The publication of the new book by Joseph A. Maciariello and Karen E. Linkletter, Drucker’s Lost Art of Management: Peter Drucker’s Timeless Vision For Building Effective Organizations marks a major event in Drucker studies. Maciariello was a longtime professor/colleague and friend of Peter Drucker’s at the Drucker-Ito School. He also coauthored the last three Drucker books: Management: Revised Edition, The Effective Executive in Action and The Daily Drucker. Linkletter was the first archivist at the Drucker Institute (where Maciariello is Director of Research and Academic Director), and is a historian who teaches American Studies at California State University at Fullerton. Although I haven’t finished reading the 456 page book, what I have read is fascinating. The authors explore in detail the roots of Drucker’s thinking that led to his idea of “management as a liberal art,” and his development as a dominant force in modern management.

Considerable added value is provided by their explanations of the people and ideas that influenced Drucker, and then synthesizing many of these ideas to demonstrate their importance in Drucker’s work as a writer, teacher and consultant. So we get, for instance, mini-biographies of Drucker influences such as the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Thorstein Veblen (“The Theory of the Leisure Class”) and many others. There is even a 41 page section on Abraham Lincoln as a case study in leadership in relation to Drucker’s principles.

What I find particularly fascinating about the book is the wealth of material about Drucker in regard to faith, spirituality and religion, and how these areas influenced his work and thinking. Drucker’s books are filled with references to these topics, though as the authors point out, he generally did not make his own religious views a prominent part of his writing or teaching. See in particular their examination of Drucker’s highly personal 1949 essay “The Unfashionable Kierkegaard,” and their background material on Kierkegaard. Although I have not met Linkletter, I have known Maciariello since 2002, when he was the first person I interviewed for my book. For more on his work and relationship with Drucker, see this 2009 interview with Alistair Craven.