Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance

Reviewed by Deane Barker tags: health

I love Atul Gawande, but I didn’t love this book. It wasn’t what I expected, which I normally take as my own fault, but I don’t think it’s what anyone would expect from this book.

But, first, the book is really interesting. He has a total Malcolm Gladwell thing going on with this book – it’s a series of essays, basically. None of them are related to the others. They’re ostensibly divided up into sections that relate to the overall idea of better health care…but not really.

Truth: this book is nine standalone essays about very interesting topics that are tangentially related to health care performance. Gawande is a surgeon, and the book is subtitled “A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance,” but a minority of the essays have anything to do with surgery.

I had hoped that there were some lessons here that could be applied more broadly to business, and there might be, but you’d have to dig for them, and there’s nothing here that hasn’t been said better, elsewhere (in contrast, read Gawande’s transformative book “The Checklist Manifesto”).

So, a bit of a letdown…but still really interesting. There are certainly worse ways you can spend your time.

Book Info

Atul Gawande
06 18, 2022
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on April 4, 2019.
  • A hardcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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