Bob Buford’s Drucker & Me
May 29th, 2014
Peter Drucker was notable for drawing high achievers into his orbit; people he could both teach and learn from. High on that list is Bob Buford, who tells both his own fascinating life story and how it intersected over many years with that of Drucker, in his compelling new book Drucker & Me. It’s a tricky balance to get right, but Buford accomplishes it with grace and quiet strength. The relationship between these two men was one of friendship, mentoring, mutual respect and business.
Drucker considered Buford to be a role model for how to lead a meaningful second half of life, given his transition from a successful career leading a Texas-based cable television company to an equally successful second career as a social entrepreneur, forming both the Leadership Network and Halftime. Buford has written about these topics in a number of books, and Drucker, who rarely wrote forewords for the books of other authors, did it for Buford’s Halftime and Stuck in Halftime. The two also worked together in Buford’s role as a co-founder of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management (now the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute). After Drucker’s death, Buford was the founding chairman of The Drucker Institute, where he is now Chairman Emeritus.
Drucker & Me is both deeply personal, yet also contains lessons for anyone who wants to discover and build on their strengths. The most fascinating component for me is the back story of how Buford introduced Drucker to the world of megachurches, before they became a national phenomenon, as well as the details of Drucker’s work and friendship with pastors like Rick Warren and Bill Hybels, before they became famous. Buford is a man of strong faith, and though there is much that is Christianity-centered in this book, it should have appeal for readers of all faiths and beliefs.
It’s gratifying to see how much coverage Drucker & Me has gotten, including “Meet Peter Drucker through the eyes of his friend,” by Dallas Morning News columnist Cheryl Hall, who has written about Buford for years; “Peter Drucker and Me,” by Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard, whose interview with Rick Warren appears in Drucker’s book The Effective Executive in Action; and “5 Secrets to Being a Great Mentor—From Someone Mentored by the Best,” by Rick Wartzman, executive director of the Drucker Institute, in Time.com.
Good to Great author Jim Collins, who wrote the forewords for two of the last Drucker books, also writes the foreword here. One thing that Buford, Collins, Warren, Hybels and others had in common with Drucker was the ability to combine deep thought and contemplation with purposeful action. Reading Drucker & Me offers valuable clues as to how to accomplish this worthy goal, as a day-to-day struggle and pursuit.