Two Days and Counting!
After more than six years in the making, INSIDE DRUCKER’S BRAIN will be published this week—on sale Thursday, October 16th. it seems astonishing to me that it has been almost five years to the day that I stood with Peter Drucker in his sitting room, discussing a wide array of topics (selected mostly by him). He turned out to be everything I had hoped for: he was incredibly intelligent, prescient, and well versed on more topics than I could have dreamed of. But as important, I spent a day with someone with incredible humility and warmth and selflessness. Even if you have no interest in business, Inside Drucker’s Brain can instill in you a mindset that can help you in any aspect of your life.
Peter Drucker was always optimistic, and always looked forward. He had a great affinity for this country. He arrived in the United States in 1937 but you would not know it from his terribly thick accent (he sounded more like a physicist than a management guru). Even in his 95th year, he marvelled at the openness and economic mobility that existed in the U.S. Europe was far more structured, he explained to me. He told me that, to this day, Europeans who own their own businesses usually occupy a higher spot on the social ladder than those who work for large corporations (unless somebody is really high up). We care much less about social altitude in this country.
He then gave me a fascinating lesson in business history, by explaining that large corporations popped up pretty much at the same time in the U.S., Japan, and the U.K., in the 1880s or so (France held on to family run businesses longer). Before then, you could get by with what Drucker called “naturals,” that small group of talented titans who ran their own family-owned companies (e.g. Pierre S. du Pont, whose company was founded as a gunpowder mill and still exists today—sans the gunpowder). But when the demand exploded (no pun intended) with the advent of large corporations, “you could no longer depend on the supply of naturals,” asserted Drucker. “You could depend on the supply of naturals when the demand is low. But when you need large numbers [of managers] you have to convert it [management] into something that can be learned or taught, and that’s what I did,” he concluded.
Drucker was telling me about how he invented the field of management, and although he said it cheerfully, he did it with all the fanfare of someone explaining how he passed a history exam rather than someone who established management as a social discipline.
Come back Thursday—the official publication date—to learn more about this remarkable individual!!