Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Better at positive deviation
I finally took some time to read lately, and finished up BETTER: A SURGEON'S NOTES ON PERFORMANCE by Atul Gawande. I really recommend this book as a good read on how we all might improve performance in what we do. It's different from the typical business book, mostly cuz it's about medical stuff.
It's divided into 3 sections on 3 topics: diligence, doing right, and ingenuity. Each section has chapters filled with real life medical stories; some that will amaze you, and some that will scare you! Like, why did doctors in the 19th century resist the idea that washing your hands between patients was a good thing? And why aren't they better at doing it today? Gawande is a good writer and researched his stories well, going from historical situations to medicine in the Iraq war to doctors helping with executions to dramatic improvements in treating cystic fibrosis.
The overarching concept is the idea of becoming a positive deviant, and the book ends with 5 suggestions for becoming one:
1. Ask an unscripted question. Make a connection, a humanity touch.
2. Don't complain.
3. Count something. If you count something you find interesting, you will learn something interesting.
4. Write something. Choose your audience and write something.
Here's to positive deviants everywhere!