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The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right Paperback – 1 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (1 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683145
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By S. Yogendra VINE VOICE on 1 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover
Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right has come close on the heels of Umberto Eco's The Infinity of Lists. Both are about lists and both admit to the ability of lists to bring about order and control. Both books attracted me because I am a consummate checklist-maker. Despite my prejudicial preference for lists and reading about lists, it is a credit to the quality of Atul Gawande's writing that the book kept me absorbed for the 3 hours it took to read all 193 pages of it.

The author proposes "checklists" as a functional tool to deal with the limitations of human knowledge and the possibility of making mistakes in the face of complex problems. Using stories from construction management, airline piloting and disaster management, and surgery, he shows how checklists can be used to break down complex tasks into simpler steps, thus helping prevent expensive mistakes. The author delves further into two kinds of lists (Do-Confirm or Read-Do) using a story from how the airline manufacturing industry writes their "user manuals".

Early on, he points out that checklists are not some silver bullet, and that there is judgement involved. Some situations may benefit from checklists, while others may not need any. Later in the book, he also admits that to many, lists are protocols and embody rigidity. He then proceeds to illustrate why this needn't be so and to demonstrate the importance of team work and how checklists enable that discipline, especially in disasters.

I found Chapters 7 and 8 most fascinating. The stories told so far describe the complexity of the work/ task itself but these two chapters introduce another layer, that of institutional complexity.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Kettleborough VINE VOICE on 23 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover
October 30th, 1935. It doesn't seem that special a date until you realise that the consequences of a plane crash that day which raised the comment "too much airplane for one man to fly" resulted in the creation of a pilot's checklist to ensure that all the correct elements of the plane were checked and set in accordance with safe flight.

And so what you may ask? Well a number of years later the acclaimed surgeon Atul Gawande used the checklist to reduce death, injury and hospital re-admittance by dramatic amounts as his book ably testifies. But it's not just the medical profession that have benefitted from the humble checklist. Atul found checklists developed, used and refined by restaurateurs (if you don't follow the recipe then things change over time), builders, business investors (the checklist helps them keep their head, and their money) and even rock bands (there's truth in the M&M story after all!).

Within his book, Atul describes example after example where the simple checklist saves lives, increases profits and maintains quality.

This is an exceptionally well-written book with simple messages that can be translated into all walks of life. Excellent!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Nunn VINE VOICE on 17 Jun 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book puts forward a very compelling case for the use of simple check lists to assist in healthcare. These check lists should not be the controlling factor but should act as an aid to helping improve the levels of care given. This is an idea which has been received quite well in the healthcare profession in the U.K. With checklists for bothe Pre and post operative procedures being part of Lord Darzi's recommendations.

I first came across this book after Atul Gawande appeared on the Daily Show with John Stewart, and the common sense arguments that he put forward for the use of checklists were very compelling. Their use in scenarios such as Pre-flight have been invaluable and saved counless lives, and not by being monotonous list that dumb down procedures but provide an aide memoir to a skilled individual which helps ensure no critical element of a procedure is overlooked.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By W. Harrod on 21 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover
A great example of a simple tool having a huge impact in a complex environment.

The real value is in considering your own complex challenges, working to understand what really makes a difference, then finding a simple way to use it!

Simple, not easy.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By JaiCle on 19 Aug 2010
Format: Hardcover
The author makes a clear case for the advantages of using checklists in some types of work, showing situations where their introduction had very good results. He discusses what type of tasks are better suited to be assisted by checklists and how a good checklists are made.
You will find good ideas on how to make good checklists, but do not expect recipes (or checklists!) for doing them.
I usually expect this type of books to be quite repetitive, getting the message through in a few pages and then repeating it over and over. This is not the case, being quite enjoyable to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jan 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
How do you attempt to deal with a complex situation? Have a checklist in place. It won't solve all problems in all situations but it may well prevent an emergency becoming a disaster. The author investigates how checklists are used in the building trade, medicine and flying aircraft among other examples. I found it really fascinating how a simple list can eliminate common errors and how checklists can be used to help people deal with such situations as aircraft crash landings.

One of the examples which raised the hairs on the back of my neck was the author's detailed description of the plane crash from which everyone escaped alive where the pilot landed on the Hudson River in New York. Here checklists - how to restart an engine and how to prepare for a landing on water played a big part in assuring the safety of passengers and crew as well as the supreme teamwork of all the crew members. As the author explains checklists help to bring a team together and make them work as a team.

Where checklists are involved the whole team working on the situation are expected to provide input. If the most junior member of the team spots a problem they are expected to bring it to everyone's attention and the problem needs to be solved before they can move on. In an operating theatre it is clear that a checklist will help to stop errors or omissions happening and the biggest problem in using a checklist may be getting everyone involved in the process. Surgeons - including himself as the author freely admits - are reluctant to think anything can go wrong in their operations.
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