Atul Gawande

Surgeon and journalist
Surgeon by day and public health journalist by night, Atul Gawande explores how doctors can dramatically improve their practice using something as simple as a checklist.

Why you should listen

Atul Gawande is author of three best-selling books: Complications, a memoir of surgery; Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance; and The Checklist Manifesto. His new book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

He is also a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science, a MacArthur Fellowship, and two National Magazine Awards. In his work in public health, he is Executive Director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation, and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization making surgery safer globally.

Photo: Aubrey Calo

What others say

“Better is possible. It does not take genius. It takes diligence. It takes moral clarity. It takes ingenuity. And above all, it takes a willingness to try.” — Atul Gawande

Atul Gawande’s TED talks

Quotes from Atul Gawande

You can't make a recipe for something as complicated as surgery. Instead, you can make a recipe for how to have a team that's prepared for the unexpected.
Atul Gawande
TED2012 • 1.1M views Apr 2012
Persuasive, Inspiring
Making systems work is the great task of my generation of physicians and scientists. But I would go further and say that making systems work — whether in healthcare, education, climate change, making a pathway out of poverty — is the great task of our generation as a whole.
Atul Gawande
TED2012 • 1.1M views Apr 2012
Persuasive, Inspiring
[The pre-penicillin era] was when the core structure of medicine was created. … It was at a time when what was known, you could know. You could hold it all in your head and you could do it all.
Atul Gawande
TED2012 • 1.1M views Apr 2012
Persuasive, Inspiring