Living in More Than One World,

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Max De Pree, Peter Drucker and the Art of Leadership

I was saddened recently to learn of the August 8th death, at 92, of Max De Pree, who had an illustrious career as CEO and Chairman of the innovative furniture/design company Herman Miller.

In 1989, after he retired as CEO but while remaining as Chairman, he also started a parallel career as a best-selling leadership author; particularly with his first book, Leadership is an Art; the follow-up Leadership Jazz, and in 1997, with Leading Without Power: Finding Hope in Serving Community. These slim volumes are eloquent, full of wisdom of various types, and spiritually reflective of De Pree’s deep Christian faith.

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35 Years On: Revisiting Peter Drucker’s The Changing World of the Executive

Soaring executive pay. The future of health care. Disappearing manufacturing jobs. Information overload. These are all hot button topics today. They were also subjects written about by Peter Drucker during the mid-1970s to early 1980s, as shown in his 1982 book The Changing World of the Executive. While Drucker contributed to many publications on a regular basis, and published a number of collections of his writings, as I wrote about last year in my post “Peter Drucker: Freelance Writer,” this anthology came primarily from his columns written for the Wall Street Journal between 1975 and 1981.

Although the original book had gone out of print, The Changing World of the Executive was reissued in 2010 by Harvard Business Review Press, as part of its series “The Drucker Library.”  Drucker divides the book into five sections: Executive Agenda, Business Performance, The Non-Profit Sector, People at Work, and the Changing Globe.

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50 Economics Classics: Tom Butler-Bowdon

Tom Butler-Bowdon has recently added another title, 50 Economics Classics, to his long-running and super-effective 50 Classics series.

Part of the genius of this book is broadening the content beyond the people we normally associate with Economics as a discipline and field of study (Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Joseph Schumpeter and so on), to those from other disciplines who have had impact on the field, such as Michael Lewis, Eric Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee, Jane Jacobs and John C. Bogle. The centrality of people, as well as institutions and disciplines, shines throughout, especially in the entries on such titles as Gary Becker’s Human Capital and Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons.

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15 Years After: Reflections on my 2002 Drucker USAT Los Angeles Interview

On July 5, 2002, USA TODAY published my interview/feature story on Peter Drucker, “Scandals Nothing New to Business Guru.” He and I were both in Los Angeles for the SLA/Special Libraries Association annual conference; I was an attendee and he was one of the keynote speakers. (Last week I wrote about the 2017 SLA annual conference in Phoenix.)  It was the first time I had interviewed him in person; I’d interviewed him on earlier occasions for USA TODAY, by trading faxes.

The success of that interview, conducted over four hours the night before his keynote, and the subsequent article, emboldened me a couple of months later to finally start on an idea I’d had for quite some time, to write a book about Drucker and the individual, as opposed to Drucker and the organization.

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Richard Nelson Bolles: A Job Well Done

Few people can match the productive, inspiring and extremely useful life of Richard Nelson Bolles, who died March 31 at 90. He was the source of countless careers, via the wise counsel in his annual job-seeking bible, What Color is Your Parachute? What began in 1970 as a self-published text, not long after he had been an out-of-work Episcopal minister, grew into a publishing behemoth that has sold more than 10 million copies in its various editions, with a number of spinoff titles. After Bolles’ initial do-it-yourself approach, the book was picked up in 1972 by Ten Speed Press, then a tiny operation that eventually was sold to the publishers now known as Penguin Random House, in 2009.

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The World According to Peter Drucker (And Michael Lewis)

Michael Lewis has long been one of the top-selling and most recognized nonfiction authors of our era, with such culture-defining books as Liar’s Poker, Moneyball and The Big Short. His recently published The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds tells the story of the friendship and collaboration decades ago of two Israeli psychologists, the late Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Laureate. (Kahneman, who achieved further fame with his book Thinking, Fast and Slow; writes about his life and work with Tversky in his Nobel biography.)


Lewis is clearly adept at writing about great minds.

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Peter Drucker and the 50th Anniversary Edition of The Effective Executive

Although Peter Drucker wrote a number of books that could justifiably be called classics, perhaps his most beloved is The Effective Executive, newly reissued as a commemorative 50th Anniversary Edition by HarperCollins, his longtime publisher. We are living in a much different world than the one of 1967, but Drucker’s relatively short guide to getting the right things done, and done well, still packs considerable power.

Cover image courtesy HarperCollinsPublishers

There is also significant added value with a seven-and-a-half-page foreword (“Ten Lessons I Learned from Peter Drucker”) by Good to Great author Jim Collins, who also wrote the forewords to The Daily Drucker and Management: Revised Edition; and an afterword by Zachary First, Executive Director of the Drucker Institute, which also published First’s contribution on its website.

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The Return of Peter Drucker’s Novels

A quiet piece of good news from 2016 was the reissue, after more than three decades, of the two novels written by Peter Drucker in the early ‘80s, The Last of All Possible Worlds (1982) and The Temptation to Do Good (1984). The original publisher of both books was HarperCollins (then called Harper & Row), and the new publisher, which has combined the two volumes into one book, is Philadelphia-based Paul Dry Books.


I wrote about both novels, including answers I received from Drucker about them during a 2003 interview conducted at his home in Claremont, California; in my 2009 book Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life, and a blog post from that year, “Peter Drucker: Novelist.”

The new volume has received a nice boost from an insightful and appreciative Wall Street Journal  review by Daniel Johnson, “The Lessons of His Life: It may surprise even his most fervent admirers to learn that Peter Drucker, the world’s best-known business ‘guru,’ was also a novelist.” As noted in the review, Drucker was a longtime columnist for the newspaper, among his many writing activities.

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November: The Unofficial Peter Drucker Month

As this tumultuous month comes to an end, it’s worth noting the significance the month of November held for Peter Drucker. He was born November 19, 1909 and died November 11, 2005.
November is also a major month of Drucker-related/inspired commemorations and activities. On November 3rd, the Peter Drucker Society Korea held its 10th Annual Conference. November 5th was Drucker Day, in Claremont, California; at the Drucker School of Management. November 17-18 marked what has become perhaps the major global management event of the year, the 8th Global Peter Drucker Forum, in Vienna, Austria; produced by the Peter Drucker Society Europe.

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Aileron and Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way

Earlier this month, the innovative nonprofit organization Aileron posted part one and part two of an interview with me about how the principles in my book Create Your Future the Peter Drucker Way can benefit business owners and executives, particularly those in small businesses.

Laptop computer, phone and coffee in the garden - freelance or remote work concept. small depth of field, focus on the keyboard

Aileron is a testament to the value of maintaining focus. Its niche is to provide coaching to owners of small businesses. As it points out on its website, “Small business is the engine that drives economic growth.” Although it provides many online resources, Aileron has a striking, nature-based campus in Tipp City, Ohio; near Dayton, for onsite programs.

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