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Insightful note on the complexity of rules by Norman Bartczak

I’m attending Jeff Sonnenfeld’s Yale CEO Summit this week, and this morning listened in on a fascinating presentation by my colleague, Norman Bartczak, who manages to make accounting interesting!  Among the many things that caught my eye in his presentation was the following quote from James Madison:

“It will be of little avail to the people that laws are made by men of thier choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Wow.  What if we applied the two tests of simplicity and coherence to the kinds of rules and agreements that have led people into so much trouble – think credit card agreements, mortgage agreements, car leasing provisions and others?  It would be a world that is far easier to understand. 

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