The Checklist Manifesto



Book Title: The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right
Author: Atul Gawande
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
List Price: $12.89
Format: Softcover, 224 pages
Publication Date: December 2009
ISBN: 978-1846683145
Reviewer: Manuel Ancizu
Review Date: May 2022



Complex projects, many activities performed in parallel, simple steps but that must be executed consistently one by one following a certain order not to cause any damage, the need to ensure that teams spread in different parts of the world are acting correctly and according to the guidelines, how to know that all the key points have been covered to take the right decision under pressure…

Yes! all that can be successfully overcome with a solid yet simple easy-to-use tool: A standard checklist.

Through inspiring real-life practical examples covering global health, emergency rooms, hospitals, airplanes, development countries and more, Atul Gawande and his book “The Checklist Manifesto” enlighten us with the benefits and the power of checklists to manage complexity, stay focused, eliminate mistakes and save lives.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The Checklist Manifesto is divided into nine chapters; each of them can be independently read and covers a specific topic: from the problems caused by extreme complexity to the power of checklists to face them and a final chapter describing a real-life example where a checklist helped the author to save the life of one of his patients. An impactful evidence that checklists work!

The Checklist Manifesto is not a technical book giving step-by-step advice of how to design the most effective checklist; Instead, it’s an easy-to-read book, full of personal reflections interwoven with graphic examples in different fields that the author has experimented as a surgeon, as advisor for the World Health Organization or as a result of meaningful interactions with people he had the opportunity to know and interview.

At the end of the book, the reader can find a complete list of sources and references used to write each of the chapters in case the reader would like to go deeper.


The Checklist Manifesto explores the power of checklists to manage complexity, to perform proper risk management and to eliminate recurrent mistakes that eventually can save lives and financial costs.

In a world full of complexity, the author has noticed that people might have all the necessary knowledge to perform an activity but fail to apply it in situations of uncertainty, working under pressure, having to cope with requirements from different stakeholders at the same time, multitasking, among others. Therefore, he concludes that it is not about knowledge, it is about aptitude: the ability to perform in a solid consistent way under conditions of pressure, uncertainty or even in those days when we don’t feel 100% at work.


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How to cite this review: Ancizu, M. (2022). The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right, book review, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue VII, July. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/pmwj119-Jul2022-Ancizu-the-checklist-manifesto-book-review.pdf

About the Author

Manuel Ancizu

Pamplona, Spain


Human leadership, Global Sustainable Projects, Renewable energy, Story-teller, Keynote speaker, Lifetime learner, Risk management, Standardization

Manuel Ancizu is passionate about human leadership, sustainable projects and people’s motivations. Enjoys working in international multicultural environments and wants to have a positive impact in society.

Manuel graduated in Economics from University of Navarra and obtained an MBA from IESE Business School (Spain); he has also studied in CEIBS (China) and University Anahuac del Sur (Mexico). He holds a number of professional certificates such as the PMP by Project Management Institute, Lead Auditor in ISO 9001:2015 by IRCA Association and has also received training in Management of Development Projects and Risk Management by Interamerican Development Bank (IDB).

Manuel has lived in Spain, France, UK and Mexico; he currently works in the wind energy sector leading the quality management of Offshore projects. Manuel has been involved in wind energy renewable projects developed in different parts of the globe with external customers, as well as in internal projects of cultural transformation, IT and global processes.

Thanks to his experience, he has delivered training sessions, lectures and keynotes to a different number of institutions.

Manuel is a qualified member of the Spanish Standardization Body (UNE) and has been involved in the development of Standards and Norms in Projects, Programs and Portfolios; he has also participated in the translation of different ISO 21500 to Spanish language.

Manuel loves smiling, storytelling, dreaming and making ideas come true in a sustainable manner.

Manuel lives in Pamplona, Spain and can be contacted at manuel@manuelancizu.com