The Meaningful Life of Bob Buford: Friend, Associate and Chronicler of Peter Drucker
May 24th, 2018
Almost exactly four years ago, on May 29, 2014, I wrote about Bob Buford’s then-new book, Drucker & Me. Bob died on April 18th, but as you’ll see in some of the tributes I link to below, he led an amazingly full, productive, meaningful, and impactful life. Although I initially knew him through his work and friendship with Peter Drucker, he was well-known and respected in the worlds of business, philanthropy, Christianity, personal development, and publishing.
I first came into contact with Bob years after I read his best-selling books Halftime and Stuck in Halftime, both with Drucker forewords, when I interviewed him by telephone for my first book, Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. The interview took place in 2004, long before I had a book contract, and five years before the book was eventually published. Earlier that year, I reviewed his book Finishing Well for USA TODAY. I wrote about his life, and his relationship with Drucker, in Living in More Than One World, and also wrote about him, though less extensively, in Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way. He provided endorsements for both of those books, and I also wrote an endorsement for Drucker & Me.
With Frances Hesselbein and Richard F. Schubert, Bob was a cofounder of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management (now the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum), in 1990. He also later became the chairman of the Drucker Institute. His influence on the Drucker-related world is incalculable and will remain so for many years. One of the striking things about him, besides his success in business and his transformation into forming such organizations as the Halftime Institute and Leadership Network, was his strong sense of personal growth and improvement. He practiced it in his own life (and I believe it’s one of the factors that connected him to Drucker, but also drew Drucker to him), and in helping others, through his books and his organizations.
Bob Buford was truly one of a kind, and he can’t be replaced. However, his influence and personal example of focused action for making the world a better place will live on in the hearts of people now and long into the future.
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