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Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law
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Life Without Lawyers: Liberating Americans from Too Much Law

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  147 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews

How to restore the can-do spirit that made America great, from the author of the best-selling The Death of Common Sense.

Americans are losing the freedom to make sense of daily choices—teachers can’t maintain order in the classroom, managers are trained to avoid candor, schools ban tag, and companies plaster inane warnings on everything: “Remove Baby Before Folding Stroller
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Bill  Kerwin

Philip K. Howard argues for commonsense legal and bureaucratic reform as a remedy for the paralysis and demoralization that plague all our modern institutions. These problems are caused--in Howard's view-- by fear of lawsuits, an overemphasis on individual rights (as opposed to group or community rights), and an excessive devotion to "due process," particularly as a preemptive strategy.

He argues that teachers, doctors and managers must be allowed to exercise their individual judgments without c
Luke Schaefer
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book!!!!
If you're a person who is open-minded and loves to learn about law in the way it works in the legal system this is the book for you. Philip K Howard The author of the book talks about how to improve society for the betterment of citizens and officials to govern.

I love the authors words in this book they were very persuasive to the reader and very impactful what understanding. Now some of the points I think he elaborated on too much but eventually got to a good point.

Go sp
Dec 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard discusses how concerns about lawsuits have sacrificed the greater common good for individuals' often petty grievances. More broadly, reliance on and control by laws and rules have removed individual responsibility from much decision-making (for example, teachers are subject to overregulation that prevents them from teaching, while lawmakers and others in positions of power deny responsibility for programs ostensibly under their control). He acknowledges that much of this regulation came f ...more
Feb 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karl and Becky may not like the title, but I suspect they would agree with most of the points. Howard has written an important book, but one that could have been more economical in its prose. The main premise is that in trying to fix everything by enacting laws and regulations, the basic virtue of human judgment has been suffocated. The result is a serious decline in the application of common sense and severe damage to our society. He presents convincing examples from tort law, over-regulated pu ...more
Josh Meares
Dec 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a lawyer, and I don't know much about law. But I do know history, and I think I have a pretty good understanding of the way things work. So it's no big news to me, or to anyone else, that our legal system is in big trouble.

This book says a lot of good things about how to make our legal system work. One of the reasons I like it is because it echoes one of the ideas I've been repeating for years: Law needs to be simplified. My heuristic is that if a law is incomprehensible to a 6th grader,
Jul 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Law must work both ways: It must prohibit defined wrongs, and it must affirmatively protect an area of freedom."
"Authority is not the enemy of freedom, but its protector."
With examples taken mostly from the teaching and medical professional, Philip Howard makes his case for law limits and most importantly, responsibility of the individual in society (not society for the individual). I did not agree with everything Philip Howard says (Risk Committees?), but Philip brings the problem home with e
Mar 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book makes so much sense, but this author has written about "common sense" before. It is nice to see, laid out in print, the things many of us think every time we hear a story such as the McDonalds hot coffee lawsuit. I was shocked to learn how restrictive the school environment has become. No running on the playground - are they crazy? Kids are supposed to explore their limits and get a few cuts and scrapes along the way. It does get a bit repetitive. He makes an attempt to provide solutio ...more
Apr 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
For years Phillip Kay Howard has been trying shine a light on the absurdies of our legal and politcial systems. And he's right in almost everything he says. And he lays out a plan for changing things, but I wonder how it will be implemented, and there are places where it seems he contradicts himself. He says we need less government, and then goes on to suggest government mandated service. It seems a little contradictory. But he's right in everything he says.

But in the end, how do we wrest power
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I mostly picked this book up because the title made me tingly all over. Okay, I actually picked it up because I had read a previous book by Mr. Howard called The Death of Common Sense and enjoyed it. In Life Without Lawyers he calls for some bold changes to our overly-regulated and legalistic system in order to return accountability to the people and eliminate the mindless rule-following that has damaged our way of life. Fascinating read. I checked it out from the library and now I'm going to ha ...more
Howard is dead-on in his analysis of what's wrong with America today, and I would give the book a higher rating were it not for the fact that it is so similar to his previous two books. What this one adds is information about specific ideas about how to fix things... an “Agenda for Change” championed by his Common Good non-profit group. And that's a welcome addition, as it gives us all a way to become part of the solution.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a letdown. Howard's heart is in the right place, and I certainly agree with most of his conclusions, but this book is absurdly vague, mealy-mouthed, and wishful. He repeats himself over and over, and when he actually offers specific examples, he focuses too narrowly on the cases of medical practice and schools. There isn't even much in the way of interesting legal history, let alone a roadmap of specific, incremental reforms. This book is a pamphlet in disguise.
A book about taking back law in the US. This book gives so many ridiculous rules that we have to live by, which ultimately restrict our freedoms. His examples focus on educators, health care, and the judicial system. We can't act on our instincts because of fear of a lawsuit. Teachers have no power in the classroom because of lawsuits. Crazy.
Bick Mcswiney
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
please read this book. i love this book and the point that drives it. for it to succeed, americans need to take charge of risk and create a grassroots movement to remove the excessive litigation from destroying our society.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
please read this book. i love this book and the point that drives it. for it to succeed, americans need to take charge of risk and create a grassroots movement to remove the excessive litigation from destroying our society.
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THis book made me ache for the common sense of years gone by. Indeed, it seems judges only look out for the interest of one individual, instead of the common good. However, it does make me realize how very difficult it will be to change our judicial course.
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A somewhat ironic choice for me - but extremely glad I picked it up. The most thoughtful, inspired, intelligent book I've read in a long time. I've even found myself quoting portions of it throughout the day to friends. And a quick read at that. Highly recommended.
Kevin O'connor
There are some good observations on how failed the legal system is. SOME Ideas on how to solve them.
Howard's lates opus is both maddening and inspiring. This time, he spells out the steps needed to fix our country. Will anyone actually do it? Sigh.
Reads like a long essay, with lots of tangents. Gives the need for responsibility and authority in the USA a voice.
Jim O'shaughnessy
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Philip is a friend and is doing great work on discussing how we got into such an awful place with government regulations.
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting perspective on how our attitudes of trying to control the details of our lives has an inverse result.
Jedd Segrist
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Goodreads Librari...: Life Without Lawyers 2 9 Aug 29, 2016 11:36PM  
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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.

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 compe
More about Philip K. Howard...

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