There are two levels to the story of The Checklist Manifesto, a great new book by physician Atul Gawande.
The first level is about checklists: how to make them, how to use them and the extraordinary results that come from using them. The examples include hospitals that virtually eliminate hospital-acquired infections through the use of a simple checklist used in the operating room just prior to cutting the patient open. Other great examples are provided from the field of aviation. He explains that airline pilots not only have pre-flight checklists, they also have notebooks with sets of check lists to guide them through different kinds of crises. Construction provides another set of examples: how to assemble a complex skyscraper by coordinating the work of dozens of subcontractors. There’s even an example about the rock bank Van Halen’s inclusion of a clause requiring a bowl of M&M’s with all the brown candies removed as a way of the band ensuring that the other requirements in their contracts related to the safety of the staging were also read and followed. Read more