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The Checklist Manifesto
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About the Author

Atul Gawande is the author of four bestselling books: Complications, a finalist for the National Book Award; Better; The Checklist Manifesto; and Being Mortal. 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 Founder and Chair of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally. He is also chair of Haven, where he was CEO from 2018-2020. He and his wife have three children and live in Newton, Massachusetts.

Reviews

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. (Jan.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

According to the latest World Health Organization international classification of diseases, some 6000 drugs and 4000 medical and surgical procedures are now available to clinicians to manage more than 13,000 diseases and syndromes. Delivering the benefits of all this specialized training and knowledge correctly, safely, and reliably has not been easy. As in his earlier works Complications and Better [LINKS??], Gawande's recurring themes here are the complexity and the imperfections of modern medicine, as well as the ever-present need to strive to do better. He fixes readers' attention on gripping medical stories while building the case for a manageable, sophisticated and yet simple solution to the human, sometimes life-threatening fallibilities that on occasion bring near disaster or worse to a sugical procedure. His answer to tense medical situations where unpredictability reigns: the checklist. In stories from fields as diverse as medicine, aviation, and construction, Gawande persuasively aruges how a diligently applied, studiously produced checklist strategy saves lives. In the last chapter, he shares how the checklist prevented a loss in one of his own surgeries. Verdict The author's many fans will enjoy revisiting his leitmotiv of improving human endeavor. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]-James Swanton, Harlem Hosp. Lib., New York Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"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 "Gawande manages to capture medicine in all of its complex and chaotic glory, and to put it, still squirming with life, down on the page. With this book, Gawande inspires all of us, doctor or not, to be better." --The New York Times Book Review on Better "Gawande is unassuming in every way, and yet his prose is infused with steadfast determination and hope. If society is the patient here, I can't think of a better guy to have our back." --The Boston Globe on Better "Remarkable . . . Brings to modern high-tech medicine the same clinical watchfulness that writers such as Williams and Sacks have brought to bear on the lives and emotions of often fragile patients." --Sherwin B. Nuland, The New York Review of Books, on Better "Gawande is a writer with a scalpel pen and an X-ray eye. Diagnosis: riveting." --TIME, on Better

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