Saturday, February 27, 2010

I just finished The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

 I wrote about his previous two books here and here.  This book is more focused, and shorter, than both of his other ones.  Instead of being built out of essays written for magazines, this one feels like one piece of work.

It focuses on how checklists can be used to manage important tasks, whether they are simple, complicated or complex.  As a devout believer in checklists, it was a little preaching to the choir for me, but there were still some good sections.  The parts on what makes a good checklist versus a bad one, and the thoughts on the different types and uses of checklists were interesting and might show up in my work life.

One possible issue - he uses three main areas for checklist discussion - medicine, aviation and construction.  One thing he doesn't spend any time on is the fact that in two of those fields, time is often of the essence.  The book would have been well served in having a discussion of how checklists differ in those circumstances from other activities, like construction, where time is not an issue but consistency over repeated action is.

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