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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right [Paperback]

Atul Gawande
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 4 2011

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 can’t, 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).


Frequently Bought Together

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right + Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance + Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science
Price For All Three: CDN$ 39.72


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Review

“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
 
“Few medical writers working today can transmit the gore-drenched terror of an operation that suddenly goes wrong—a terror that has a special resonance when it is Dr. Gawande himself who makes the initial horrifying mistake. And few can make it as clear as he can what exactly is at stake in the effort to minimize calamities.”—The New York Times
 
“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
 
“A persuasive champion of his cause.”—The Economist
 
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
 
“Gawande deftly weaves in examples of checklist successes in diverse fields like aviation and skyscraper construction. . . . Fascinating reading.”—New York Times Book Review
 
“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
 
“Fascinating . . . presents a convincing case that adopting more checklists will surely help.”—Bloomberg News
 
“Gawande argues convincingly and eloquently.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“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
 
“A vivid, punchy exposition of an intriguing idea: that by-the-book routine trumps individual prowess.”—Publishers Weekly

“Maintains the balance between accessibility and precision. He manages to be vivid without being gruesome. . . . —The Guardian (UK)
 
“Riveting and thought-provoking.”—The Times (UK)
 
“Eye-popping. . . Gawande writes with vigor and clarity.”—New Haven Advocate

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 Women’s 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.


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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm convinced May 7 2010
By Rodge TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This book seems to make a pretty strong case for the use of checklists. Of course we are exposed to more and less effective uses of checklists through the course of this book, and Gawande's experience limits us primarily to the realm of surgery, although he does get us out of the operating where he can.

The key to the believability of what he proposes here is a communication checklist and also a warning not to use checklists to do our jobs for us (i.e. don't put everything on the checklist, just key tasks that mustn't be missed or that are more frequently missed).

Of course, the challenge is in the implementation, which takes more work than making the case.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Checklist Manifesto April 6 2010
Format:Hardcover
An excellent read and opens ones eyes to how the simplest of mistakes cause the greatest problems and how easily they can be avoided:
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Applicable to every job ever Feb. 20 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that everyone who has a job should read. Loved the examples and am still using it in my life a year after I read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Getting the Steps Right is Hard" Feb. 23 2013
By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Atul Gawande is a physician interested in improving surgical practice. He reviews surgical cases with disastrous outcomes that could have been prevented and cites research claiming that nearly half of deaths that occur in surgery are in fact preventable. We read a detailed analysis of a drowning accident in which the young victim's life was saved against all odds. Why? Because the hospital staff had discussed and practiced the procedures to treat cold-water drowning ahead of time. They used no new knowledge; they just coordinated and communicated more effectively.

Gawande examines how human beings do things. There are two reasons we fail at complex tasks. The first is ignorance. We correct it by conducting research and building schools to increase our knowledge. The second and more common reason for failure is ineptitude--the right knowledge is available, but we do not apply it correctly. People continually forget, are distracted, or skip steps because they seem unimportant. This problem lurks below the radar; we don't recognize it, let alone try to solve it. Instead we send people off for more training to increase their knowledge.

What is needed instead is a simple way to remind people of what they know at the right time to make a difference. We have an answer, we just aren't using it. "Checklists seem to provide protection against such failures. They remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit. They not only offer the possibility of verification, but also instill a kind of discipline of higher performance."

The author examines checklists used by airline pilots, building contractors, investors and other physicians. In these professions work has become too complex for even a talented individual to perform alone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read! Feb. 1 2014
By Linds
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
everyone in every field, should read this book. A great way to ensure things get done properly so that future disasters can be avoided if not eliminated..............
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Format:Kindle Edition
Just read if, you'll see. There is a great lesson in there. Checklists will make significant difference in the results of whatever endeavour, not matter how simple nor complex, you undertake. If you value results, you will appreciate this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book. The whole point is to tell us ... Aug. 19 2014
By oGs
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nice book. The whole point is to tell us about his highly read NEJM publication. It's awesome when so many problems can be avoided by a single and simple idea.
Great read!
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars just living from stories of other
This book is meant to make money only. It feeds with unneccesary information from the lives and examples of others. And contents more a life biography rather than good tips. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Muhammad Saleem Pervez
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Good book. A great example of how lists can reduce human error. A great insight into the medical and aviation worlds as well! Worth the read.
Published on Oct. 28 2011 by Brad
4.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive and thought provoking
The book has an out-of-the-box-thinking vibe that does an excellent job convincing the reader of the benefits of using checklists in all walks of life and especially in the medical... Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2011 by Raf AK
4.0 out of 5 stars good
on time delivery and nice book. Before i bought the book, i actually got a chance to hear about this book
Published on Sept. 9 2011 by addisuhg
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprising little book!
I picked this book up only by chance and was happily surprised by it. Being a surgeon Gawande's examples lean heavily towards the medical community. Read more
Published on June 23 2011 by 2099
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner!!
Who knew a book about checklists could be so darn interesting?!? I bought this book because I'm a huge fan of Atul Gawande's writting but admittedly was not at all convinced on... Read more
Published on Feb. 2 2011 by Pauline LeBlanc
5.0 out of 5 stars Want to do something better? This may be your answer.
Gawande's Checklist Manifesto is one of the most helpful books I've read in the past 5 years. In very entertaining and persuasive style, he lays out how activities as complex as... Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2011 by A. Green
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