The Essential Drucker–Still in the Bookcase

The Essential Drucker

Most of my classroom managerial texts are long gone.  They had well outlived their time. But for one reason or another, I’ve seem to keep the ones that had some sort of impact, something beyond the obvious, something beyond organizational cliches.  “The Essential Drucker” is one of them.  As stated on the cover, it is “The Best of sixty years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management.”  That’s a whole lot of valuable wisdom and insight tucked between those paperback covers. Here are just a few of his notions:

On the Need for Community–“But individuals, and especially knowledge workers, need an additional sphere of social life, of personal relationships, and of contribution outside and beyond the job, outside and beyond organization, indeed, outside and beyond their own specialized knowledge area.”

On the Volunteer as Citizen–“Citizenship in and through the social sector is not a panacea for the ills of post-capitalist society and post-capitalist polity, but it may be a prerequisite for tackling these ills.  It restores the civc responsibility that is the mark of citizenship, and civic pride that is the mark of community.”

On the Employee Society–“Management, in most business schools, is still taught as a bundle of techniques, such as the technique of budgeting.  To be sure, management, like any other work, has its own tools and its own techniques. But just as the essence of medicine is not the urinalysis, important though it is, the essence of management is not technique and procedures. The essence of management is to make knowledge productive. Management, in other words, is a social function. And in its practice, management is truly a ‘liberal art.’

Fortunately, this compilation of Dr. Drucker’s wisdom is still in print. I’ve had my copy since 2001. Yes, it spends most of its time collecting dust. But when I need a shot of “Peter,” he is just an arms length away.

Steve Harding

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