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The Checklist Manifesto

How to Get Things Right

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


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, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist. First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.

In riveting stories, Gawande takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.

An intellectual adventure in which lives are lost and saved and one simple idea makes a tremendous difference, The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 30, 2009 – That humblest of quality-control devices, the checklist, is the key to taming a high-tech economy, argues this stimulating manifesto. Harvard Medical School prof and New Yorker scribe Gawande (Complications) notes that the high-pressure complexities of modern professional occupations overwhelm even their best-trained practitioners; he argues that a disciplined adherence to essential procedures by ticking them off a list can prevent potentially fatal mistakes and corner cutting. He examines checklists in aviation, construction, and investing, but focuses on medicine, where checklists mandating simple measures like hand washing have dramatically reduced hospital-caused infections and other complications. Gawande gets slightly intoxicated over checklists, celebrating their most banal manifestations as promethean breakthroughs ( First there was the recipe, the most basic checklist of all, he intones in a restaurant kitchen). He's at his best delivering his usual rich, insightful reportage on medical practice, where checklists have the subversive effect of puncturing the cult of physician infallibility and fostering communication and teamwork. (After writing a checklist for his specialty, surgery, he is chagrined when it catches his own disastrous lapses.) Gawande gives a vivid, punchy exposition of an intriguing idea: that by-the-book routine trumps individual prowess.

Customer Reviews

How good can a Checklist be?

Persuasive and compelling from start to finish, Gawande has written a gem. Who knew that checklists could be so interesting, or so important as an organizing principle to enable better professional performance? The singular achievement of this book is to convince you that checklists can (and should) apply to many more endeavors than just aviation's famous pre-flight checklist. Given the pedestrian ho-hum associations I had of checklists it's remarkable to be convinced of the radical improvements enabled by something so simple. Far from being robotic instructions that switch off thinking, a well implemented checklist empowers performance and innovation, especially in any complex undertaking. Gawande repeatedly illustrates the power of checklists by using case histories drawn from his own professional world (he's a practicing surgeon: wow, such interesting things happen in an operating room!). But he also draws from many other professional walks of life, everything from skyscraper construction to hedge fund analysis. Like only the best kind of non-fiction writing can do, Gawande's book doesn't just show you the data and pattern of a better idea, it promotes and enables insights as you read the book. I had many ah-ha! moments when I could connect the dots and see exactly how to profitably use checklists in my own work. Manifesto indeed!

An Interesting Read

The author is a masterful storyteller. In this book he provides numerous stories and examples of how different professionals use checklists to prevent mistakes, handle crisis, and complete complicated projects.

I would like the book better if he had introduced more practical tips for creating, managing and applying checklists earlier in the book. It seems like the best advice appeared in the second half of the book.

Checklist Manifesto

It is interesting to read about how the medical profession
recognized the value of the checklist and incorporated it's use
In surgery. I am aware that checklists can be a useful
quality control tool. The way the author presents how the
various disciplines use checklists and teamwork to support their
efforts makes for very interesting reading. This book gave
me a deeper appreciation of "surgical teams" and the
surgeons that lead them. It also left me wondering
if the use of another simple tool like the Pareto chart
has been considered for use in quantifying areas where
additional improvement can be made.

The Checklist Manifesto
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Medical
  • Published: Apr 01, 2010
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
  • Seller: Macmillan
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings