The Checklist Manifesto

I finally managed to finish a book!  While Penelope was sleeping, of course, and I was on vacation.  And on my Kindle.  This book is well worth reading: it is all about how professions need to be systematized, because only well-run systems can cope with the complexity of modern life (be it engineering, flying airplanes, or practicing medicine).  It reminded me what I dislike most about libertarianism: which is that it focuses much more on the individual than on the systems/groups of individuals that exhibit emergent behavior due to the interactions of the individuals.  But that's a topic for another post.  This book focuses on why the medical "system" fails in the particular subfield of surgery, which is that modern surgery is too complex to avoid errors, without systematizing how surgery is run (which Dr. Gawande argues implicitly is best done by a team, and not by one doctor).  His recent New Yorker article on reducing health-care costs reinforces that latter point (and you should read that article if you haven't already).

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