Found in 22 comments on Hacker News
inetsee · 2023-05-12 · Original thread
Yes, people do make mistakes; often. Airline pilots have long checklists of things they have to do before taking off, and more checklists for dealing with problems that inevitably crop up.

A doctor named Atul Gawande wrote a book named The Checklist Manifesto

Early in his career he did some research that showed that a simple pre-surgery checklist could reduce serious complications by more than a third.

yodon · 2021-03-26 · Original thread
If you're operating at a scale or in a domain where crisis-like issues are expected (which is probably true if you're asking a question like this), The Checklist Manifesto[0] is a great read.


muzani · 2020-08-24 · Original thread
It doesn't sound like you need a better app. It sounds like you need better technique. You've described a lot of things that can be done in Trello, but many of these are doable in similar apps like Pivotal Tracker or Todoist. I use Sublime Text's extension PlainTasks, but that might not meet your 'low cognitive load' requirement. Trello/Kanban seems like a multiplayer checklist.

I'm not sure if it helps but maybe check out The Checklist Manifesto (

samstave · 2019-04-17 · Original thread
The "checklist manifesto" is a staple in American Healthcare... And when I was consulting on hospital builds and go-live... this was the methodology we used.

MarkMc · 2019-04-17 · Original thread
A great book on this subject is The Checklist Manifesto [0]. An interesting point made in the book is that checklists help to correct the subtle psychological problems that occur in an operating theatre. Without a checklist a nurse who sees a potential problem might be hesitant to halt the procedure when the surgeon is ready to start. But with a checklist the surgeon must get explicit permission to begin from the nurse who is performing the checklist.


HankB99 · 2019-01-13 · Original thread
This patient survived. I worked in a hospital about 40 years ago. A young man came in with a laceration and required inpatient treatment. He was allergic to aspirin so the nurse gave him ASA (acetylsalicylic acid, AKA Aspirin.) He died. I wonder if that kind of thing still happens.

One effort to avoid this kind of problem is to use check lists. Book about that was published in 2009. (The Checklist Manifesto)

misiti3780 · 2017-02-01 · Original thread
As documented in this great book:

not just pilots ... doctors, nurses, etc.

sokoloff · 2016-05-06 · Original thread
There's significant argument in aviation community about how checklists should be designed as well.

I personally don't think an 8-page checklist (6 pages for normals) to fly a Piper Cherokee or Cessna 172 is the safest approach or most sensible operational tool. Many pilots seem to agree and make up their own checklists that they actually use with only the "killer items" and I think that probably increases safety; certainly it increases safety over the 8 page checklist that stays in the map pocket for the whole flight. Why doesn't the factory do that? Well, if they remove something from a checklist and a pilot comes to grief, they're thinking of how it will look in a courtroom. "No charge to add something to the list..."

You'd probably enjoy reading Checklist Manifesto by Dr Atul Gawande: I read it years ago, but I seem to recall he did cover some of the processes and social aspects of checklist usage.

tomkinstinch · 2016-05-04 · Original thread
There is a push to use 'pilot' checklists in medicine as tools for reducing human error!

Harvard surgeon Atul Gawande wrote a book on it:

j4ah4n · 2016-04-01 · Original thread
There's a book "The Checklist Manifesto" which describes this practice - a great, fast read.
w1ntermute · 2015-05-14 · Original thread
The Checklist Manifesto is a great book on this topic:
Have you ever read The Checklist Manifesto[0]? I may be reading too much into this post, but the lessons you learned from this interview process have frighteningly close parallels to the lessons in the books. I doubt the book had any influence on your interview process, seeing as it was published after the interviews were formalized, but the book seems like it might have new lessons.

For example, a good portion of doctors absolutely hated using checklists. Yet, when pressed, readily admitted that it prevents simple mistakes and that they would prefer to have them rather than not to. Another is that entries that address more human concerns, e.g. "Have everyone introduce themselves", have a place on good checklists.


unheaped · 2014-07-05 · Original thread
Similar reading, checklist manifesto, here

Some good reading here. Look motivating enough to jumpstart the process of getting out of the garage/hackspace, and into a growing company

tokenadult · 2013-01-31 · Original thread
The author has already made it to age seventy-five. As he writes in the submitted article, "My hypervigilance doesn’t paralyze me or limit my life: I don’t skip my daily shower, I keep driving, and I keep going back to New Guinea. I enjoy all those dangerous things."

I think the author has actually made a very sound point, statistically speaking, that often incremental improvements in dealing with the little things has as much impact on health outcomes as heroic measures to deal with the big risks to health. All around the developed world, mortality from all causes is steadily declining at all ages,

and most of that decline in mortality (and consequent increase in life expectancy) has come about from incremental reductions in risk. Changing engineering standards for highway construction reduces risk of injury and of death from car crashes. Simple checklists can reduce the risk of surgical complications.

A girl with my daughter's birth year in the United States has a better than even chance to live to be 100 years old,

just from an accumulation of incremental improvements in health in the developed countries. The little things matter. We don't have to worry about the little things. Indeed, we can celebrate that so many little things are taken care of for us by societal changes.

tokenadult · 2013-01-03 · Original thread
The Checklist Manifesto, recommended by multiple HN participants. I read it and learned a lot, and it's an enjoyable read besides giving you new perspectives on old problems.

tokenadult · 2012-12-25 · Original thread
The best book I read this year was not a 2012 release, but HN participants should read it if they haven't already. That book is The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande,

which was mentioned favorably in several HN threads this year. (Thanks to the recommenders here who reminded me to read this book.) The Checklist Manifesto is practical, exciting, and thought-provoking in balance, and it will help you do your work better, whatever you do, and enjoy your family life better, whoever is in your family. It's a great read; don't miss it.

danso · 2012-02-09 · Original thread
I recommend reading Atul Gawande's books:

The Checklist Manifesto


He's a New Yorker writer and practicing surgeon. His books contain lots of insight about ways that medicine could be vastly improved by innovation. Unfortunately, few techies are doctors.

Luc · 2011-11-25 · Original thread
Good list. I'd add 'The Checklist Manifesto' by Atul Gawande ( ), about how experts with decades of experience in highly complex tasks can still benefit from simple, short and obvious checklists.
adamilardi · 2010-07-13 · Original thread

This is a book on the topic you brought up. Doctor's have too much ego to follow a checklist. It doesn't make sense however since extremely smart people in the military and nasa follow checklists all the time.

pchristensen · 2010-06-08 · Original thread
The Checklist Manifesto ( ) is exactly about managing excessive complexity.
cwan · 2010-01-19 · Original thread
He went on to turn the article into a book that was published last month:

This is something we're trying to apply to our operations. Definitely not an easy task to convince everyone to use them and like the article says, many people think checklists are beneath them so it's helpful when I can point to data in medicine or now like the article, venture capital.

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