Peter Drucker: Novelist
May 12th, 2009
Although it wasn’t a well-known aspect of his long and highly successful career, Peter Drucker published two novels: The Last of All Possible Worlds (1982) and The Temptation to Do Good (1984). The latter is the subject of an unexpected, and fascinating, Inside Higher Ed essay by higher education consultant Melanie Ho, Business and the Relevance of Liberal Arts. I think he would be pleased at the carefully thought-out, sympathetic portrayal of the book, and how its ideas and central questions have relevance for today’s academic world, twenty five years later.
When I interviewed Drucker at his home in Claremont, California six years ago for my forthcoming book, I wanted to get his thoughts on the novels, because I knew that he had long wanted to write fiction as well as nonfiction, yet the fiction writing ultimately didn’t work out as well as he would have liked. I wanted to know if he would decide to try this genre again. His reply was both poignant and realistic: “It decided; I had no idea. I lived with the characters of those two novels for many years before I wrote the novels. I don’t live with any characters [now].” Perhaps Melanie Ho’s perceptive essay will help spark interest in Drucker’s fiction for a new generation of readers that wasn’t alive when his novels were published.