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The World According to Peter Drucker Hardcover – January 1, 1998

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Over a remarkable 60-year career, Peter Drucker has written the book on management theory, executive advice, and various aspects of social and political thought. He's also penned a monthly editorial-page column for the Wall Street Journal, contributed to publications ranging from The Economist and the Harvard Business Review to Forbes and Esquire, taught at several major universities, lectured worldwide by satellite, consulted for leading global corporations, and still found time to write two novels. His impact on individual and corporate philosophy has truly been astounding, so much so that it's often difficult to grasp its full scope. Jack Beatty's The World According to Peter Drucker is up to the task, however, offering a satisfying examination of his ongoing legacy for followers as well as a great introduction to specific works for neophytes.

With Drucker's full cooperation and assistance, Beatty (an NPR commentator and Atlantic Monthly senior editor) mixes bits of previous interviews and passages from his subject's voluminous writings with personal analysis to explore the range of his always provocative views on business, government, nonprofits, and the future. Beginning with the experiences in Europe during World War I that ultimately shaped Drucker as a writer, Beatty looks into themes like fascism, freedom, decentralization, and bureaucracy while tracing the transformation of Drucker from political scientist to management theorist. In combination with other particularly interesting observations, like those on Drucker's prescient prediction of a "new world economy" and his defining conceptualization of both privatization and "knowledge workers," the book serves to whet one's appetite for a bigger helping of the master's works--many of which, fortunately, remain in print. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

For more than 50 years, prolific thinker Drucker (Managing in a Time of Great Change, LJ 10/15/95) has studied business organizations. Among his many accomplishments, he is credited with starting the discipline of management. Beatty, a senior editor at the Atlantic Monthly, a frequent venue for Drucker's writings, evaluates Drucker's thought through a chronological review of his major books. Beatty clearly admires much of Drucker's insight and prescience, but he does not let that blind him to his subject's occasional missteps in interpretation or fact. At times he veers beyond a discussion of management into the dismal science of economics, yet the writing is still clear and understandable from the high school level on up. This is the first book on Drucker in ten years and a good survey of a major late 20th-century thinker. Although he is not now as well known as certain more faddish management gurus, there is more substance here. Recommended for circulating collections in public libraries and strongly recommended for two-year and other academic libraries.?Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., La Crosse
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068483801X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684838014
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,595,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Jack Beatty creates what he calls an "intellectual portrait" of the world's most highly respected business scholar and teacher. What soon becomes clear, however, is that Drucker is a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about many subjects which are wholly unrelated to business per se. The book consists of nine chapters which, together, examine Drucker's multi-dimensional life since his birth in Vienna in 1909.
Correctly, Drucker has been described by Warren Bennis as "one of the few thinkers in any discipline who can claim to have changed the world: he is the inventor of privatization, the apostle of a new class of knowledge workers, the champion of management as a serious discipline." It is generally agreed that, until Drucker, the term "management" was not even in the formal nomenclature of business. Today, management consulting is a multi-billion dollar global enterprise which continues to experience ever-increasing growth. Drucker gave that enterprise a definition, a vision, and a rationale as well as many of its basic terms.
Beatty neither thinks nor writes as well as Drucker. (Who does?) His "intellectual portrait" is, however, an invaluable supplement to any of Drucker's books and articles.
For more than 60 years, Peter Drucker has made a positive and substantial difference in the personal as well as professional lives of so many others throughout the world. With all due respect to Peter Drucker's well-deserved recognition as a scholar of business, that "difference" is his most valuable contribution.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Brian McLean on November 24, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Anyone familiar with Peter Drucker's writings will probably be disappointed with this book. Drucker is a better and more provocative writer. Anyone not familiar with Drucker's writings probably won't appreciate the Drucker "world" and might even be deterred from reading Drucker himself, which would be a shame. The best part of the book discusses Drucker's relationship with Albert Sloan Jr. at GM. The worst part of the book has to be the irritating manner in which Beatty incorporates quotes and fragments from Drucker's writings. At times, Beatty's only contributions seem to be a horde of "ands," ubiquitous ellipses, and trite summations.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book gives you glimpses of the influence Drucker has had on society. But, unless you are looking for a biography, I do not recommend this book. It is dry and tedious to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Jack Beatty has taken on a very difficult task here: Capturing the essence of the world's most successful and prolific business thinker and author. I think that he succeeded very well, and certainly added to my understanding of Peter Drucker's writing. Having read many of Drucker's articles and books, I was astonished to find out how many important works I had missed. I appreciate having Jack Beatty open my eyes. In the year since I first read this book, I have read more Drucker than in the last 20 years. This has been a good benefit from THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PETER DRUCKER. I am one of the people mentioned in the book, during the chapter about Professor Drucker's consulting practice, and I found Mr. Beatty has really captured the essence of the man in a way that no other books or articles do. I salute Jack Beatty for having made a great gift to us all, and urge you to buy, read, and use the book to guide your study of Peter Drucker.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sqbb on December 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The GWU/Richmond book club found this book tedious and hard to read. The author seemed more intent on demonstrating his extensive vocabulary than in protraying Drucker. He (the author) came off as pompous, and lost several readers in the first chapter. Those of us who plowed through the book found the Drucker quotes to be, by far, the best part.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Peter Drucker's philosophies and theories have shaped management all over the world. Drucker is highly respected. He has always taught that people are an organization's most important resource. In 1954, Drucker virtually invented 'management.' Although, of course, management existed before, nobody had ever treated it as a distinct field.
Jack Beatty's book about Peter Drucker is not just another biography. Beatty criticizes Drucker in some areas and extols his virtues in others. The book is sometimes entertaining and consistently well written. Enough of Drucker's ideas are included to make you want to read his books. Most of the book summarizes Drucker's work chronologically. Company leaders who want their top people to learn about management should make this required reading. We [...] recommend this book to managers in all industries.
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Format: Paperback
I have an interest in the hundred years that generated the issues covered by this book. Peter Drucker wanted an industrial society so much, he kept trying to predict what it would be like if some people could work together with real strengths instead of being sidetracked by problems. When I write reviews, I have a few decent memories of what I was going to say. Near the beginning of the book, the end of economic man and discontinuities make me curious how so much juggling can last this long. Management is imposing rules on workers that produce inward rage. Bureaucracy is a destructive discipline that rarely produces creative destruction. By writing near the end of the last century, the author, who shows great familiarity with the issues of political economy that made things happen for people who died when the life they had could no longer last. Reading this might make you feel lucky.
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