Saturday, June 19, 2010

book group?

I'm reading Atul Gawande's" Checklist Manifesto", and finding it insightful (though a little repetitive- it could probably have been a magazine article instead of a full length book. I like stories of the horrors of the OR so I'm personally okay with the extra anecdotes). I'm thinking about implementing the concepts in the book to increase efficacy around the house and in some other projects. The Acton community may find this book useful; if anyone else reads it, I'd be interesting in hearing your thoughts.

On a similar note, would anyone be interested in forming an unofficial, informal Acton Parents book group, perhaps starting in August or September?


  1. Abigail:

    I have not read this book, but did skim it on Amazon. I am a bit of a process nerd, so "checklist" immediately drew me in.

    I can contribute some insights from my own experience. First: software programs with embedded checklists to guide doctors and nurses to an informed diagnosis do exist. At an emergency clinic we use, the nurses and doctors log each case by clicking through a computer-generated question tree. As a patient, the presence of the “checklist” bothers me. I constantly wonder if the practitioner might be missing something due to an over-reliance on the software. Fortunately, I don’t visit this clinic often, but if it were my regular doctor I would judge the patient experience as poor.

    Regarding the idea of a checklist in a surgery: is the author advocating a more standardized approach? Or does he recommend everyone just spend more time on review? My impression is that surgery is as much art as it is science, and the surgeon's ability to innovate is critical. Checklists work great in traditional manufacturing situations where production variables are consistent and uniform outcomes are desirable. In a surgical situation, I would argue that an over-reliance on process would have the undesired effect of muting questioning and individual judgment. It is the willingness to innovate and take risks on the operating table that has yielded several significant medical breakthroughs – from the kidney transplant to cataract replacement.

    Interesting subject – and yes I am up for a book club. Perhaps quarterly though? I would like to start working again at some point and probably couldn’t do more than four meetings a year. The Talent Code, in particular, is a book I’d like to discuss as I seem to be living it with my children right now.


  2. Great idea, Abigail. I also agree with Katharine that maybe quarterly or every other month is more realistic.

  3. I saw the author interviewed on john stewart several months ago. It definitely seemed like an interesting concept! I, for one could benefit from anything that could help me be more organized and less forgetful, and am always up for a book club.