The Checklist Manifesto (2009) by Atul Gawande is a book about how checklists can transform complex activities. Gawande is a surgeon who found that checklists, modelled on the checklists used by aircrew could have a substantial positive impact on surgery. The book looks at how checklists can be used to improve performance in various activities.
The book looks at how checklists are a very cheap way of improving surgery that are empirically verifiably useful. The use of checklists in aircraft, commercial kitchens, investment and in building is also looked at. Gawande suggests that in any complex activity checklists are likely to improve outcomes substantially.
Checklists in the different areas are presented in some some detail. Gawande is at pains to point out that checklists enable highly trained people to perform better by helping people and teams avoid fairly simple errors that inevitably occur.
The book is well written and clever and sometimes exciting examples of checklists are provided. It’s a book that is both enjoyable non-fiction and a self-improvement sort of book.