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The Rule of Nobody: Saving America from Dead Laws and Broken Governmentby Philip K. Howard
Synopses & Reviews
What’s wrong in Washington is deeper than you think. Sure, 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.
"Howard (The Death of Common Sense), chairman of Common Good, attempts to offer a set of rational, nonpartisan solutions to Americans frustrated with government ineffectiveness at all levels. His well-meaning, if questionable, approach — which seeks to restructure bureaucracies in simpler forms — is bound to face opposition, as the forces arrayed against his reforms would be both massive and well-funded. Few will take issue with the book's essential premise that, on the whole, government doesn't get things done with great efficiency, but as Howard proffers horror story after horror story of bureaucrats following the letter, not the spirit, of the law, and laments the gradual accretion of rules and regulations that paralyze rather than empower, one is left confused as to who would actually benefit from his reforms. While the fiction that removing human judgment from decision-making enables both uniformity and increased performance is convincingly exposed, his anecdotal evidence, however real and shocking, seems cherry-picked to suit his arguments. Moreover, it's unclear how some of Howard's ideas — e.g., a citizens' council tasked with focusing on the long-term implications of present policies — would actually clear up the bureaucratic muddles they're meant to solve. Though many governmental institutions could be better run, the reforms Howards submits here are less than convincing." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The secret to good government is a question no one in Washington is asking: “What’s the right thing to do?”
What's wrong in Washington is deeper than you think.
About the Author
Philip K. Howard, a lawyer, advises leaders of both parties on legal and regulatory reform. He is chair of Common Good and a contributor to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Life Without Lawyers and The Death of Common Sense.
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