The Checklist Manifesto Quotes

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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
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“Man is fallible, but maybe men are less so.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“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.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Good checklists, on the other hand are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything--a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps--the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“We don’t like checklists. They can be painstaking. They’re not much fun. But I don’t think the issue here is mere laziness. There’s something deeper, more visceral going on when people walk away not only from saving lives but from making money. It somehow feels beneath us to use a checklist, an embarrassment. It runs counter to deeply held beliefs about how the truly great among us—those we aspire to be—handle situations of high stakes and complexity. The truly great are daring. They improvise. They do not have protocols and checklists. Maybe our idea of heroism needs updating.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“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: How to Get Things Right
“You must decide whether you want a DO-CONFIRM checklist or a READ-DO checklist. With a DO-CONFIRM checklist, he said, team members perform their jobs from memory and experience, often separately. But then they stop. They pause to run the checklist and confirm that everything that was supposed to be done was done. With a READ-DO checklist, on the other hand, people carry out the tasks as they check them off—it’s more like a recipe. So for any new checklist created from scratch, you have to pick the type that makes the most sense for the situation.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“There are good checklists and bad, Boorman explained. Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical. They are made by desk jockeys with no awareness of the situations in which they are to be deployed. They treat the people using the tools as dumb and try to spell out every single step. They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on. Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical. The power of”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“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.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“under conditions of complexity, not only are checklists a help, they are required for success.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Much of our work today has entered its own B-17 phase. Substantial parts of what software designers, financial managers, firefighters, police officers, lawyers, and most certainly clinicians do are now too complex for them to carry out reliably from memory alone. Multiple fields, in other words, have become too much airplane for one person to fly. Yet it is far from obvious that something as simple as a checklist could be of substantial help.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“And the reason is increasingly evident: the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“No, the more familiar and widely dangerous issue is a kind of silent disengagement, the consequence of specialized technicians sticking narrowly to their domains. “That’s not my problem” is possibly the worst thing people can think, whether they are starting an operation, taxiing an airplane full of passengers down a runway, or building a thousand-foot-tall skyscraper.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Listening to the radio, I heard the story behind rocker David Lee Roth’s notorious insistence that Van Halen’s contracts with concert promoters contain a clause specifying that a bowl of M&M’s has to be provided backstage, but with every single brown candy removed, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation to the band. And at least once, Van Halen followed through, peremptorily canceling a show in Colorado when Roth found some brown M&M’s in his dressing room. This turned out to be, however, not another example of the insane demands of power-mad celebrities but an ingenious ruse. As Roth explained in his memoir, Crazy from the Heat, “Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors—whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through. The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function.” So just as a little test, buried somewhere in the middle of the rider, would be article 126, the no-brown-M&M’s clause. “When I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl,” he wrote, “well, we’d line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you’re going to arrive at a technical error.… Guaranteed you’d run into a problem.” These weren’t trifles, the radio story pointed out. The mistakes could be life-threatening. In Colorado, the band found the local promoters had failed to read the weight requirements and the staging would have fallen through the arena floor.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Expertise is the mantra of modern medicine. In the early twentieth century, you needed only a high school diploma and a one-year medical degree to practice medicine. By the century’s end, all doctors had to have a college degree, a four-year medical degree, and an additional three to seven years of residency training in an individual field of practice—pediatrics, surgery, neurology, or the like. In recent years, though, even this level of preparation has not been enough for the new complexity of medicine.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Here, then, is our situation at the start of the twenty-first century: We have accumulated stupendous know-how. We have put it in the hands of some of the most highly trained, highly skilled, and hardworking people in our society. And, with it, they have indeed accomplished extraordinary things. Nonetheless, that know-how is often unmanageable. Avoidable failures are common and persistent, not to mention demoralizing and frustrating, across many fields—from medicine to finance, business to government. And the reason is increasingly evident: the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us. That”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Instead they choose to accept their fallibilities. They recognised the simplicity and power of using a checklist.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“The investigators at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere had also observed that when nurses were given a chance to say their names and mention concerns at the beginning of a case, they were more likely to note problems and offer solutions. The researchers called it an “activation phenomenon.” Giving people a chance to say something at the start seemed to activate their sense of participation and responsibility and their willingness to speak up. These”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized. They provide a kind of cognitive net. They catch mental flaws inherent in all of us—flaws of memory and attention and thoroughness. And because they do, they raise wide, unexpected possibilities. But”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“We are all plagued by failures - by missed subtleties, overlooked knowledge, and outright errors. For the most part, we have imagined that little can be done beyond working harder and harder to catch the problems clean up after them. We are not in the habit of thinking the way the army pilots did as they looked upon their shiny new Model 299 bomber — a machine so complex no one was sure human beings could try it.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“the real lesson is that under conditions of true complexity—where the knowledge required exceeds that of any individual and unpredictability reigns—efforts to dictate every step from the center will fail. People need room to act and adapt. Yet they cannot succeed as isolated individuals, either—that is anarchy. Instead, they require a seemingly contradictory mix of freedom and expectation—expectation to coordinate, for example, and also to measure progress toward common goals. This”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably. Knowledge has both saved us and burdened us. That”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“It is common to misconceive how checklists function in complex lines of work. They are not comprehensive how-to guides, whether for building a skyscraper or getting a plane out of trouble. They are quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals. And by remaining swift and usable and resolutely modest, they are saving thousands upon thousands of lives. *”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“checklists seem able to defend anyone, even the experienced, against failure in many more tasks than we realized.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Of all organizations, it was oddly enough Wal-Mart that best recognized the complex nature of the circumstances, according to a case study from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Briefed on what was developing, the giant discount retailer’s chief executive officer, Lee Scott, issued a simple edict. “This company will respond to the level of this disaster,” he was remembered to have said in a meeting with his upper management. “A lot of you are going to have to make decisions above your level. Make the best decision that you can with the information that’s available to you at the time, and, above all, do the right thing.” As one of the officers at the meeting later recalled, “That was it.” The edict was passed down to store managers and set the tone for how people were expected to react. On”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“The power of checklists is limited, Boorman emphasized. They can help experts remember how to manage a complex process or configure a complex machine. They can make priorities clearer and prompt people to function better as a team. By themselves, however, checklists cannot make anyone follow them. I”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“I tried not to seem like a kid who’d just been offered a chance to go up to the front of the plane and see the cockpit. Sure, I said. That sounds neat.”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“In a fire, the metal can plasticize—lose its stiffness and bend like spaghetti. This was why the World Trade Center buildings collapsed,”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“Medicine has become the art of managing extreme complexity—and a test of whether such complexity can, in fact, be humanly mastered. The”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
“That’s not my problem” is possibly the worst thing people can think,”
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

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