Books@DailyFinance: Atul Gawande's Simple Fix for Business Distractions

Let's see. English muffins: check. Potatoes: check. Rotisserie chicken: check. All the stuff we need for the weekend: check.

Simple tasks and checklists go together like English muffins and marmalade. But it's Atul Gawande's contention that the basic checklist has become indispensable well outside such mundane areas -- and in the world of increasingly complex work. "Know-how and sophistication have increased remarkably across all our realms of endeavor," he writes. Yet in a great many fields, avoidable failures are common and persistent because "the volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our ability to deliver its benefits correctly, safely, or reliably."