The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, law and the financial industry. 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 and safely. We train longer, specialize more, use advancing technologies and still we fail. However, we can do better and the solution lies in the most humble of places: the simple checklist. Checklists have made possible some of the most difficult things people do; from flying airplanes to building skyscrapers. And drawing on medical experience, applying this idea to the immensely various and complex world of surgery produced a ninety second checklist that reduced deaths and complications by more than one third in eight hospitals around the world, at virtually no cost and for almost any kind of operation.
"Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and a staff writer at The New Yorker, makes the case that checklists can help us manage the extreme complexity of the modern world. In medicine, he writes, the problem is “making sure we apply the knowledge we have consistently and correctly.” Failure, he argues, results not so much from ignorance (not knowing enough about what works) as from ineptitude (not properly applying what we know works)." The New York Times
"Gawande is a gorgeous writer and storyteller, and the aims of this book are ambitious. Gawande thinks that the modern world requires us to revisit what we mean by expertise: that experts need help, and that progress depends on experts having the humility to concede that they need help." Malcolm Gladwell
"The book describes Gawande's search for an ideal list that will achieve those things in any operating theatre, anywhere in the world. He devises one and tries it in his own practice. Lives are saved." The Guardian
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Checklists have made possible some of the most difficult things people do; from flying airplanes to building skyscrapers.
Avoidable failures are common and persistent across many fields; from finance, to business, medicine and government.
The volume and complexity of what we know exceed our individual ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely or reliably.
We live in the era of super-specialists; of those who have taken the time to practice, practice and practice at one narrow thing until they can do it better than anyone else.