All Categories

The Checklist Manifesto How to Get Things Right

Atul Gawande




Trade Paperback

240 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Taxed with great and increasing complexity, even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies—neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy to this disquieting problem in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist.

First introduced decades ago by the U.S. Air Force, checklists have enabled pilots to fly aircraft of mind-boggling sophistication. Now innovative checklists are being adopted in hospitals around the world, helping doctors and nurses respond to everything from flu epidemics to avalanches. Even in the immensely complex world of surgery, a simple ninety-second variant has cut the rate of fatalities by more than a third.

Gawande provides real testimonials in the form of riveting stories. In Austria, an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater. In Michigan, a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. He explains how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements to procedure and increase positive results, even under the most precarious circumstances. And he follows the checklist revolution into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.

Gawande shows how one simple idea can make a tremendous difference. The Checklist Manifesto is essential reading for anyone working to get things right.


Praise for The Checklist Manifesto

“Few medical writers working today can transmit the gore-drenched terror of an operation that suddenly goes wrong—a terror that has a special resonance when it is Dr. Gawande himself who makes the initial horrifying mistake. And few can make it as clear as he can what exactly is at stake in the effort to minimize calamities.”—The New York Times

"Even skeptical readers will find the evidence staggering . . . Marshaling anecdotes and analysis, he implores the medical community to use checklists more widely. He also makes the case for rethinking teamwork and leadership in hospitals. While many surgeons are autonomous rulers of the operating room, he argues that decentralizing power among nurses, anesthesiologists and other physicians increases communication and reduces error. Thoughtfully written and soundly defended, this book calls for medical professionals to improve patient care by adopting a basic, common-sense approach."—The Washington Post

"A persuasive champion of his cause."—The Economist

"Gawande deftly weaves in examples of checklist successes in diverse fields like aviation and skyscraper construction . . . Fascinating reading."—The New York Times Book Review

"This is a brilliant book about an idea so simple it sounds dumb until you hear the case for it. Atul Gawande presents an argument so strong that I challenge anyone to go away from this book unconvinced."—The Seattle Times

“Fascinating . . . presents a convincing case that adopting more checklists will surely help.”—Bloomberg News

"Gawande argues convincingly and eloquently."—San Francisco Chronicle

"I read The Checklist Manifesto in one sitting yesterday, which is an amazing tribute to the book that Gawande has crafted. Not only is the book loaded with fascinating stories, but it honestly changed the way I think about the world. It is the best book I’ve read in ages."—Steven Levitt, author of Freakonomics

“A vivid, punchy exposition of an intriguing idea: that by-the-book routine trumps individual prowess.”—Publishers Weekly

In the Press

Atul Gawande's 'Checklist' For Surgery Success : NPR
The surgeon and writer talks about the massively complicated process of keeping patients alive and shares his simple solution for how that process might be streamlined. Gawande's newest book is called The Checklist Manifesto.
Top surgeon Atul Gawande urges doctors to use 'The Checklist' -
Harvard Medical School's Atul Gawande has written a book about how a simple checklist -- much like the ones pilots use -- can save lives.

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Some time ago I read a case report in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. It was, in the dry prose of a medical journal article, the story of a nightmare. In a small Austrian town in the Alps, a mother and father had been out on a walk in the woods with their three- year-old daughter. The parents lost sight of the girl for a moment and that was all it took. She fell into an icy fishpond. The parents frantically jumped in after her. But she was lost beneath the surface for thirty minutes before they finally found her on the pond bottom. They pulled her

Read the full excerpt



  • How to Perform the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist

    Atul Gawande and his team demonstrate how to properly use the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist.

  • How NOT to Perform the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist

    Atul Gawande and his team demonstrate how NOT to use the WHO Safe Surgery Checklist.

  • Better by Atul Gawande--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Atul Gawande's book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. The New York Times bestselling author of Better and Complications reveals the surprising power of the ordinary checklist. We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies--neither seems to prevent grievous errors.



  • Atul Gawande

  • Atul Gawande is the author of Better and Complications. He is also a MacArthur Fellow, a general surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He lives with his wife and three children in Newton, Massachusetts.

  • Atul Gawande Tim Llewellyn
    Atul Gawande