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The Definitive Drucker: Challenges For Tomorrow's Executives -- Final Advice From the Father of Modern Management Hardcover – January 4, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a concise introduction to the philosophy of the 20th century's most distinguished business theoretician, Edersheim explores the insights that have shaped management thinking from the 1940s through the 1990s. Drucker himself chose Edersheim to interview him, based on her previous book (McKinsey's Marvin Bower, about the man who built the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company), but he had in mind a biography of his ideas, not a traditional bio. Edersheim blends brief summaries of Drucker's thinking on various management topics (innovation, customers, leadership, decision making) with examples of how his ideas have been practiced at specific organizations and comments from contemporary business leaders. She doesn't try to trace the development of Drucker's ideas over time; instead, she focuses on the challenges managers face today and tries to cull useful advice for tackling them from Drucker's writings. Those seeking a broad intellectual and social context for Drucker's work might prefer Jack Beatty's 1998 The World According to Peter Drucker, while aspiring managers should turn instead to one of Drucker's own books, whose intellectual rigor and lively prose make them immensely readable to this day. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Austrian-born Peter Drucker (1909-2005) was regarded as the founding father of modern business management. He wrote a total of 39 books on management, economics, and politics, and counseled the heads of GM, Ford, and GE as well as numerous political leaders including Margaret Thatcher and Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. This may be considered his final collaborative work, as it contains information Edersheim obtained through interviews during the last six months of his life. Rather than producing an exhaustive biography, Edersheim chose to focus on the man's thoughts and ideas--reflections on his methods and views on the challenges of today's business management. Some of these are classic Drucker, such as viewing your business from the customer's prospective, the importance of collaboration and of taking care of the people in your organization. Other thoughts are very forward thinking, as Drucker muses on the influence of technology and the Internet. With the addition of numerous quotations, both by and about Drucker, Edersheim has captured the essence of the man and his works. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (January 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071472339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071472333
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had the good fortune to spend one to three days a year with Peter Drucker from 1992-1999: He consulted with Carol Coles and me in developing research and consulting services for lowering the cost of capital, launching the 400 Year Project to accelerate global progress by 20 times during 2015 through 2035, and in writing about what the next generations of leadership best practices would be like. You can get a glimpse of that connection in Jack Beatty's book, The World According to Peter Drucker. I also will be writing more about Peter's ideas on and contributions to these subjects in the forthcoming book, Adventures of an Optimist.

I once asked Peter how he would guard his intellectual legacy after his death. He confidently replied that he had a very good plan and that all would be well. Having seen that this book was published after his death under the title, The Definitive Drucker, I'm not so sure he was right about protecting his intellectual legacy.

For the record, this book is not the definitive book on Peter Drucker. Why?

1. The book is almost totally devoted to his ideas about for-profit management as pursued by very large companies.

2. There is virtually no mention of his ideas about society in general.

3. His work on how to be effective executive is incompletely shared.

4. Dr. Haas Edersheim deliberately ignores the roots of Drucker's concepts as described in Adventures of a Bystander, which I believe is essential context for appreciating his observations.

5. The manner by which his nonprofit consulting experiences helped him formulate his for-profit ideas is ignored.

6. Almost all of my favorite anecdotes based on what Peter said to me about the companies described in this book are left out.
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Format: Hardcover
Edersheim brings Drucker's timeless observations and ideas into the present with additional insights about today's business world and many examples of how some of today's most innovative companies are applying Drucker's wisdom to succeed in today's dynamic world. The Definitive Drucker makes Peter Drucker's insights and advice to some of the world's most successful business leaders accessible and embraceable. A must read for anyone who has read Drucker in the past and wants a refreshing new look at his ideas and for anyone looking for a modern day primer on Drucker's insights
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Format: Hardcover
This book is must reading for anyone who leads or hopes to lead an organization. It distills the essence of Drucker's work into seven readable and enlightening chapters. Edersheim captures the clarity of Drucker's insights and frames his approach in a manner that will be beneficial no matter how the business world changes. This is not a book to be read and discarded. It is a guide to be kept accessible and revisited regularly.
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Format: Hardcover
Ignore the inappropriate title. The "definitive Drucker" passed away on November 11, 2005, and his best work is to be found within his 40 books and hundreds of articles. (The Essential Drucker, for example, whose contents were personally selected by Peter Drucker.) There are two reasons for my rating of this book: Elizabeth Haas Edersheim was able to meet or talk with Drucker frequently during the last 16-18 months of his life and thus we indeed have in this volume what its subtitle claims to be his "final advice"; also, she conducted dozens of interviews (including several of CEOs such as Procter & Gamble's A.G. Lafley who wrote the Foreword) who shared their perspectives on Drucker and his impact on them. Others interviewed include Jim Collins, Warren Bennis, and C.K. Prahalad.

To her credit, Edersheim creates a context for Drucker's insights and presents them, then gets out of the way. Although these insights are carefully organized within seven chapters, I appreciate the fact that she permits a rambling, informal, but lively narrative that seems most appropriate to Drucker's own style of communication. Throughout the book, she captures and sustains a conversational tone for his remarks. Although Drucker is widely renowned - and properly so - as a visionary thinker, insights of greatest interest to me are those which suggest his pragmatism. For example, here is one of my personal favorites that first appears in an article (in 1963) in the Harvard Business Review: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

True, Drucker served as an adviser to most of the world's largest corporations and, upon request, personally counseled their CEOs, other C-level executives, and board members.
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Format: Hardcover
In this wonderful book, Elizabeth Edersheim not only channels the master, she jams with him.

Peter Drucker invented much of modern business' language and, therefore, many of its core concepts. Where would business be, after all, if it weren't for knowledge workers meeting MBOs? Which of us would be customer driven and results oriented? Without Drucker, would we have struggled as mightily to tradeoff effectiveness and efficiency? Would we be systematically seeking new opportunities for innovation in realms of discontinuous change (presaging most strategy gurus by at least 15 years)?

If you are a fan of Drucker -- one of the clearest thinkers and writers of the 20th Century -- this exploration of many of his most important ideas is a wonderful complement to his own writing. It's certainly not a conventional biography but more like a musical discography that explores, riffs on, and and just plain enjoys his most interesting compositions.
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