||0679429948 From Publishers Weekly Business agreements in the U.S. typically run to several hundred single-spaced, typewritten pages; in Switzerland, the same documents might be 10 pages. Charging that American law has become "the world's thickest instruction manual," New York City attorney Howard blasts excessively detailed, rigid government regulations that leave no room for judgment or discretion. He cites as examples occupational safety rules that fail to distinguish among different workplace situations, environmental laws that prove counterproductive and a "drive toward mandated perfection" that has stymied affordable day care and housing. He also lambastes overly complex procedural rules that stifle individual initiative, whether the task involves repairing a bridge, hiring a new employee or fixing a lock in a public school. A cogent brief for legal common sense and balance. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal The nuns of the Missionaries of Charity believed two abandoned buildings in New York City would make ideal homeless shelters. The city agreed and offered to sell the building for one dollar each. Yet the shelter project faltered: the city's bureaucracy imposed such expensive remodeling requirements on the buildings that the shelter plans were scrapped. To Howard, an attorney practicing in New York City, this is but one of many examples of the law's suffocating Americans by extensive decrees on what may and may not be done. His book is truly a catalog of horror stories, actually quite engrossing and adding to the story of public inefficiencies chronicled by David Osborne's Reinventing Government (Addison-Wesley, 1992). What Howard does not do as well, however, is offer guidance on remedies. His answer seems to be that we should take personal responsibility, gather up our courage, and step out into the sunlight away from government's shadow. More highly recommended as a study of the negative impact of law is Walter K. Olson's The Litigation Explosion (LJ 2/15/91) even though its focus is on lawsuits and the courts. Jerry E. Stephens, U.S. Court of Appeals Lib., Oklahoma City Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.