Atul Gawande's writing in the New Yorker is a consistent joy. In his commencement address at Williams College this year, Gawande spoke about the surprising finding from a University of Michigan study that highly successful hospitals distinguish themselves not so much for their preventive prowess as for their success at rescuing patients when the worst happens. Gawande thinks that the skills at issue cut across many professions:
[T]he critical skills of the best surgeons I saw involved the ability to handle complexity and uncertainty. They had developed judgment, mastery of teamwork, and willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of their choices. In this respect, I realized surgery turns out to be no different than a life in teaching, public service, business, or almost anything you may decide to pursue. We all face complexity and uncertainty no matter where our path takes us. That means we all face the risk of failure. So along the way, we all are forced to develop these critical capacities—of judgment, teamwork, and acceptance of responsibility.