Atul Gawande on Not Settling for Average

“Except, of course, there is. Somehow, what troubles people isn’t so much being average as settling for it. Everyone knows that averageness is, for most of us, our fate. And in certain matters—looks, money, tennis—we would do well to accept this. But in your surgeon, your child’s pediatrician, your police department, your local high school? When the stakes are our lives and the lives of our children, we expect averageness to be resisted. And so I push to make myself the best. If I’m not the best already, I believe wholeheartedly that I will be. And you expect that of me, too. Whatever the next round of numbers may say.”

Atul Gawande


It’s a long read, and you won’t know what it’s about till about 75% through, but there are a number of juicy things to think about in here.

One that sticks with me is the story of the doctor who, with all the same research and tactics, does much better than his peers in treating Cystic Fibrosis. The difference was his tenacity, all-in-ness, dedication to seeing the improvement… even if it’s the difference between 99.95% and 99.5%.

Thx @genuinechris for the recommendation.