Getting Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

From Scientific American:

Atul Gawande is a Boston-area ­surgeon, a staff writer for the New Yorker and a MacArthur Fellow. His first book, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, was a finalist for the 2002 National Book Award. In this collection of 12 original and previously published essays adapted from the New England Journal of Medicine and the New Yorker, Gawande focuses on performance. “What does it take to be good at something?” he asks. In response, he gives three core requirements for success in medicine or any field that involves risk and responsibility: diligence, ingenuity and “doing right.” He illustrates each of these qualities with dramatic stories, from hand washing in hos­pitals to inoculating four million Indian children against polio. (Gawande is master of the telling anecdote—no small thing.) He concludes that it is the human qualities that are most important: monitoring and improving clinical performance would do more to save lives than advances in laboratory knowledge.

More here.