Jan. 4, 2019

Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande: How to avoid death, bankruptcy and cooking the wrong meal

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About the Author


Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, is a surgeon, writer, and public health leader. He is CEO of the

non-profit-seeking health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and

JPMorgan Chase to deliver better outcomes, satisfaction, and cost efficiency in care.

He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a

professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan

School of Public Health and the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical



He is the founding executive director and chairman of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health

systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer



Atul has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1998 and has written four

New York Times bestsellers: Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and Being

Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.


He is the winner of two National Magazine Awards, AcademyHealth’s Impact Award for

highest research impact on healthcare, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas

Award for writing about science.


(Source: http://atulgawande.com/about/)

About the Book


The Checklist Manifesto is a book about how the most complex and complicated scenarios

can be better managed with the structured approach of the simple (but powerful) checklist.

It includes examples from operating rooms, flight decks, hurricane recoveries, kitchens and

construction sites.


As life and work gets more challenging and specialised, this book documents the practical

journey Atul and his team went on to develop a safe surgery checklist to reduce potentially

fatal errors in operating theatres which was adopted in hospitals around the world.

Ultimately the message is one of humility; no matter how experienced or clever you are,

there is always a need for a process and a checklist to aid your own judgement.

BIG IDEA 1 (3:30) - Checklist helps save lives and money better than humans. In the ICU having a checklist helps avoid complications on 178 actions for a typical patient per day. In an environment that can be stressful, a checklist helps systematize the process.


In investment, a checklist is very important in decision making. It helps people make more balance decision without having their emotion get in the way the can cloud the judgement.  Important and critical moments should have a checklist to be systems driven and consistent.


In this age of complexity, the checklist helps us keep things in check.


BIG IDEA 2 (5:23) - How to checklist. You need to check the checklist with different teams and cultures; know what is important and make sure the language is clear. Confusion can arise if the language is too complicated, too wordy or if there aren’t enough words because it’s too concise.


Two types of checklist are read/do checklist and the do/confirm checklist. Both types of checklist if well-defined and and well-designed will change the communication of the team in a scenario.


In designing a checklist it’s important to have the pause point to make sure that there are clear points where the checklist is deployed and clear stages in a process.  Vitally, it’s important to know everyone’s role related to the checklist. Which brings us to...

BIG IDEA 3 (7:47) - Don't let the leaders run the checklist. For someone who have been doing something for years, ego can get in the way, for having to use a checklist. Know who’s role it is to run the checklist and don’t let that be the leader. While the leader doesn’t run the checklist, their judgement and experience that comes with time allows leaders to use them in a better, more structured way whilst reducing human errors.

Click here to buy on The Book Depository 

Music: Hyrule by Theevs Music 


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