The life story of Peter Drucker has been told in a number of ways, by a number of people, including Drucker himself. But telling it in photographs is a different twist, thanks to the fascinating, beautifully designed new book Drucker: A Life in Pictures. It is the work of the Drucker Institute, in Claremont, Cal., with an introduction and running commentary by Executive Director Rick Wartzman; and curation of images by archivist Bridget Lawlor. The images of items from the Institute’s Drucker Archives were photographed by a renowned Los Angeles-based photographer, Anne Fishbein. There is so much packed within these pages (and in the Archives itself), that I plan to devote several different blog posts to its contents.

The chapters are arranged by various areas of Drucker’s life, beginning with “The Immigrant,” “The Writer,” “The Teacher,” and so on. The photos are of artifacts (such as his U.S. citizenship card and portions of his FBI file), objects (albums from his record collection, his Brother GX-6750 typewriter) and documents, including letters to and from him and handwritten notes to him. Each chapter begins with a brief interview excerpt. I am honored that an excerpt from my April 11, 2005 interview with him leads off the chapter “Family Man, Friend and Fan.” The names of some of the people who wrote to Drucker provide a sense of how far his reach extended. A short list includes General Electric’s Jack Welch, Herman Miller’s Max De Pree; politicians Daniel P. Moynihan and Newt Gingrich; and, in the baseball world, Peter Bavasi, president of the Cleveland Indians, whom Drucker advised in 1986. Separately, there is a full page photo of him in a Kansas City Royals jacket and cap.

In my next post I’ll get into more of the specifics of some of the letters and notes. In the meantime, the textual and visual contents of this book reinforce the fact that Peter Drucker was a one-of-a-kind person; even the greatest of the novelists he so admired could not have invented his life story.