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The Checklist Manifesto : How to Get Things Right Paperback – 28 Oct 2014
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About the Author
Atul Gawande is the author of three bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better, selected by Amazon.com as one of the ten best books of 2007; and The Checklist Manifesto. He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for the New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In his work in public health, he is Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health system innovation, and Chairman of Lifebox, a charity making surgery safer globally. He lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.
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It is a difficult proposition classifying Dr Atul Gawande, the Boston based surgeon who writes really profound books into any genre. Is he a doctor writing on medicine or is he a philosopher discussing issues of life and death or do his books fall into the now popular category called ‘self-help’ or can one think out of the box and refer to him as a Management Educator. I think he is all of them.
My introduction to Dr Gawande’s writings was thru ‘Being Mortal’ which I rated 6/5 last year and also listed it as the best book that I read in 2014. I followed this up with one of his earlier books ‘Complications’ which also was thoroughly readable and insightful.
CHECKLIST MANIFESTO is one of his earlier books. While the world was simple and not overwhelmed with as much of science and technology, it was easy to do things…simple straightforward steps…mastered over a period of time…and the masters did it right. Unfortunately the world did not stay that way….from simple…it went into complex…..with multiple rules / algorithms / procedures….so how do you ensure that everything is done the way it should be done…so that nothing gets missed out…and we get results right ?
Burrowing thru his experience as a Surgeon and also from real life examples, Dr Gawande finally comes to the conclusion that ‘check lists’ is the best way of ensuring that everything is done the right way…when multiple work together and any complex job almost becomes an orchestra playing a symphony….if you want to get all the notes right…..let us be clear who does what, when before we embark onto a complex job…whether it is removing a tumor from a patient’s brain or serving customers in a Michelin starred restaurant. While the stories from the world of medicine come naturally to him, what is really admirable is Dr Gawande picking up real life stories from industries as diverse as haute cuisine and aviation. His description of the miraculous landing of a packed to capacity jet liner into Hudson without any casualty is riveting.
As I said earlier this is not medicine or philosophy or self-help or management education. It is all of them rolled into one…and an eminently readable book. The deftness of his writing is like a surgeon’s scalpel.
One of the best books that I have read in the last 6 months.
A very interesting book. But I was wondering while I was reading the book that in our country, India, do our hospitals use checklists to give better care to the patients.
What really surprised me was the overall concept of a boring, simple thing like a checklist improving medical care. Additionally, it was amazing to see how Mr. Gawande made the something as soporific as the subject of health policy, as specialised as surgery, and something as dull as construction come together and yield simple, powerful insights.
A brilliant (and pleasantly short) read.
The author, Style Gawande is as adept a story-teller as a surgeon that he perhaps is.
Takes you on a short world tour and establishes how the humble checklist is of paramount importance almost everywhere !
This book illustrates the utility of checklists while working in a group, their usefulness during emergency situations encountered at work.
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