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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. Atul Gawande Paperback – 1 Jan 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 254 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile; Main edition (1 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683145
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Amazon Exclusive: Malcolm Gladwell Reviews The Checklist Manifesto

Malcolm Gladwell was named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2005. He is most recently the author of What the Dog Saw (a collection of his writing from The New Yorker) as well as the bestsellers Outliers, The Tipping Point, and Blink. Read his exclusive Amazon guest review of The Checklist Manifesto:

Over the past decade, through his writing in The New Yorker magazine and his books Complications and Better, Atul Gawande has made a name for himself as a writer of exquisitely crafted meditations on the problems and challenges of modern medicine. His latest book, The Checklist Manifesto, begins on familiar ground, with his experiences as a surgeon. But before long it becomes clear that he is really interested in a problem that afflicts virtually every aspect of the modern world--and that is how professionals deal with the increasing complexity of their responsibilities. It has been years since I read a book so powerful and so thought-provoking.

Gawande begins by making a distinction between errors of ignorance (mistakes we make because we don't know enough), and errors of ineptitude (mistakes we made because we don’t make proper use of what we know). Failure in the modern world, he writes, is really about the second of these errors, and he walks us through a series of examples from medicine showing how the routine tasks of surgeons have now become so incredibly complicated that mistakes of one kind or another are virtually inevitable: it's just too easy for an otherwise competent doctor to miss a step, or forget to ask a key question or, in the stress and pressure of the moment, to fail to plan properly for every eventuality. Gawande then visits with pilots and the people who build skyscrapers and comes back with a solution. Experts need checklists--literally--written guides that walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure. In the last section of the book, Gawande shows how his research team has taken this idea, developed a safe surgery checklist, and applied it around the world, with staggering success.

The danger, in a review as short as this, is that it makes Gawande’s book seem narrow in focus or prosaic in its conclusions. It is neither. Gawande is a gorgeous writer and storyteller, and the aims of this book are ambitious. Gawande thinks that the modern world requires us to revisit what we mean by expertise: that experts need help, and that progress depends on experts having the humility to concede that they need help. --Malcolm Gladwell


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

It has been years since I read a book so powerful and so thought-provoking ... Gawande is a gorgeous writer and storyteller, and the aims of this book are ambitious (Malcolm Gladwell)

Riveting and thought-provoking (David Aaronovitch The Times 2010-01-23)

A welcome book ... packed with vivid writing, heart-stopping anecdotes and statistical surprises (Financial Times 2010-01-06)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 May 2013
Format: Paperback
As a professional nurse, I realize that life has become so complicated, that I want to give the best care possible, and that I need some help. Atul Gawande, is not the first person to come to the realization that checklists are the way to go. He has, however, written about his experiences brilliantly.

I have been involved in many health care improvement projects. This has all led to the realization that the way I practice my craft has changed enormously. One of the most important of these realizations is that we need to include the patient in every aspect of care. After all, is that not why we are here, for our patients? Who better to give us expertise from their advantage point. Dr Gawande has gone a step further and has looked at other professions and how they have overcome the complexities of their profession. The airlines, he discovered use checklists. Now, checklists can be cumbersome, you need to be able to make a checklist that is concise, does not take much time and will be used. Nurses understand that change with physicians can be a black hole. Often, each physician thinks their way of 'doing things' is the best. To corral them into using a checklist takes expertise and good outcomes. What Dr Gawande gives us is that by using a simple checklist for surgeons, outcomes for patients improved 46%. Unbelievable results. However, Dr Gawande has also told us that there has not been one day since he started using checklists that he realized he and his team might have overlooked a step. Certainly, not every step would have avoided a death, but each step will give better outcomes.

Such a simple thing, really, checklists. Busy people, caught in the complexities of life can change their ways and can produce better outcomes by using a simple checklist.
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