The Checklist Manifesto was a very enjoyable book, very easy to read. It’s mostly constructed as a series of anecdotes relating different instances where checklists were used and drastically changed outcomes. What makes the reading go so fast is that these anecdotes take place across a wide variety of situations, so with every turn of the page you hardly know where you’ll find yourself next. There are of course a number of stories from the medical field, since that is the background the author is coming from. But in the course of reading this book you also learn something about aviation, constructing skyscrapers, finance, public health, disaster response, and even running a restaurant just for good measure.
I’d recommend this book for anyone looking for a broad survey of life at the beginning of the 21st century. While the title of the book is The Checklist Manifesto, it’s really a book about complexity and how we cope with it. The book is certainly arguing for the use of checklists as a tool to cope better with complexity, but along the way it gives you a lot of insights as to where complexity is springing up in our world today, and the ways different people are rising up to live with it. Another insight that you’ll glean from this book is that mistakes happen — as complexity increases, more mistakes inevitably happen just because there are more moving parts, more possible places for things to go wrong. The book argues that checklists can be deployed to combat this, but to some degree you just come away from the book more readily accepting that things simply will go wrong.
In summary, it’s a great book! It’s easy to read, and you learn a little about a lot of things in the process of reading it. You’ll get some good entertainment as well as some good ideas about managing complexity in your own life.