People

Philip K. Howard is a well-known leader of government and legal reform in America. His new book, The Rule of Nobody (W. W. Norton & Company, April 2014), has been praised by Fareed Zakaria as “an utterly compelling and persuasive book that, if followed, could change the way America works.” His Ted Talk has has been viewed by over 500,000 people.

Philip is also the author of the best-seller The Death of Common Sense (Random House, 1995), The Collapse of the Common Good (Ballantine Books, 2002) and Life Without Lawyers (W. W. Norton & Company, 2009).

In 2002, Philip formed Common Good, a nonpartisan national coalition dedicated to restoring common sense to America. Philip writes periodically for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, and has appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the News Hour, Today, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, and numerous other programs.

News

Publications

  • The Rule of Nobody

    Philip K. Howard
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    What’s wrong in Washington is deeper than you think. Yes, there’s gridlock, polarization, and self-dealing. But hidden underneath is something bigger and more destructive. It’s a broken governing system. From that comes wasteful spending, rising debt, failing schools, expensive healthcare, and economic hardship. Wonder why nothing works and leaders don’t lead? When rules dictate daily choices, nobody has authority––or responsibility––to get things done. Bureaucracy, regulation, and outmoded law tie our hands and confine policy choices. Nobody asks, “What’s the right thing to do?” Instead, they wonder, “What does the rule book say?”

    In The Rule of Nobody, Philip K. Howard gives us an entirely new way to look at law and government. This insightful, powerful book explains how America went wrong and offers a sensible guide for how to liberate human ingenuity to meet the challenges of this century.

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  • The Collapse of the Common Good: How America’s Lawsuit Culture Undermines our Freedom

    Philip K. Howard
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    In pursuit of fairness at any cost, we have created a society paralyzed by legal fear: Doctors are paranoid and principals powerless. Little league coaches, scared of liability, stop volunteering. Schools and hospitals start to crumble. The common good fades, replaced by a cacophony of people claiming their “individual rights.”

    By turns funny and infuriating, this startling book dissects the dogmas of fairness that allow self-interested individuals to bully the rest of society. Philip K. Howard explains how, trying to honor individual rights, we removed the authority needed to maintain a free society. Teachers don’t even have authority to maintain order in the classroom. With no one in charge, the safe course is to avoid any possible risk. Seesaws and diving boards are removed. Ridiculous warning labels litter the American landscape: “Caution: Contents Are Hot.”

    Striving to protect “individual rights,” we ended up losing much of our freedom. When almost any decision that someone disagrees with is a possible lawsuit, no one knows where he stands. A huge monument to the unknown plaintiff looms high above America, casting a dark shadow across our daily choices. Today, in the land of free speech, you’d have to be a fool to say what you really think.

    This provocative book not only attacks the sacred cows of political correctness, but takes a breathtakingly bold stand on how to reinvigorate our common good. Only by restoring personal authority can schools begin to work again. Only by judges and legislatures taking back the authority to decide who can sue for what can doctors feel comfortable using their best judgment and American be liberated to say and do what they know is right. Lucid, honest, and hard hitting, The Collapse of the Common Good shows how Americans can bring back freedom and common sense to a society disabled by lawyers and legal fear.

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  • The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America

    Philip K. Howard
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    America is drowning: in law, legality, bureaucratic process. Abandoning our common sense and individual sense of responsibility, we live in terror of the law, in awe of procedure, at war with one another. Philip K. Howard has written the explosive manifesto for liberation – one of the most talked about sociopolitical treatises of our time. Citing dozens of examples of bureaucratic overkill – everything from the labeling of window cleaner as a toxic substance to the U.S. Department of Defense spending $2 billion on travel and $2.2 billion processing the paperwork for that travel – The Death of Common Sense shows how far we have wandered, how we got into this mess, and how we can – and must – get out.

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