract. On a scale of 1-10, I give them B+’s.
Then he released The Checklist Manifesto. It’s not specific to medicine, but since that’s what he knows, it’s mostly about medicine.
Newsflash: Humans make mistakes.
We are also proven to be awful at multi-tasking. We can do menial tasks without much concentration and carry a conversation, but ask us to focus attentively on separate tasks and we fail…bigtime. Even when completing well-known tasks, over time we skip steps, we gloss over, we simply forget. I’m just happy I know what to do on the toilet (I think).
That’s where the checklist comes in. Checklists have been proven to reduce accidents and save lives in the aviation industry (and others). Pilots rely on them extensively. But doctors, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend prestigious medical schools, who aced their MCATs, who basically act like Alec Baldwin in Malice, generally scoffed at the idea.
This is the problem Atul faces in the book. Not only how to convert physicians and surgeons into checklist advocates, but deducing the best form and style the checklist should entail. Just having a checklist isn’t enough. In high pressure, time-limited situations, you need to cut the fluff and keep the crux. There’s an art to crafting an effective checklist.
It’s taken me only a few paragraphs to explain the heart of this book, the general premise of which is that checklists can be highly effective tools to reduce both surgical mishaps (e.g., leaving sponges and scalpels inside patients) and hospital-borne illness and infection (e.g., infected lines, doctors washing hands), and account for unforeseen circumstances by making sure the necessary backups are in place and lines of communication between colleagues are open.
Simple enough, right?
It only takes Atul 224 pages to cover the same content. Which isn’t even that long; 224 pages is basically just an excessively verbose novella. Most of his research came from a paper he worked on for the WHO (World Health Organization). He simply added some pop psychology type stuff, talked to people in aviation, stretched out some themes, and so forth.
Most likely, rather than read this book, I could’ve learned everything he had to say in a nicely presented infographic. As a result, I’m slightly bitter for having taken the time to finish it. One thing’s for sure, Atul has a checklist for how to publish a New York Times Bestseller and he follows it faithfully.
[Note: I originally wrote this review in July 2012]...more
This book deals with a person's purpose in life after he's figured out that life is pretty meaningless. Dalliances and soul-searching a plenty with soThis book deals with a person's purpose in life after he's figured out that life is pretty meaningless. Dalliances and soul-searching a plenty with some movie-watching thrown in for good measure. Makes you think about life, but it doesn't have any real answers, which leaves the book somewhat disappointing....more
This book will blow your mind. I think everyone should read it. Explains and uncovers the motives and goals of our current media and government, and dThis book will blow your mind. I think everyone should read it. Explains and uncovers the motives and goals of our current media and government, and details how we all need to join up in solidarity to help change the rotten, perverted direction our society is heading toward. It paints a grim outlook for the future, considering the institutional mechanisms in place, but it also shows that with effort and time, things can and will change. Written in a conversational/interview style that's very easy to navigate and understand. Plus, when Chomsky points out hypocrisies left and right, it's hilarious. Do yourself a favor, open your mind, pick up this book, and join the revolution! ...more