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The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials) Paperback – July 22, 2008
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About the Author
Peter F. Drucker is considered the most influential management thinker ever. The author of more than twenty-five books, his ideas have had an enormous impact on shaping the modern corporation. Drucker passed away in 2005.
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"The Essential Drucker" (TED) is definitely worth reading, for anyone with a modicum of interest in organizational management. For someone like myself, with a good number of years in business, it served as an excellent refresher course and validated many of my own beliefs about management, and the teachings that I've received through other channels. Drucker's writings are the antithesis of faddish, flaky management theories; he advocates a very solid, non-flashy, heads-down, customer and results focused approach to management that also manages to be humane. There are so many nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout TED that I would not be doing justice to the book to highlight only a few of them. One impression that comes across strongly, reading thoughts that Drucker put to paper decades ago, is just how true and applicable they are today.
Having heaped much praise on Drucker and TED, I'm obligated to point out the book's major flaw, which is a function of the way it was put together. Drucker has produced so much writing on so many topics that it is perhaps an impossible task to condense the highlights into a single volume, and still retain anything close to the full force of his arguments. Reading TED, it appears that what most often was edited out (but not always, to be fair) was the evidence (anecdotal or otherwise) in support of his theories. You still get the theories and the declarative statements, but what is often missing is the supporting evidence and examples of the application of the theories, to provide a proper context. A veteran manager can supply these from one's own personal experience, as I was often able to do, but I feel that inexperienced readers, such as the students who Drucker claims are part of the target audience for TED, might struggle with the book.
Given that Drucker and his editor decided to make a single volume rather than two or three, TED is a worthwhile summary of a lifetime's work from a great management thinker, and a decent overall survey of 20th century management theory and practices.
Drucker is always tight in his style and words with thoughts that at first make one sit up and take notice.
The first chapter sets the tone for the rest. This quote says it all: "Actually, waht is our business? is almost always a difficult question and the right answer is usually anything but obvious. The answer to the question, What is our business? is the first responsibility of top management. That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the single most important cause of business frustration and business failure."
To his vast experience and knowledge, it is so refreshing to here him denounce profitability as a myth for the purpose of any business. He calls it irrelevant. Of the highest relevancy for Drucker are two basic functions: makerting and innovation.
Hurray, say all the marketing types! Wish the top management could join in the understanding.
Drucker's views are wide open to reality searching with broad vision over the world panorama. This book is exceptional collection of some of Drucker's best writing. Well chosen for their punch and coverage of such a vital, modern topic as management, this book will serve practioners as well as those who desire an understanding of the topic.