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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things RightThe Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had met Dr. Gawande in New York a week or so ago and was quite impressed with his talk about “How To Live When You Have To Die”. The ChecklistManifesto is an easy read because the recommendations are practical and understandable. Dr. Gawande uses examples from medicine and aviation to make the point about how easy it is for people to forget things that can jeopardize the lives of others.

Being a pilot, I already appreciated the importance of checklists. When learning to fly, the checklist is fundamental. You learn to use it all the time, no matter how much experience you have. The book is replete with examples of how things went wrong in a medical setting when a simple step was skipped due to the frenetic pace of the operating room and possible distractions and interruptions.

No one likes to talk about the error rate in surgery, but suffice it to say that the numbers are non-trivial. Thousands of people are harmed in some way. Dr. Gawande believes that simple checklists can dramatically change the numbers. He cites studies where this is proven. His focus and enthusiasm for patient safety is having a positive impact around the world. I look forward to reading his two other books: Complications and Better.