Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl Schneider put the regulatory problem in human terms. Most people find disclosures complex, obscure, and dull. Most people make choices by stripping information away, not layering it on. Most people find they can safely ignore most disclosures and that they lack the literacy to analyze them anyway. And so many disclosures are mandated that nobody could heed them all. Nor can all this be changed by simpler forms in plainer English, since complex things cannot be made simple by better writing. Furthermore, disclosure is a lawmakers' panacea, so they keep issuing new mandates and expanding old ones, often instead of taking on the hard work of writing regulations with bite.
Timely and provocative, More Than You Wanted to Know takes on the form of regulation we encounter daily and asks why we must encounter it at all.
The authors explore three key elements of leadership success: 1) an understanding of our public service context, including the history, the values and the institutions that comprise our leadership setting, 2) a set of tools designed to help leaders initiate collective action in wicked challenge settings, and 3) tools to support sound judgment, enabling leaders to do the right thing in the right circumstances for the right reasons. The authors further provide readers with a basic understanding of democratic institutions, encouraging them to work within and across multiple vertical and horizontal systems of authority. The book is organized into four sections, each of which is accompanied by a Master Case that provides the reader with an opportunity to apply the principles and leadership tools discussed in the text to practice. To further reinforce the practice-centered approach to leadership knowledge and skills, the authors have developed an accompanying EMERGE Leadership Handbook, complete with exercises, available online. Written specifically with the practicing public manager in mind, this book arms public servants with a large repertoire of leadership skills, designed to accommodate changing public values and conflicting priorities at all levels of our public organizations.
Medical and social progress depend on research with human subjects. When that research is done in institutions getting federal money, it is regulated (often minutely) by federally required and supervised bureaucracies called “institutional review boards” (IRBs). Do—can—these IRBs do more harm than good? In The Censor's Hand, Schneider addresses this crucial but long-unasked question.
Schneider answers the question by consulting a critical but ignored experience—the law's learning about regulation—and by amassing empirical evidence that is scattered around many literatures. He concludes that IRBs were fundamentally misconceived. Their usefulness to human subjects is doubtful, but they clearly delay, distort, and deter research that can save people's lives, soothe their suffering, and enhance their welfare. IRBs demonstrably make decisions poorly. They cannot be expected to make decisions well, for they lack the expertise, ethical principles, legal rules, effective procedures, and accountability essential to good regulation. And IRBs are censors in the place censorship is most damaging—universities.
In sum, Schneider argues that IRBs are bad regulation that inescapably do more harm than good. They were an irreparable mistake that should be abandoned so that research can be conducted properly and regulated sensibly.