Books

The Death of
Common Sense

How Law is Suffocating America

Random House, 1995 (re-released in 2010 with new afterword)

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.

What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Where does it come from?

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

“One of the most important, thought-provoking books I’ve read in years, and it will grip you from the first page. Every doctor and teacher frustrated by paperwork, every judge frustrated by mandatory sentencing guidelines, every banker and businessman tied in regulatory knots, every manager terrified to fire someone for doing a poor job – every taxpayer – will findThe Death of Common Sense a blood-boiler. What makes it important, though, is not its (amazing) anecdotes, but that it so elegantly synthesizes them…and points to solutions.”

– Andrew Tobias

“A brilliant diagnosis…forceful, trenchant, and eloquent.”

– Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

“One of the most important, thought-provoking books I’ve read in years, and it will grip you from the first page. Every doctor and teacher frustrated by paperwork, every judge frustrated by mandatory sentencing guidelines, every banker and businessman tied in regulatory knots, every manager terrified to fire someone for doing a poor job – every taxpayer – will findThe Death of Common Sense a blood-boiler. What makes it important, though, is not its (amazing) anecdotes, but that it so elegantly synthesizes them…and points to solutions.”

– Andrew Tobias

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What is Lorem Ipsum?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Where does it come from?

Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source. Lorem Ipsum comes from sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 of “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) by Cicero, written in 45 BC. This book is a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance. The first line of Lorem Ipsum, “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet..”, comes from a line in section 1.10.32.

The standard chunk of Lorem Ipsum used since the 1500s is reproduced below for those interested. Sections 1.10.32 and 1.10.33 from “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” by Cicero are also reproduced in their exact original form, accompanied by English versions from the 1914 translation by H. Rackham.

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