Bookcase: What would Drucker do now?

• By Rick Wartzman
• McGrawHill
• RRP $44.99
At its core, management “deals with people, their values, their growth and development – and this makes it humanity,” Peter Drucker, the greatest management guru of them all, once wrote.
He continued: “So does its [management’s] concern with, and impact on, social structure and community.” Management, he concluded, is “deeply involved in moral concerns – the nature of man, good and evil”. Prompts and insights like these, pepper this delightfully useful book.
Rick Wartzman, like Drucker, is writer. He’s also the executive director of Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker Institute – an organisation that advances Drucker’s teachings. He’s former reporter and editor and columnist who has written around 100 “The Drucker Difference” columns for BusinessWeek magazine. He never met his meal ticket but he is totally immersed in his legacy of management literature.
The reason this book, collection of 80 of Wartzman’s columns, is so relevant to every manager everywhere, is that the need for effective management and ethical leadership has never been more pressing. And here in 247 pages are many of the perspicacious observations of the world’s greatest management mind.
The book is compiled as seven subject themes: Management as discipline; The practice of management; Management challenges for the 21st century; On Wall Street and finance; On values and responsibility; The public and social sectors; Art, music and sports.
Wartzman concedes that he really has no idea what Drucker would do about so many of today’s testing issues. But his four years of writing “The Drucker Difference” columns has seeped him sufficiently to “provide sense of how Drucker might react to issues dominating today’s headlines”.
He has mined Drucker’s 39 books and countless magazine and newspaper articles from which he has crafted his columns. Writing The Drucker Difference columns became his “biweekly attempt to achieve some kind of mind meld with one of the greatest minds of the 20th century”. And he does true craftsman’s job. For columnist to hit upon means of keeping one of the world’s best minds alive and ever relevant is journalistic masterstroke, the result of which is there for managers worthy of the title, to access, reflect on and learn from.
Drucker may be gone but, thanks to Wartzman, his writing, which is so foundational, timeless and insightful, is not forgotten.

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