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40,000 HackerNews book recommendations identified using NLP and deep learning

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ekianjoonApr 17, 2019

This is described in the book called "the checklist manifesto". Very good book by the way.


FabHKonFeb 12, 2019

A nice book explaining some techniques used in aviation and how to transfer them eg to medicine is Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto.

KboPAacDA3onApr 17, 2019

The saga of how this checklist came into existence is detailed in Dr. Gawande's book The Checklist Manifesto.

zimpenfishonAug 29, 2017

Possibly talking about "The Checklist Manifesto" - http://atulgawande.com/book/the-checklist-manifesto/

It's an -excellent- book about the application of checklists to error reduction etc.

j4ah4nonApr 1, 2016

There's a book "The Checklist Manifesto" which describes this practice - a great, fast read.

dctoedtonAug 6, 2019

Atul Gawande's book, The Checklist Manifesto, said that WHO's surveys found significant resistance by surgeons to using checklists — but if they were going to be operated on, something like 93% of the surgeons said, in essence, you're damned right I want the surgeon to use a checklist.

DigitalJackonAug 9, 2016

The checklist manifesto was a great book. Probably time i read it again.

digita88onMay 21, 2014

Non-technical but some great concepts which can be adapted to programming:
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows
The Checklist Manifesto by Athul Gawande

w1ntermuteonMay 14, 2015

The Checklist Manifesto is a great book on this topic: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0312430000

fernlyonMay 5, 2016

Checklists applied rigorously have been _demonstrated_ to make a huge difference, see The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande [1]

[1] http://smile.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right...

iambotonDec 27, 2011

Yes! I've read "How to Live, or A life of Montaigne" and it _is_ brilliant, partly due to Montaigne being brilliant I'd recommend Penguins Great Ideas Book "On Friendship" by Montaigne. And seeing as you mention on of my favorites to, I'll be sure to check out The Checklist Manifesto, thanks.

calinet6onMay 6, 2016

Read "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande. Chock full of tiny, easy steps like this that make huge differences in outcomes.

yodononMar 26, 2021

If you're operating at a scale or in a domain where crisis-like issues are expected (which is probably true if you're asking a question like this), The Checklist Manifesto[0] is a great read.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/...

edpichleronApr 17, 2019

For people interested in this, I strongly recommend reading the Checklist Manifesto https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Checklist_Manifesto

A checklist is a practical tool to document processes.

FrejNorlingonFeb 6, 2014

Me too, recurring checklists is a very powerful tool.

A little "easter egg" is the backgrounds that comes after the first image in the header. Everyone who have read "The Checklist Manifesto" will understand. =)

ComplexicateonMay 4, 2019

"...how does an organization ensure the task still gets done?"

With something almost stupidly simple and low-tech: checklists.

(I'm reading "The Checklist Manifesto" right now, and the points it makes seem to fit perfectly with everything you mention.)

FabHKonDec 16, 2020

+1 on Atul Gawande's book The Checklist Manifesto. It's an interesting read if you're into aviation or healthcare or anticipate being in hospital one day.

dotancohenonApr 18, 2019

> This is described in the book called "the checklist manifesto".

You might notice that the book was written by Dr. Gawande, who implemented the checklist in the fine article!

zimpenfishonAug 29, 2017

"The Checklist Manifesto" is an -excellent- read on the helpfulness of checklists in preventing problems and mistakes (primarily from a surgeon and medical viewpoint but he covers airlines as well.)


dctoedtonJuly 26, 2010

For those who aren't familiar with the author, he's the brilliant Dr. Atul Gawande (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atul_Gawande), whose most recent book is the best-selling The Checklist Manifesto.

ycmikeonFeb 6, 2014

I really like this notion after reading "The Checklist Manifesto" and seeing how important recurring checklists are.

pooooglesonDec 16, 2020

If you want to read more on the background of this The Checklist Manifesto is a great book and has lots of applications when it comes to IT operations. Stupid checklists in markdown that you can check off as you go through have certainly improved our performance in ad hoc tasks that we don't automate.

igouyonSep 12, 2012

>> work from intuition a lot of the time <<

But work better when they follow a checklist!

"The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right"


wr1472onDec 16, 2011

Atul Gawande wrote the Checklist Manifesto (http://gawande.com/the-checklist-manifesto) which goes into a lot more detail about all this. I would thoroughly recommend reading it if you want to improve how you get stuff done.

wyuenhoonDec 27, 2011

The Checklist Manifesto is a great book. Short and offers lots of insights in how to manage risks and minimize silly mistakes. Must read for every system administrator and programmer who want to make sure every deployment works as smoothly as possible and every release as few silly bugs as possible.

tmalyonNov 28, 2017

You are talking about the book The Checklist Manifesto.

I use checklists for planning vacation trips and for grocery lists.

I also use them to describe processes at work. This has been the most helpful when on-boarding new employees in our group.

Swalden123onJuly 21, 2021

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is a book written by a doctor on the use of Checklists that actually got me using them in the first place :)

FabHKonMay 18, 2018

There's an excellent book, The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, that explains several transfers from aviation best practices to hospital best practices (primarily checklists and CRM, crew resource management). Captivating read if you're interested in aviation and not dying needlessly in hospital.

projectileboyonSep 22, 2010

This dovetails nicely with Atul Gawande's book "The Checklist Manifesto". Certainly we can't completely automate medical diagnosis and treatment, but we could go a lot further than we have thus far.

JugurthaonOct 18, 2020

"The Checklist Manifesto", by Atul Gawande, dives into how they looked at other sectors such as aviation to improve healthcare systems, reduce infections, etc. Interesting book.

0gddonNov 28, 2017

There is good book I can recommend on the subject by Atul Gawande: "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right" Basically, keep it simple.

ggrothendieckonApr 1, 2016

The author of the Checklist Manifesto also wrote an article about this in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/12/10/the-checklist

TomteonSep 6, 2015

The same author -- Gawande -- wrote the article about checklists in the New Yorker and then expanded it into a book, "The Checklist Manifesto".

Read the article, skip the book. The meat of it, and the most gripping anecdotes, are in the former, as well.

jdudekonMay 4, 2016

The story of this checklist has been covered in “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande. It’s a great read on how diligence in work can literally save lives. We can advance medicine by breakthrough discoveries that push our knowledge further, but improving how we apply the existing knowledge is just as (or even more) important.

greenyodaonJuly 25, 2013

At the end, this article mentions Atul Gawande's book, The Checklist Manifesto (although the title is mangled in the link). Gawande's 2007 New Yorker article that was the basis for that book can be read here:


islanderfunonAug 13, 2017

Currently reading "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right". Similar stories when it comes to medicine.

HankB99onJan 13, 2019

This patient survived. I worked in a hospital about 40 years ago. A young man came in with a laceration and required inpatient treatment. He was allergic to aspirin so the nurse gave him ASA (acetylsalicylic acid, AKA Aspirin.) He died. I wonder if that kind of thing still happens.

One effort to avoid this kind of problem is to use check lists. Book about that was published in 2009. (The Checklist Manifesto) https://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/...

mikestewonJune 20, 2018

It's a long-winded argument for using checklists, later to be turned into a book and a major motion picture. (Long-winded, but worth a read, assuming you can get past the paywall, if you haven't read The Checklist Manifesto.)

TomteonOct 31, 2016

I think his book "The Checklist Manifesto" is too long. It feels as if he didn't really have more stuff than this article.

billswiftonJune 18, 2010

Google - gawande checklist and you will get this article http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/10/071210fa_fact_... and a whole page of links to Amazon and reviews of his new book The Checklist Manifesto .

LuconNov 25, 2011

Good list. I'd add 'The Checklist Manifesto' by Atul Gawande ( http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/d... ), about how experts with decades of experience in highly complex tasks can still benefit from simple, short and obvious checklists.

mooredsonJuly 5, 2016

There's a great book called "The Checklist Manifesto" which talks about how simple checklists (of well known, basic best practices) can radically improve medical outcomes.

Seems like cleanliness should be on that type of checklist.

joe_bleauonJan 17, 2010

I think it's a really bad title. Something more like "Excerpt from new book 'The Checklist Manifesto'" would have probably gotten a lot more attention.

After reading this excerpt, it's going on my library list. (I'm a big fan of checklists.)

andrewaylettonDec 9, 2016

There's a movement towards checklists in healthcare, and the UK NHS is picking them up, as I understand.

I'm currently reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, a surgeon. Devops shouldn't be life-or-death, but I'd still like to learn and improve.

bambaxonDec 27, 2011

I'd like to mention two books because I can't decide which is greatest (they're very different):

- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (often quoted here, and rightly so; it's short and really really great)

- How to Live, or A life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell (a fantastic take on Montaigne's essays by a contemporary scholar with a refreshing take on everything).

kibibyteonOct 12, 2014

For further reading on the subject, I recommend taking a look at The Checklist Manifesto (http://amzn.com/0312430000), written by Atul Gawande, one of the doctors mentioned in the articles.

reagencyonJuly 2, 2015

You can greatly improve your performance by setting up internal and external reminders to check your assumptions and commo falacies.

Related: read The Checklist Manifesto.

tokenadultonJan 3, 2013

The Checklist Manifesto, recommended by multiple HN participants. I read it and learned a lot, and it's an enjoyable read besides giving you new perspectives on old problems.


inexplicableonDec 14, 2019

Not a new book; I’m reading The Checklist Manifesto [0]

I’m very impressed by how much is has clarified the importance of identifying repeatable steps for my team and ensuring they are accurately and successfully completed!

I’m looking forward to reading The Infinite Game [1]

[0] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6667514-the-checklist-ma...
[1] https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38390751-the-infinite-ga...

stormcodeonApr 9, 2018

The Checklist Manifesto. I had hoped it was going to be... I dunno, a guide to making better checklists and getting stuff done. It was however just a very long love letter to checklists, and why they are great, through a bunch of real world examples dealing with doctors and airline pilots. Didn't walk away with anything actionable.

FrejNorlingonFeb 6, 2014

Your app looks nice, good work.

When it comes to your valid concern about the safety of pilots using a always-online application I agree with you, that would not be very smart, but nowadays there is technical soulutions around this problem [0]. Alsow it is a hint to everyone who have read the book "The checklist manifesto" by Atul Gawande, I recomend it!

[0] http://diveintohtml5.info/offline.html

Edit: Sounded to harsh, not my intention.

bscofieldonDec 2, 2013

Gawande is one of my favorite non-fiction authors; I've learned a ton from his books and articles. I second (and would third and fourth if I could) the recommendation for The Checklist Manifesto here.

FabHKonOct 30, 2018

There's a great book by Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto, that talks about this transfer of best practices from aviation to surgery (including checklists and CRM). Informative and entertaining read.

I think it's extremely important, because the case of aviation shows that highly trained professionals make mistakes all the time. Now, bad mistakes in aviation are very visible (hard to ignore a crashed passenger jet). However, bad mistakes in surgery result may result in the death of one person that was sick already. So, it's very easy to "overlook" them.

I feel much more comfortable in a hospital that uses checklists and CRM.

muzanionNov 12, 2019

Healthcare, yeah.

It doesn't have the exponential effect, though, and it's a big market spread over many players. I'm sure it could be more efficient, but how much does that change?

Then again, reading the Checklist Manifesto, where a checklist made such a difference, that makes me think that healthcare can be far improved.

JumpCrisscrossonOct 11, 2020

> industry-standard automated tracking technology with (for example) bar codes and radio frequency tags, than a checklist

The book referenced, The Checklist Manifesto, is worth a read. Checklists outperform automated tracking technologies because checklists don't silently fail.

bakulonOct 3, 2018

This article seemed inconclusive. They identified some differences of factors between things going right vs wrong but didn’t follow through with a scientific study.

Atul Gawande’s “The Checklist Manifesto” comes to mind, where he argues that even experts need checklists to walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure. These complexities are such that it is easy to forget a key step or two. Following such checklists or written procedures minimize errors. He then shows how using checklists improves successful outcomes significantly.

mFixmanonJune 20, 2018

I've read most of Atul Gawande's books about the medical industry (Better, Complications, and The Checklist Manifesto) and I found the three of them extremely relevant to my career as a computer scientist. The latter book is by far his most famous, but IMHO the other two are much better.

This is a bold choice by Amazon, but it seems like a good idea even if it's just for name recognition.

anitilonSep 1, 2020

This article is what led me to read The Checklist Manifesto. What I loved about that book is that it works through all the traps around how these checklists can be implemented.

An example - Administrators typically want _everything_ on a list, because everything is important, right? However these lists need to be concise enough to be useful otherwise people just ignore them.

ghotlionFeb 21, 2021

Great context. I gained a lot of respect for aviation's use of checklists and procedures from the book 'The Checklist Manifesto'

In this case, something obviously went awry and it's both engineering, planning, and a miracle no one died or was crushed from debris from above. Regardless, comments like yours leave me feeling far more confident in this sort of thing.

rsobersonDec 17, 2012

It's so critical to foster a culture where "I don't understand" and (to risk going off on a tangent) "I don't think that's right" is acceptable, even if its an intern to a CEO.

Reminds me of The Checklist Manifesto which cites how OR nurses and doctors who communicated best--they know each others names and nurses can tell doctors "stop"--had fewer surgical errors.

ddseaonDec 29, 2019

- Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari - I really liked his views on transformation of happiness throughout history.

- Babi Yar (full version) by Anatoly Kuznetsov - after my discovery that the version I've read earlier was heavily censored.

- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

- Collapse and The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond

danpalmeronDec 16, 2020

> It's perhaps worrying given how low-hanging some of these fruit are - i.e. "Do we have the right patient?"

It turns out that while it's a good idea to check things this "low-hanging", the value is far larger than catching wrong patients, so don't worry too much!

Much of the value comes from essentially disrupting routine with an opportunity to stop, and from creating a culture of speaking up. I think the NHS was the organisation to trial having the nurse run the checklist, which had the effect of empowering the "lowest level" person in the operating theatre. Studies showed that even just having everyone in the room speak once increased the chance of subsequent communication, and ultimately improved patient outcomes.

Atul Gawande was one of the key people in designing and rolling out these checklists and wrote a book about it that I'd recommend – The Checklist Manifesto.

koantifyonApr 2, 2017

There are quite a few comments here on the use of checklists. Dr. Atul Gawande wrote at length about their usefulness in "The Checklist Manifesto".

We've released an iPhone app, Koantify Checklists:


It's a voice responsive app (i.e., Siri-like) for creating, maintaining, using, and sharing checklists.

(Based on the post we're commenting on, I guess our next step would be to recognize gestures like pointing...)

The app steps you through tasks by voice or text, and responds to your voice commands (it tries to provide optional "hands-free" operation as much as possible).

When you complete your checklist, the app optionally emails you (or a list of people) a detailed record of completion of the checklist, showing steps you completed, skipped, or possibly had to repeat.

For organizations, it's easy to export/import checklists. You can distribute by email, via iCloud, or you can download checklists from web links. For training, use of a checklist provides important reminders of how things should be done.

Feedback, comments, suggestions are most welcome.

dctoedtonApr 17, 2019

> Doctors (more generally experts or egoists) will be resistant to checklists because they find them unnecessary (given their experience or expertise).

At the end of Chapter 7 of Gawande's book (The Checklist Manifesto) is this revealing tale:


Nonetheless, some skepticism persisted. After all, 20 percent did not find it easy to use, thought it took too long, and felt it had not improved the safety of care.

Then we asked the staff one more question. “If you were having an operation,” we asked, “would you want the checklist to be used?”

A full 93 percent said yes.


AttentionStepFnonNov 2, 2010

I have read Driven to Distraction. I want to say I read it before I went to the therapist a decade ago, but I am not 100% sure.

This and other books (I recommend Delivered from Distraction, The checklist manifesto, The creative habit) helped form the core of my support structure, but I am not always good at using it. I keep revisiting my decision to get evaluated / take drugs but it comes down to this - I tend to use my weaknesses as crutches. It doesn't matter what the world labels my problems, they stem in my head and every non chemical way of dealing with them revolves around building habits that help address these. I am consciously eschewing drugs because I have a very addictive personality and I am just jumping ahead to working on my habits.

cellularmitosisonApr 17, 2019

There's an anecdote in The Checklist Manifesto which backs this up. I'm recalling from memory, so the details may be off, but when they tried to roll out a checklist program into a hospital, many of the surgeons resisted, feeling that it was insulting. After having used the checklist process for a while, this sentiment remained, but when surveyed "If you were going under the knife, would you want a surgeon who uses the checklist process", nearly all of the surgeons answered "yes". (when their own life is on the line, suddenly a checklist doesn't seem to repugnant)

DigitalJackonFeb 9, 2017

Read The Checklist Manifesto if you haven't already. Short book, leaves a big impression.

projectileboyonDec 9, 2017

Not really, although in the book "The Checklist Manifesto", Atul Gawande reports that having something akin to a "stand up meeting" before a surgery has been shown to reduce the likelihood of errors occurring during that surgery. And that brings us around to "agile" methodologies. I feel like most people agree that the underlying value system outlined in the agile manifesto made sense, and that many of the practices outlined can be useful, but at some point (scrum, maybe?) a particular set of practices got bundled up and sold as The One True Way of Doing Things, and then sanity went out the window. For example, test-driven development can be a useful tool for thinking about how to approach a problem, but of course it isn't the only way to write a program (see Ron Jeffries hilarious attempt to TDD a sudoku solver as a counterexample). But sadly, many teams aren't in a position to think critically about what they do or don't do - instead, they have to show that they're "doing Agile".

FabHKonApr 5, 2017

Absolutely. I loved Atul Gawande's book The Checklist Manifesto, about how to transfer safety lessons from aviation to the medical industry. Airplane accidents are somewhat more visible than individual deaths in hospitals, so the focus is clearly there, but I'm sure more people die of mistakes in hospitals than in airplanes.


tedmcory77onApr 17, 2019

Dr. Gawande’s book “The Checklist Manifesto” can be life changing if properly applied.

unpythoniconFeb 11, 2018

Another good one for project management is The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. When running many large projects, there's always a common set of stuff that needs to get done before declaring a project ready for deployment. The techniques in this book are simple, effective and a lot more subtle than simply writing down a list.

FabHKonOct 1, 2018

Originally developed in aviation as a consequence of accidents where highly trained pilots made (sometimes silly) mistakes, often while other cockpit occupants recognised a problem (and sometimes even spoke up, to no avail).

Anatul Gawande has an entertaining and insightful book, The Checklist Manifesto, in which he describes some components of CRM (such as checklists, huddles, non-hierarchical team structure & communication), and how they can be transferred to medicine, specifically hospitals. Good read, and I'd much rather be treated in a hospital where they use checklists & good CRM!

Edit to add: http://atulgawande.com/book/the-checklist-manifesto/

ArkyBeagleonMar 3, 2016

I would think so. Baseball is only a ... background element in the story, really. Warning: I used to follow baseball closely, so I may need to recuse myself :)

IMO, this is one book of a "trilogy" - the Kahneman book, "Moneyball" and "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande. They all came out in roughly the same time and are three different views on this problem.

MarkMconApr 17, 2019

A great book on this subject is The Checklist Manifesto [0]. An interesting point made in the book is that checklists help to correct the subtle psychological problems that occur in an operating theatre. Without a checklist a nurse who sees a potential problem might be hesitant to halt the procedure when the surgeon is ready to start. But with a checklist the surgeon must get explicit permission to begin from the nurse who is performing the checklist.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/...

forgotpwagainonJune 20, 2019

The stories in this piece really highlight the importance of having these tough conversations with family members about what you want to happen for your own medical care if the worst happened.

I really enjoyed Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (author of The Checklist Manifesto), that tells intensely personal stories about, well, the process of dying, and the increasingly prolonged tug of war between medicine and death.

One thing that may be a bit of a challenge is how quickly things change in the technology world. "Code Status" is medical lingo for the descriptor of what the patient expresses they want to have happen if their heart or breathing were to stop. Most people are full code - CPR, mechanical ventilation, etc. But patients can choose to be DNR/DNI, meaning "Do Not Resuscitate, Do Not Intubate", meaning very limited interventions would be performed.

As the tech gets better, I wonder if a more sophisticated decision tree might be needed in the future -- if XYZ happens where 30% of patients make a recovery, begin ECMO, but if ABC happens in which only 5% of patients recover, do not start ECMO.

zwischenzugonJan 3, 2017

Oh, the automation I'm speaking of there was the automation of human behaviour through following a script/checklist. It helped everyone - the juniors felt more confident about escalating, and they learned from it too.

(I'd read The Checklist Manifesto, which I couldn't recommend enough, BTW).

In more trad automation, I got a little obsessed by automating the construction of environments, but in a human-readable way:


and Docker (wrote this book):


See also:


I should really write up those experiences; the passage of time has given me more perspective on them. I don't work in ops anymore :)

LittlePeteronOct 11, 2020

Interesting question. Slightly related, the book The Checklist Manifesto argues for checklists in operation rooms, to prevent rare but disastrous cases like "scalpel left inside patient", or "wrong blood type administered".

So maybe a different version of the question could be: "Do you have more or less confidence in the operating team (surgeon, nurses) using a checklist?" After reading the book I would have more confidence.

westurneronApr 17, 2019

GitHub and GitLab support task checklists in Markdown and also project boards which add and remove labels like 'ready' and 'in progress' when cards are moved between board columns; like kanban:

- [ ] not complete

- [x] completed

Other tools support additional per-task workflow states:

- [o] open

- [x (2019-04-17)] completed on date

I worked on a large hospital internal software project where the task was to build a system for reusable checklists editable through the web that prints them out in duplicate or triplicate at nearby printers. People really liked having the tangible paper copy.

"The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande was published while I worked there. TIL pilots have been using checklists for process control in order to reduce error for many years.

Evernote, RememberTheMilk, Google Tasks, and Google Keep all support checklists. Asana and Gitea and TaskWarrior support task dependencies.

A person could carry around a Hipster PDA with Bullet Journal style tasks lists with checkboxes; printed from a GTD service with an API and a @media print CSS stylesheet:

I'm not aware of very many tools that support authoring reusable checklists with structured data elements and data validation.


There are a number of configuration management systems like Puppet, Chef, Salt, and Ansible that build a graph of completable and verifiable tasks and then depth-first traverse said graph (either with hash randomization resulting in sometimes different traversals or with source order as an implicit ordering)

Resource scheduling systems like operating systems and conference room schedulers can take ~task priority into account when optimally ordering tasks given available resources; like triage.

Scheduling algorithms:

TodoMVC catalogs Todo list implementations with very many MV* JS Frameworks: http://todomvc.com

alabutonDec 16, 2011

There's a subtle shoutout to The Checklist Manifesto - that book is amazing. I thought it was another GTD-style productivity book but it's not, it's a lot more than that. It studies several seemingly unrelated fields like medicine and construction to bring together unique insights into group collaboration and workflow on complex projects with lots of stakeholders. The chapter about venture capital has a bit of a Moneyball vibe to it.

mryanonApr 1, 2016

> Only through proper investigation was it discovered that a key factor was clinicians failing to put sterile dressings over the catheter site; the medical equivalent of not using antibacterial hand gel.

> The introduction of a five-point checklist - a marginal change - saved 1,500 lives over 18 months in the state of Michigan alone.

If you find this kind of thing interesting I can recommend The Checklist Manifesto. The book describes many other situations where the use of checklists has had similar benefits (particularly in health and aviation).

tokenadultonDec 25, 2012

The best book I read this year was not a 2012 release, but HN participants should read it if they haven't already. That book is The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande,


which was mentioned favorably in several HN threads this year. (Thanks to the recommenders here who reminded me to read this book.) The Checklist Manifesto is practical, exciting, and thought-provoking in balance, and it will help you do your work better, whatever you do, and enjoy your family life better, whoever is in your family. It's a great read; don't miss it.

collinfonJune 20, 2018

Literally just listened to his podcast he did with Freakonomics Radio yesterday. Definitely a great mind.

For all of you developers/operations folks out there, I recommend reading his book The Checklist Manifesto. Every team can learn so much from that book about their everyday practices. We read it at our company book club, and began taking checklists and documentation much more seriously which I attribute too much better productivity, operations and less siloed dev.

zefhousonDec 16, 2011

It's a good idea, but not so simple to actually get traction...

A couple years ago I was hired to build a checklist web app based on Atul Gawande's book, The Checklist Manifesto. Being the very idea that you're referring to here it's a very relevant example.

The guy who hired me has invested a lot of time and some money into trying to get traction but nothing has come of it. Granted he's probably not done everything perfectly, but he's put a lot of time into seeding the site with public checklists for different subjects and trying to get people using it.

As far as I know nobody uses the site. It's not that great but it provides some basic value and is definitely a minimum viable product including revisions, public and private checklists, ability to share and collaborate with others, pdfs, etc.

For those curious the site is here: http://expertchecklists.com/

muzanionNov 11, 2017

> 33 Strategies of War
> 48 Laws of Power

I keep going back to it because it applies in almost every conflict in life, from competitors to personal relationships to office politics. It's also very entertainingly written.

> The Checklist Manifesto

I know it cover to cover but someone impressive always keeps recommending it and I go back for a reread. Alas, it isn't very practical for a software engineer, where you face different situations daily. I really wish it was because I want it to work.

> Never Split the Difference

Negotiation is a very emotional thing. Most of the time it's simply negotiating with kids or the spouse. This book is completely amazing for it, but a lot of techniques feel unnatural. I brush up to find techniques I was using wrong or simply to remind myself to focus on empathy.

> Deep Work
> Mastery
> Peak Performance
> The Art of Learning
> The Power of Habit

My go to motivational books.

inceptivecssonFeb 1, 2019

Much like @muzani below, I've tried to apply checklists at much as possible after reading The Checklist Manifesto. It's a solid book with actionable advice and examples.

For business, I have multiple SOPs, which are all effectively checklists:

* My daily marketing routine, with what to do and links directly to where I need to go.

* Monthly invoicing procedures.

* How to perform my roadmapping service (send this, update that, schedule this, etc.)

* Every README I write for dev projects will include a checklist of deployment procedures and how to update critical things.

I'll also occasionally write down a physical "ToDo" list, which ends up being a checklist that I just go down. This is more for reducing executive function in the mornings, and making sure I don't forget anything.

For my personal life, I don't operate off of a specific checklist day to day. Instead, I have an alarm app with absolutely everything I need to do each day, and when it needs to be done. I also rely on my Google Calendar for reminders.

Ultimately, knowing what to do is important, but knowing when to do it is also important.

neomonAug 6, 2019

I've tried to read The Checklist Manifesto twice now, and I couldn't because I'm too squeamish.

dritedonSep 4, 2017

Here's some: with why I like them

Thinking, problem solving related:

Superforecasting by Philip Tetlock: accurate forecasting

Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman: how to avoid bias

Misbehaving: like thinking fast and slow but more hilarious

The checklist manifesto by Atul Gawande: the power of simple process

From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin: lots of mental models to add to your latticework

Business management:

The Outsiders by William Thorndike: capital allocation

The hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz: some mental models for managers facing the real-life struggles of startups

Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake masters: for the chapter on what kinds of business are always going to be tough (i.e. ones in perfectly competitive industries)


The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why violence has declined

The making of modern economics by Mark Skousen (audiobook): explains various economic ideas through telling the history of the fathers of those ideas.


You can be a stock market genius by Joel Greenblatt: where to look for undervaluation

The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence Cunningham: Buffett's thoughts in Buffett's words, neatly categorised by topic

Competition Demystified by Bruce Greenwald: how to identify a high quality business

klenwellonApr 17, 2019

A speculative hypothesis related to this (based on my own experience as someone who has read the Checklist Manifesto and is a big advocate for checklists):

Over time people internalize the checklists because they unwittingly conclude the reason for the checklist is to learn a new procedure rather than foolproof their procedures and avoid errors. As a result, they start to skip the checklist or get sloppy with it.

There are a couple other points related to this that I believe Gawande does address in his book:

1. Doctors (more generally experts or egoists) will be resistant to checklists because they find them unnecessary (given their experience or expertise).

2. Checklists need to managed with regular review and updates.

You can boil Gawande's book down to: "Start using checklists because they're really effective." But his book goes deeper than that and addresses some of the underlying human factors involved in getting an organization to use checklists effectively.

dharmononNov 26, 2016

I generally agree, although some books don't need the week-long time to digest what they are saying and process the implications.

For most "pop" books, they are often either based on a long-form article (commonly New Yorker or The Economist) or have a long-form article that summarizes them. I have switched to just reading that instead and saving my reading time for more "meaty" books.

As some examples, off the top of my head: The Checklist Manifesto, Simple Rules, The Long Tail, anything by Gladwell. I didn't need to read the whole book of any of those; the long-form article covered it.

richsinonFeb 24, 2013

Try reading or listening to "The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right". I believe Jack Dorsey gives it to each of his employees. As you learn independently you will find long term success in mastering your own process.

I agree with the other comments regarding breaking projects into small chunks. I have found success just finding the most recommended resources and then organizing it in order of beginner to advanced. Build your own curriculum with all of the resources you have gathered.

Structure is important even if it needs to be self imposed.

Don't be too concerned with being super efficient in what you learn because resources will overlap in content, some more than others. The overlapped content is usually fundamental and never a bad thing to go over more than once with a different perspective.

You seem to be very driven and kudos for attacking your personal development full steam.

dansoonFeb 9, 2012

I recommend reading Atul Gawande's books:

The Checklist Manifesto


He's a New Yorker writer and practicing surgeon. His books contain lots of insight about ways that medicine could be vastly improved by innovation. Unfortunately, few techies are doctors.

bloopernovaonAug 24, 2020

My takeaway from the recent trend in articles talking about how great the Zettelkasten method is:

Document what you do, as if you were describing your work and/or learning to a stranger. That stranger is you, in 6 months to 5 years time.

Maintaining that enthusiasm and finding the time to document is difficult, but the results are very valuable because you are building a "second brain". That extra brain can be indexed, searched, tagged, analyzed, and edited using many powerful tools.

Don't waste energy chasing fancy tools and methodologies without already having a simple workflow in place. In other words, don't go all out learning Emacs+org-mode+org-roam when you already have a directory of text file notes. Once you have a good idea of what works for you, then introduce tools designed to make your life easier. (I say this as someone who uses Emacs+org-mode+org-roam every day)

Oh and read "The Checklist Manifesto" and "How to take Smart Notes".

m33k44onJune 24, 2019

Also there is Dr. Atul Gawande's "The Checklist Manifesto".

virtuabhionFeb 1, 2017

Here's the book on this topic-

The Checklist Manifesto https://smile.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Righ...

shawnbadenonJuly 11, 2017

This reminded me of a passage on pilot checklists from The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande:

> Commercial pilots have been using checklists for decades. Gawande traces this back to a fly-off at Wright Field, Ohio, in 1935, when the Army Air Force was choosing its new bomber. Boeing's entry, the B-17, would later be built by the thousands, but on that first flight it took off, stalled, crashed and burned. The new airplane was complicated, and the pilot, who was highly experienced, had forgotten a routine step.
> From http://old.seattletimes.com/html/books/2010737113_br08checkl...

goopthinkonJuly 7, 2020

1. "An Elegant Puzzle - Systems of Engineering Management" by Will Larson. His blog & "Staff Eng" posts are helpful as well. https://lethain.com/tags/staff-eng/

2. "The Phoenix Project", "The Unicorn Project" (novels), and "DevOps Handbook" by Eugene Kim, on how different parts of a tech + non-tech organization come and work together.

3. "High Output Management" by Andrew Grove on overall technical management.

4. "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr on setting objectives and measuring their progress.

5. "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande on thinking through replicable processes.

6. "Who" by Geoff Smart on hiring.

7. "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek and "The Culture Code" by Daniel Coyle on creating culture and reasons for why people do the work. It's an important part of any management process, double import because of how often it is lost in technical management.

godelmachineonJan 24, 2018

Reminds me of the book - "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande

ndiscussiononJune 22, 2018

With Git, creating a branch and merging into master takes mere seconds.

It's not about distrust - it's about making systems reliable. People make mistakes. Having things branched out from master means that those mistakes aren't as damaging.

Using other branches does not require you to institute onerous restrictions. I don't understand what this author is arguing against - it reminds me of a comment on another recent submission:

> In his book, The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande reports that at the end of a big checklist pilot project for the World Health Organization (IIRC), participating surgeons were surveyed.

> • One of the survey questions was, in essence: Would the use of checklists improve your surgical practice? Most of the surgeons responded no. This was consistent with the resistance that Gawande encountered: I don't need no stinking checklist; I'm a good surgeon!

> • But the more-telling survey question was this: Would you want another surgeon to use a checklist if operating on you or one of your family members? Something like 93% of the surgeons surveyed responded ... yes.


verisimilitudeonJune 20, 2018

Also, I think Gawande _wrote_ "The Checklist Manifesto"!

dchukonOct 31, 2016

The Checklist Manifesto is one of the few "pop" business books that fundamentally changed some of the ways I work. I manage a decent sized teams and it's almost become an inside joke with my team that I expect a checklist for any process anyone executes.

It often seems trivial, but the few times it has helped catch something critical that we would otherwise assume just worked has more than paid for itself. There is a bit of fluff in the book, but there's also great actionable advice in there.

cwbrandsmaonSep 2, 2016

* Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

* Freakenomics

* Slideology

* The Checklist Manifesto

Micaiah_ChangonMar 7, 2015

Have you ever read The Checklist Manifesto[0]? I may be reading too much into this post, but the lessons you learned from this interview process have frighteningly close parallels to the lessons in the books. I doubt the book had any influence on your interview process, seeing as it was published after the interviews were formalized, but the book seems like it might have new lessons.

For example, a good portion of doctors absolutely hated using checklists. Yet, when pressed, readily admitted that it prevents simple mistakes and that they would prefer to have them rather than not to. Another is that entries that address more human concerns, e.g. "Have everyone introduce themselves", have a place on good checklists.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Checklist-Manifesto-How-Things-Right/d...

dctoedtonJune 20, 2018

In his book, The Checklist Manifesto, Gawande reports that at the end of a big checklist pilot project for the World Health Organization (IIRC), participating surgeons were surveyed.

• One of the survey questions was, in essence: Would the use of checklists improve your surgical practice? Most of the surgeons responded no. This was consistent with the resistance that Gawande encountered: I don't need no stinking checklist; I'm a good surgeon!

• But the more-telling survey question was this: Would you want another surgeon to use a checklist if operating on you or one of your family members? Something like 93% of the surgeons surveyed responded ... yes.

maxericksononAug 22, 2016

You've heard of The Checklist Manifesto?

Medicine features in it.

muzanionJan 30, 2019

I've tried to checklist my life for years after reading The Checklist Manifesto. I later learned that the best checklists are not in the form of checklists.

Development checklists are often in the form of templates. E.g. https://html5boilerplate.com/

Life checklists are in the form of routines and rituals. For example, brush teeth, shower, put on clothes, comb hair every morning. These should actually be sorted out and optimized. I have a basket for "smart casual" clothes, a basket for simply "casual" clothes, a place to dump dirty clothes, and things like toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo go into the exact same location every day. Instead of boxes you tick off, you optimize a route. I'd recommend doing one for all the major things in life - shopping for food, locking up the office, laundry, taking care of the cats, exercise, and so on. If you tend to forget something, label things. Like sometimes the comb is not enough reminder to comb my hair, so I put capital letter "COMB" at eye level.

I teach classes too. I used to keep a checklist of what to teach, but it's easier to have PowerPoint slides instead. This is obvious to most people, but took me months to figure out.

For my checklist apps I keep only two lists: Things to do ASAP ("today") and things to do later/backlog. This is the technique Marc Andreessen recommends.

jen729wonApr 17, 2019

This is why I use OmniFocus for my travel checklist: nested lists. If I’m not going on a ‘work trip’ I can just tick that whole sub-list off with one tap.

Checklists FTW. Nobody above me has mentioned Atul Gawande’s book ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ so, just on the off-chance you’re not aware of it, there you go. I loved it. (Gawande is the doctor who implemented the checklist in this article.)

rcavezzaonDec 28, 2016

I've tried to do consistently many times, and usually fail. I'm trying to do this consistently now. I'm reading the Checklist Manifesto, so I have a checklist of things I want to do after I wake up and things I want to do before bed. It's pretty simple, like write something and read something before picking up your phone. I'm keeping it really simple and subjective so I keep up with it.

In 2017, I want to improve my memory and be more thorough, and I hope this will help.

This may sound trivial, but when I get into the office and someone asks me what I did over the weekend, I don't typically have an answer on the tip of my tongue. After trying this a few times, it's quicker for me to answer before going to the copout answer of "nothing". Usually, my nights are pretty boring though, lol - gym, reading, bath/reading, writing, coding, sleep - in a random order.

js2onApr 28, 2019

I highly recommend “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande. One of the points that Gawande discusses is that checklists cannot be too detailed. He discovered this in working with the WHO when their first surgical room checklist attempt was a complete failure because it had too many steps (chapter 5, the first try). In chapter 6, he then revisits flight checklists and writes:

“Some tone after that first miserable try, I did what I should have done to begin with. I went to the library and pulled out a few articles on how flight checklists are made. As great as construction-world checklists seemed to be, they were employed in projects that routinely take months to complete. In surgery, minutes matter. The problem of time seemed as serious limitation. But aviation had this challenge, too, and somehow pilots’ checklists met it.”


“It is common to misconceive how checklists function in complex lines of work. They are not comprehensive how-to guides, whether for building a skyscraper or getting a plane out of trouble. They are quick and simple tools aimed to buttress the skills of expert professionals. And by remaining swift and usable and resolutely modest, they are saving thousands of lives.”

mikestewonAug 11, 2020

I unfortunately spent a good deal of time in hospitals from last Christmas (yes, literally Christmas) to mid-March. I noticed no hall monitor even at the university hospital, and having read The Checklist Manifesto, out of curiosity I was paying attention to hand washing. As I recall, most if not all washed hands as one would hope.

hello_motoonDec 30, 2011

There are tons of business books these days and I felt that most of them have become a "Self-Help Business" books as opposed to understanding/textbook-y kind of books.

I have no problem at all with "Self-Help Business" type of books. But authors, could you please reduce the number of pages to the very essentials?

Can "Lean Startup" book be reduced to 100-150 pages instead of 338 pages?

Can "The Checklist Manifesto" book be reduced to 80-100 pages?

What's the essentials of your words? I don't need reams of "here's a story to convince you more". These are called "Use-Cases" or "Business-Cases". Separate them to another book, or put them in your website as a pay/free PDF download PER business-cases (or bundle them, whichever).

Those "stories that try to convince the theory works" sound too fluffy when the author cherry-pick a specific event/case that match with the point they're trying to deliver.

djhaskin987onFeb 25, 2020

Well, I have written this: https://git.sr.ht/~djhaskin987/onecli/tree/master/doc/rfc.rs...

It took me a couple of days to write. Does it seem clear to you? Would you be able to take it and run?

My guess is that you wouldn't because I haven't tested and made sure that the spec was clear.

Atul Gawande in his book "The Checklist Manifesto" makes the point that specs (in his case, checklists) are like programs in that they need to be tested and tweaked many, many times over the course of several iterations before they are clear, actionable, and useful.

Thinking of it this way, a spec is like a human program: it is telling the human what to do, or at least (as in declarative programming) what is wanted. like a normal program, it needs "work" (revisions, having a different person / "compiler" read the work and comment) before it shines, just like any writing.

Or you could come back from reading that spec that I linked to and think "Wow this sounds clear, I could implement this." In which case I'd be wrong, because I wrote that in one go.

kevanonMay 4, 2016

If you have a chance I'd recommend reading The Checklist Manifesto [1]. There's data showing that checklists are effective in medical settings. The point of checklists is not to give you a flow-chart of exactly what to do. Their purpose is to minimize human error in routine-but-complex tasks while still allowing professionals the freedom to respond to irregular situations. Medicine, like flying a modern aircraft, has become so complex that even the best practitioners make errors in routine tasks at a surprising frequency, unless they have effective systems in place to prevent them.

[1] http://atulgawande.com/book/the-checklist-manifesto/

roguecoderonMar 28, 2012

How well a team works together depends on far more than how smart the component engineers are. One clever engineer may be sufficient for a Suduku problem, but it is a matter of scale.
This fellow is basically arguing that we don't need government because people get along just fine on their own. Which is absolutely true on an individual scale, and not at all true as soon as two people live next door to one another.

In my experience 90% of software problems are social problems. He seems to care only about technical problems, and assumes those are solved by the magic of intelligence. I believe that if you can not explain to someone else how to do what you do, you aren't actually a master of your craft. Appeals to hire smarter coders sound incredibly hollow unless they are accompanied by techniques to make the average coder smarter.

There are much better critiques of Agile out there, mostly having to do with how it has been sold. I'm not sure what he thinks he is contributing to the discussion.

Any process can be harmful. It can also be incredibly useful, and the lack of process is at least as harmful as process applied badly. I recommend the book "The Checklist Manifestos" for examples. It proposes that the goal of process is to handle routine complexity and make cooperation routine, leaving human attention and effort free to focus on the actual hard problems.

as17237onJuly 11, 2016

* In Defense of Liberal Edication By Farred Zakaria

* Confidence Men By Ros Suskind

* Dark Money by Jane Meyer

* Better by Atul Gawande

* The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

* Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

* Contagious by Jonah Berger

* Sapiens by Yuval Harari

* The Pentagons Brain by Annie Jacobson

* Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

* The Only Game in town by Mohamed El-Erian

* The Industries of Future By Alec Ross

duncanawoodsonJan 9, 2015

I recently read Atul Gawande's "The checklist manifesto" which covers applying aviation style check-lists to surgery. The outcome was a 30% reduction in post-surgical complications.

From reading this, I see how bad most software process check-lists are. They tend to be laundry lists mixing obvious minutia and vague uncheckable goals. They are not practical executable tools but well meaning documents that are ignored at the error prone moments when a check-list has the most potential impact.

A check-list for a good check-list:

1. Plan for a specific trigger giving a single pause point of up to 30-90s at which point the check-list is opened and executed

2. Decide whether it is a DO-CONFIRM or READ-DO list

3. Design to engage the brain rather than switch it off

4. 5-9 items at most

5. Don't include any action that is rarely forgotten i.e. the criteria for inclusion is the probability and cost of error. This is very different from listing the most important steps or attempting to fully document a process.

6. Regularly test and measure the check-list for effectiveness

I would say Fog-creek's article is in the "read once" training material category and not a practical check-list. For a real check-list, I would interview the team and examine recent commits and look for the 5 most serious real issues you are experiencing that you need to eliminate from future code. That is a now a review check-list you can mandate, measure and iterate.

meeritaonMar 21, 2013

I just finished The Checklist Manifesto. Jack Dorsey gift this when you enter Square.

dctoedtonAug 31, 2020

The author, Dr. Atul Gawande, is more than a bit of a rock star. He's a Rhodes Scholar and MacArthur Fellow "genius grant" recipient. He wrote, among other things, The Checklist Manifesto, having headed up (IIRC) a World Health Organization project to implement short, bang-for-the-buck preincision checklists for surgeries, which apparently improved outcomes dramatically.


wiscoDudeonJune 27, 2019

After my partner read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, he set out to help other organizations improve outcomes via the use of checklists. Together, we built https://www.manifest.ly

My main feedback from having witnessed thousands of organizations set up their checklists is that they can be used to help teams succeed and they can be used in an oppressive way to "ensure people do what they're supposed to do". Almost always they contain too many steps compared to what they should have and that is usually because the people creating/editing the checklists are often not the users of the actual checklist. When the users and editors are the same people, then the quality of the checklist goes up. We use our own tool on a daily bases for processes that have high risks or for processes that we don't do very often. They are great safety nets.

akavelonJuly 16, 2018

Can you try to list some example of what you have on your checklist? It'd help me understand your particular trouble, currently I don't have a good idea of it. Also, haven't read "the checklist manifesto", I understand you mean the book by the title. On technical side, there are pre-commit, pre-push etc. hooks in git, and bots like Travis-CI for github.

RyanMcGrealonNov 20, 2012

Required reading: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

sundarurfriendonAug 2, 2016


* 'Better' by Atul Gawande (also his 'Complications' and of course 'The Checklist Manifesto')

* 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson.


* 'Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders' by Neil Gaiman

* 'The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss

Graphic novels ("comics"):

* 'Watchmen' by Alan Moore

* 'Promethea' by Alan Moore (actually I'm halfway through this, and loving every bit of it)

Special mentions:

* 'How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big' by Scott Adams - I only gave this a 4-star rating on Goodreads when I finished it, but I'm finding that I'm usefully applying more and more of the things I learnt from this book as the months go by.

* 'Yoga Benefits Are in Breathing Less' by Artour Rakhimov - to be considered more of an article, taught me useful stuff about O2/CO2 balance in the body, their respective effects, and hence ultimately the effects of different rates of breathing.

sundarurfriendonAug 9, 2016

I've thought this way about other books, and seen this thought expressed about The Checklist Manifesto ("it should have been a 20 page pamphlet"). But I feel that most of the length (say, at least 75% of the book's published length) is necessary and justified.

Not because the concept itself requires so many pages to understand, but because it takes several repeated high-profile examples of checklists making a big difference, before the feeling of "it's just a checklist, what's the big deal" - that a lot of people express upon hearing the idea first - is replaced with understanding and internalization.

yaddayaddaonJan 31, 2013

There's a field known as "Instructional Technology" or "Learning Technology" that studies how to optimize instruction, training, and educational experiences. The difference that the author articulates is the difference between two major schools of thought in this field: Behaviorism and Constructivism.

The hand-holding, specifications approach taken by American College Board is an example of Behaviorism. While Project Euler's structured, incremental challenges are examples of Constructivism.

Within IT, there are certainly adamant followers of both schools of thought. But, as with many facets of life, the middle ground is normally better than either extreme.

For example, would you like your next pilot or ER doctor to have ONLY learned the Project Euler way? (If you say yes, you really need to stop what you're doing and read "The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right" by Atul Gawande.)

On the flip side, when you come down with some extremely rare condition, do you want your doctor to have ONLY learned the American College Board way?

Similarly, programming and computer science have facets that are best addressed through Project Euler challenges, and others that are better addressed through CodeAcademy hand-holding and lessons based on detailed American College Board objectives.

alabutonDec 10, 2011

I thought waterfall was a strawman too, until I read The Checklist Manifesto and started learning more about other industries.

For example, large-scale construction projects like skyscrapers are run by gantt charts and committees, which sounds unbelievable and like a disaster waiting to happen. It's like the opposite of every startup I've worked at in the last 4 years. Except it actually works and they keep the everything running smoothly through:

* (at the top level) real time adjustments to huge room-filling charts that shown all the dependencies.

* (at the grunt level in the trenches) an abundant use of checklists to keep work mistake-free and to avoid groups stepping on each other.

* (at all levels) constant and real time communication. Lots of it.

So yeah, I think it's hard to write off waterfall as both ineffective and non-existent if a large industry uses it to such a degree.

jamesbrittonDec 30, 2011

Can "The Checklist Manifesto" book be reduced to 80-100 pages?

Oh, certainly. I read that book either last year or early this year, and while it had some interesting points it felt highly padded.

It made me wonder, though, if the inclusion of a lot of touchy-feely content with emotional resonance was a technique to make things more memorable. That is, people respond to stories more so than just facts, so wrapping your bare facts in a story leads to a more lasting impression and (hopefully) action.

I still think most books could cut out a lot of their True Stories but it may not be all fluff.

My own true story: A few years ago at a local Ruby user group I was passing around some books, and one of them was about 100 pages and cost US $40. I commented on the price/page ratio, and a friend remarked that he would pay twice as much if they author could have made the book half the length.

zwischenzugonJan 10, 2016

There's an interesting story in Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto about fixing a skyscraper problem that threatened the whole project - if memory serves it was moving too much. That was definitely a 'one-off' solution. It's used in the book as an example of how the automation of the building process freed up the real engineers to solve the specific problems to that site.

anarchitectonJune 24, 2014

In the last five years moved from development, to leading the development team to more of a product management role. Fully agree with that DanielBMarkham it's "the people part of things is where you'll screw up", so I'd focus on communication and team-building as much as processes.

I've found a few books really useful:

* The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6667514-the-checklist-ma...)

* Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6452796-drive)

* Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7696135-making-ideas-hap...)

* Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6828896-delivering-happi...)

* Rework (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6732019-rework)

These days I get the most value from articles and videos. Here is a list of my recommended articles on Medium, which might be useful - https://medium.com/@nickboyce/has-recommended. Some great stuff in the list recommended by ravivyas too.

Edit: Something else I have been experimenting with is buying executive summaries of major books, in order to familiarise myself with as many perspectives as possible.

dansoonAug 8, 2015

The best book I've read in the last 5 years is David Simon's, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets"...if you've watched The Wire, half of its material is derived from this real life account of being embedded in Baltimore's homicide unit: https://books.google.com/books/about/Homicide.html?id=N8LS0b...

All of Atul Gawande's books, notably:

The Checklist Manifesto [1]: http://atulgawande.com/book/the-checklist-manifesto/

Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance: http://atulgawande.com/book/better/

[1] You can read the essay that this book is based on in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/12/10/the-checklist

booleandilemmaonOct 23, 2016

Just want to mention a book I recently read about a doctor's quest to eradicate medical errors through the use of something as simple as checklists.

The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande.

It's a quick read and very enjoyable. I'm not a medical professional, but Gawande makes the value of checklists clear for people in any profession.

PulcinellaonAug 8, 2017

Atul Gawande talks about this in "The Checklist Manifesto." I believe he recommmends that the nurses who are keeping track (and people who are following checklists in general) must be empowered to pause the surgery. Otherwise surgical equipment still gets left in patients because of egos.

"No I totally got all the sponges out of the patient! How dare you question my authority!"

imdsmonApr 17, 2019

> "The Checklist Manifesto" chose to overlook the studies about how transient the benefit of checklists is.

It's been almost a year now since I read this but I'm fairly certain Atul touched on this, either in this book or in his book "Better", that after those implementing the changes left, the departments often fell back into old habits.

Could this be the case?

danblickonAug 9, 2016

Slightly OT, but I enjoyed the discussion about (physical building) construction in the book "the Checklist Manifesto". In The Mythical Man Month, Brooks advocates the use of something like the "master builder" model for software. It turns out that in actual (physical building) construction, the master builder model is no longer used, because the construction process has become much too complex to be understood by a single person.

Instead, in construction, they use a system of checks to ensure that different experts consult one another so that every decision is reviewed by a relevant expert.

I suspect that the "chief architect" approach that Brooks advocates may have become obsolete as well since the Mythical Man Month was written. Perhaps software developers could learn something from the newer methods that replaced the "master builder" model in construction.

noneeeedonAug 6, 2019

> "The people using the checklists have little ability to change them or to improve them"

I was listing to an interview with the author of The Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande, and he cited this as one of the main reasons why attempts to use them fail in some organisations. He seems a big proponent of the people using checklists being the ones who should write and imporve them or at least be involved, and that they be kept short and focused. They shouldn't be stuffed with needless detail, they are not instruction manuals.

Checklists imposed from above without input from those who use them is just another version of beauracratic organisations imposing processes on people.

kevasonJuly 13, 2018

For me...

1. Technical Analysis of the Financial Markets by John Murphy

2. Options as a Strategic Investment by Lawrence G. McMillan

3. [just finished] The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right By Atul Gawande

4. [finished last week] Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

5. [currently working on] Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software By GOF

6. [currently working on] Dan Appleman's Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Win32 API by Dan Appleman

7. [next on the list] Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed by Ben Rich, Leo Janos

pjaonJune 8, 2014

See also: Atul Garande's books on medical practice in the US: http://atulgawande.com/books/ including "The Checklist Manifesto".

You can have the best people in the world, but without a safety culture that abstains from blame and works to eliminate sources of error over time, your hospital will kill people that didn't have to die.

sbierwagenonJan 26, 2017

  More generally, do journalists without scientific 
training need to consult with anyone before declaring
who we should be praising for health improvements?

>Atul Gawande (born November 5, 1965) is an American surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. He practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Samuel O. Thier Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. In public health, he is executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit that works on reducing deaths in surgery globally.[2]

>He has written extensively on medicine and public health for The New Yorker and Slate, and is the author of the books Complications, Better, The Checklist Manifesto, and Being Mortal.


quizme2000onApr 17, 2019

"The Checklist Manifesto" by Dr Atul Gawande details how resistant to change Medical Professionals can be to procedure. I thought it was hyperbole until I sat in on a certification training for a hospital group and the toxic cloud of chatter about not changing anything because it didn't make a difference was jaw-dropping.
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