Book Review: The Checklist Manifesto — How To Get Things Done Right


It is interesting that some professions, notably pilots, have always relied on checklists as part of their duties.  These checklists make sure they don’t skip any routine tasks. They also give a quick “to do” list when something goes wrong, such as when a warning light goes on or birds strike the engines. Another advantage is that, in developing checklists, aviation professionals review previous responses and look at ways to make future responses better.

In medicine, doctors have been far less willing to use checklists. They are, after all, professionals who have proven their sound judgement and skills. Nevertheless, in 2008 the author was able to implement a 2-minute, 19-item checklist in eight pilot hospitals around the world. The results were stunning — in the three months following the introduction of the checklists, the rate of major complications fell by 36 percent and deaths fell by 47 percent (pg 154). Pretty awesome results!

So how does this relate to quilting? I think that routine increases effectiveness. It also helps when you’re having a problem — especially on the longarm. We know that the problem is most likely the thread path or the needle, but sometimes we blaze through the obvious and start looking for weirder causes to our problems.

I can also see checklists working when we are going to retreats. I have personally forgotten my machine power cord, machine pedal, box of feet for my machine, and thread stand. I take my machine to a class at least once a month. It would make sense to develop some sort of checklist to be kept in my sewing machine case.

I really enjoyed this book. It gave me a lot to think about. I hope that the medical world becomes more willing to use this checklist approach.


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