Philip K Howard

Philip Howard (2015)
Author of 'The Death of Common Sense' (1994)

Born 1948, is an American lawyer and writer. Based in New York, Howard is a noted commentator on the effects of modern law and bureaucracy on human behavior and the workings of society. He is the Founder and Chair of Common Good, a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal reform coalition which is proposing a broad overhaul of American law and government. His new book, The Rule of Nobody (April 2014), has been endorsed by Governor Jeb Bush, Fareed Zakaria, Senator Alan Simpson, and Nobel laureate Edmund Phelps. Jon Stewart contributed to the book jacket, writing:

"Philip K. Howard has always struck me as an eminently reasonable, articulate advocate for common sense solutions."

Positive reviews have appeared in numerous outlets, including the Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Daily Beast, Boston Globe, Bloomberg, and The Economist.

'The Death of Common Sense' was a bestseller that chronicles how overly detailed law has similar effects as central planning; The Collapse of the Common Good (2002), which describes how fear of litigation corrodes daily interaction; and Life Without Lawyers (2009), which proposes rebuilding reliable legal boundaries to define an open field of freedom where people are free to focus on accomplishing their goals, not protecting themselves from legal interference. Howard is a periodic contributor to the op-ed pages of the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and serves as a correspondent for The He also regularly speaks at universities, judicial conferences, think tanks, and other conferences, and has testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress.

Howard has attracted broad support for his ideas. In September 2010, New York Times columnist David Brooks highlighted Howard's work on "the responsibility deficit" and embraced his solution for a "great streamlining," calling it "the crucial theme of the moment". Howard's speech at the 2010 TED conference was praised by TED's current CEO, Chris Anderson, as "stunning" and something that he wished "every member of Congress, every Supreme Court justice would see". It has been viewed over 500,000 times. Former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley praised Howard's Life Without Lawyers as "a real wake-up call from one of America's finest public minds," while Washington Post columnist George Will deemed it "2009's most needed book on public affairs." In November 2010, Howard was a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he talked about starting a movement to streamline government and restore individual responsibility at every level of society. He made follow-up appearances in May 2011 after the re-release of The Death of Common Sense and in June 2014 after the release of The Rule of Nobody.