Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times
-bestselling author of Better
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.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"I read The Checklist Manifesto in one sitting yesterday, which is an amazing tribute to the book that Gawande has crafted. Not only is the book loaded with fascinating stories, but it honestly changed the way I think about the world. It is the best book I've read in ages." Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics
"Even skeptical readers will find the evidence staggering....Thoughtfully written and soundly defended, this book calls for medical professionals to improve patient care by adopting a basic, common-sense approach." The Washington Post
"This is a brilliant book about an idea so simple it sounds dumb until you hear the case for it. Atul Gawande presents an argument so strong that I challenge anyone to go away from this book unconvinced." The Seattle Times
"Gawande deftly weaves in examples of checklist successes in diverse fields like aviation and skyscraper construction....Fascinating reading." New York Times Book Review
"The Checklist Manifesto is beautifully written, engaging, and convincingly makes the case for adopting checklists in medicine, a project to which Gawande has devoted significant time over the last several years....It is in many ways the most personal of his books, a direct call to action to change the way health care is delivered through straightforward and simple, yet proven, means. It is a call that deserves to be heard and heeded." Journal of the American Medical Association
"The scope goes well beyond medicine....Read this book and you might find yourself making checklists for the most mundane tasks and be better off for it." BusinessWeek
The New York Times-bestselling author and surgeon reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist. Dr. Gawande explains how this simplest of technologies has helped doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches.
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. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people—consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever-advancing technologies, and still we fail. Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the checklist. In riveting stories, he reveals what checklists can do, what they cant, and how they could bring about striking improvements in a variety of fields, from medicine and disaster recovery to professions and businesses of all kinds. And the insights are making a difference. Already, a simple surgical checklist from the World Health Organization designed by following the ideas described here has been adopted in more than twenty countries as a standard for care and has been heralded as “the biggest clinical invention in thirty years” (The Independent).
About the Author
Atul Gawande is the author of Better and Complications. He is also a MacArthur Fellow, a general surgeon at the Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.