The modern world has given us stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us in health care, government, the law, the financial industry - in almost every realm of organized activity. And the reason is simple: the volume and complexity of knowledge today has exceeded our ability as individuals to properly deliver it to people - consistently, correctly, safely. We train longer, specialize more, use ever advancing technologies, and still we fail. Atul Gawande makes a compelling argument that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the lowly checklist. He explains how checklists have made possible some of the most difficult things people do - from flying airplanes to building skyscrapers. He takes us from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a patient who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection, and to the flight deck of a crashing plane. Along the way, he reveals what checklists can do, what they cant, and how they could bring about striking improvements in fields well beyond medicine, from disaster recovery to investment banking, to professions and businesses of all kinds.