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PODCAST: Atul Gawande on "The Checklist Manifesto" [MP3]



Everyone's familiar with the dreaded palm-to-forehead feeling you get when a minuscule misstep leads to some larger disaster. Locked your keys in the car, forgot to feed the fish, didn't properly set your alarm clock on the day of your big interview. We've all been there and have faced the shameful realization that if we had just slowed our roll, these little catastrophes could have been avoided.

Now, magnify the stakes of your blunder a thousandfold. Performing open-heart surgery? Crash-landing US Airways Flight 1549? Thwarting the attempts of an underpants terrorist? No room for error.

Last month, local surgeon and author Atul Gawande gave a talk at the Brattle Theatre (sponsored by the Phoenix Best-poll-nominated Harvard Book Store) focused on his new book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, in which he offered advice on, uh, how to get things right in high-pressure situations.

Included in this podcast is Gawande's discussion and subsequent Q&A session championing the world's most basic organizational tool: the checklist. According to Gawande there is no task too menial or, more significantly, too grand that cannot be perfected with the aid of a checklist -- including the seemingly miraculous resuscitation of a near-fatally drowned young girl.

Recently, Gawande has garnered recognition as an aggressive critic in the ongoing push for healthcare reform, using his New Yorker articles to explore the factors driving the inflated costs crushing so many American families.

Gawande continues his Checklist promotion on February 25 at Newtonville Books (also currently in the running for Best Book Store). That event's already sold out, but there's yet more Gawande on the horizon: the author will be taking part in the free Price Lecture series at Trinity Church on Feb. 28.

DOWNLOAD: Atul Gawande on "The Checklist Manifesto" [MP3]

Recorded live at the Brattle Theatre, on January 7, 2010; if you liked this lecture, check out the Harvard Book Store's schedule of upcoming events. To subscribe to our podcast, paste this RSS feed into your podcatcher or feed-reader of choice, or bookmark http://thephoenix.com/podcast.

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