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Some of us, in Dublin, are buying books now, and connecting with the past as we do so, it feels.

One book to catch my eye is The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, by Atul Gawande. My enthusiasm fell away when I found no checklist in the book. My fault; the book is a Manifesto, after all. But should Dr. Gawande not have demonstrated the value of checklists, as opposed to asserting it?

He does refer to the use of checklists in the Warren Buffet Berkshire organization. Now my enthusiasm for checklists began to falter. One of Buffet’s lists asks the researchers to confirm that they have read the footnotes in the latest sets of published accounts of the target company. Hmm.

A checklist is an algorithm; so, too, is a cookery recipe and we all know, or should know, of the value of those.

Lawyers are convinced of the value of checklists, but they are not as centralised as the medical profession is, to get the full benefit of them.

Even so, we should not forget that Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan are both lawyers (and it doesn’t get more centralised than where they are) and there is, or was, (this writer thinks) no checklist in the world that would have prevented them from wrecking the Irish economy.