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The Checklist Manifesto

The Checklist ManifestoThe Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A compelling mix of anecdotes and research exploring the power of the checklist. These are not to-do lists but instead lists of minimum necessary steps to do a task right. Much of the book revolves around the author's own awakening to the power of the checklist while also talking with others in fields such as construction, aviation, and finance about how they use checklists. As such the core takeaways of the book at times can be a little lost in the text but overall the storytelling model makes for an entertaining read while making you aware of the power to improve outcomes with no increase in skills by simply using a checklist.

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My notes:

  • 8: ... we have just two reasons that we may fail. ... ignorance ... ineptitude ...
  • 39: [Checklists] helped with memory recall and clearly set out the minimum necessary steps in the process.
  • 51: You want people to make sure to get the stupid stuff right.
  • 66: ..., if you got the right people and had them take a moment to talk things over as a team rather than an individuals, serious problems could be identified and averted.
  • 70: They trust instead in one set of checklists to make sure that simple steps are no missed or skipped and in another set to make sure that everyone talks through and resolves all the hard and unexpected problems.
  • 120: ... provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps - the ones that even the highly skilled professionals using them could miss.
  • 123: With a DO-CONFIRM checklist ... team members perform their jobs from memory and experience, often separately. But then they stop [and confirm]. With a READ-DO checklist ... people carry out the tasks as they check them off ...
  • 137: ... the "pilot not flying" starts the checklist. ... dispersing the responsibility sends the message that everyone - not just the captain - is responsible for the overall well-being ...
  • 155: Suppose this was just a Hawthorne effect, that is to say, a byproduct of being observed in a study rather than proof of the checklist's power.
  • 168: ... [checklists] improve their outcomes with no increase in skill.
  • 182: All learned occupations have a definition of professionalism ... selflessness ... expectation of skill ... expectation of trustworthiness ... discipline.

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