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What Would Drucker Do Now?: Solutions to Today’s Toughest Challenges from the Father of Modern Management [Hardcover]

Rick Wartzman
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Book Description

Aug. 17 2011

An in-depth look at today’s most pressing business issues through the eyes of Peter Drucker—the father of modern management

“Channeling Peter Drucker to tackle some of this century’s most difficult topics, What Would Drucker Do Now? is a veritable treasure trove of fascinating reading. Drucker’s insights were nothing short of remarkable, and Rick Wartzman pays high tribute to that fact while adding a few of his own.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO And What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“Rick Wartzman has accomplished what I didn’t think was possible: a tapestry of ideas drawn from Wartzman’s observations and personal experiences, woven together with the wisdom of the most important management thinker of this or any other age.”
—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Management, the University of Southern California, and author of the recently published Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

“Peter Drucker’s thinking has had an enduring impact on consumer-driven companies like Macy’s. . . . [What Would Drucker Do Now?] serves as a compendium of the very best ideas that can help all of our companies win in a highly competitive marketplace for products, services, and customer experiences.”
—Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President, and CEO, Macy’s Inc.

“This collection of essays . . . will broaden you as a manager, a leader, and as a human being. . . . Rick Wartzman has done the world a great service by collecting the most incisive observations of a beautiful mind and linking them to problems that face leaders and organizations everywhere.”
—Brian Walker, President and CEO, Herman Miller, Inc.

“If Peter Drucker is the master, Rick Wartzman is the prized pupil. Drucker would be delighted to see his theories applied in such a cogent, thoughtful fashion.”
—Jim Weddle, Managing Partner, Edward Jones, and consulting client of Peter Drucker

About the Book:

As technology, globalization, and business innovation advance at breakneck speed, the question “What would Drucker do now?” becomes more relevant by the day. More than anyone of his time, Peter Drucker understood how the individual, the organization, and society are interrelated. And no one better recognized and articulated the challenges facing all three—or came up with more practical solutions to those challenges.

Since 2007, the Drucker Institute’s executive director, Rick Wartzman, has been asking what Drucker would do on a regular basis— in his popular online column for Bloomberg Businessweek. In each piece, Wartzman introduces a current issue and provides a view of it through the eyes of Peter Drucker, based on his deep knowledge of Drucker’s ideas and ideals.

What Would Drucker Do Now? culls Wartzman’s best, most timely columns into a single volume, offering a perspective on business and society you won’t find anywhere else. Featuring more than 80 articles, the book is organized into seven thematic sections:

  • Management as a Discipline
  • The Practice of Management
  • Management Challenges for the Twenty-First Century
  • On Wall Street and Finance
  • On Values and Responsibility
  • The Public and Social Sectors
  • Art, Music, and Sports

Covering everything from the federal bailout of GM and the scandal at Goldman Sachs to the roles religion and race relations play in a well-functioning society, What Would Drucker Do Now? explores a range of subjects as broad as Drucker’s remarkable mind. Wartzman provides a smart, original, and provocative look at a world being buffeted by change and in which all organizations—private, public, and nonprofit—are searching for answers. What would Drucker do now, indeed?


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About the Author

Rick Wartzman is the executive director of Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker Institute, an organization that advances the teachings of Peter F. Drucker with the aim of bettering society by stimulating effective management and responsible leadership. A former reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times, he is a columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek online and the editor of The Drucker Lectures: Essential Lessons on Management, Society, and Economy.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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5.0 out of 5 stars What Would Drucker do Now by Rick Wartzman Jan. 20 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wartzman---the executive director of Claremont Graduate University's Drucker Institute---provides readers with a 273 page provocative primer on Peter Drucker known affectionately as the father of modern management. For readers who are managers, and for those who have studied management---and for those who wished they were managers but are not---this book is an excellent recap of the ideas, philosophy, and challenges by one of the most influential management consultant, educator, scholar, and writer from the 1930's to 2005.
Wartzman weaves an engaging and easy-to-read tapestry by asking what Drucker would do, what advice he would profer, and what solutions he would provide, given some of the organizational challenges of both yesterday and today. Wartzman invites readers to consider "what would Drucker do now" from his online column for Bloomberg Businessweek. The book is a compilation of some of these columns organizated under seven sections or headings: Management as a Discipline; The Practice of Management; Management Challenges for the 21st Century; On Wall Street and Finance; On Values and Responsibility; The Public and Social Sectors; and Art,Music,and Sports.
The author does a splendid job of referencing some of Druckers well known and often repeated management axioms such as : "different people have to be managed diferently" ; "structure must follow strategy" ; "work is an extension of personality"; "dissent is essential for effective decision-making"; "the best way to predict the future is to create it" ; plus many others.
Wartzman further touches upon many additional "Druckerisms" such as, for example, the concept of the knowledge worker; the theory of the business; the age of discontinuity; bandwagon psychology; managerial myopia; ethical leadership to name a few.
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I recently read this book and What Would Steve Jobs Do?, written by Peter Sander and also published by McGraw-Hill. Initially, I suspected that both were (or would become) part of a "What Would X Do?" series that might also include Sun Tzu, Socrates, Machiavelli, and Von Clauswitz or, within the domain of business, Henry Ford, Albert Sloan, one or both of the Thomas Watsons, and Walt Disney. It turns out, the two "What Would" books share little in common, except for the quality of their content and of their authors' presentation of it.

Rick Wartzman is well-qualified (as is his Drucker Institute colleague, Joe Maciariello) to select, from Peter Drucker's 39 books and countless articles, "solutions to today's toughest challenges." When faced with a challenge, most business leaders attempt to respond to it guided by what they know and by what they have done. If their respond succeeds, fine. But if it doesn't, what to do? They usually seek a second opinion, perhaps from an associate. I agree with Wartzman that they would be well-advised to seek the assistance they need from Drucker and this book is designed to facilitate, indeed expedite that connection.

At this point, it should be noted that, if anything, Drucker was even more proficient at asking the right questions (usually in combination) than he was at providing the right answers. More to the point, he asked those questions before anyone else did. Many people have characterized Drucker "dated," "out of touch," "irrelevant," etc. This suggests to me that they have read few (if any) of his works. Because Drucker was so expert at asking the right questions, he could then focus on answering them and thereby reveal essential truths.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For every especially important question or an especially serious problem, Peter Drucker probably has the answer or solution. Feb. 17 2012
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I recently read this book and What Would Steve Jobs Do?, written by Peter Sander and also published by McGraw-Hill. Initially, I suspected that both were (or will become) part of a "What Would X Do?" series that might also include Sun Tzu, Socrates, Machiavelli, and Von Clauswitz or, within the domain of business, Henry Ford, Albert Sloan, one or both of the Thomas Watsons, and Walt Disney. It turns out, the two "What Would" books share little in common, except for the quality of their content and of their authors' presentation of it.

Rick Wartzman is well-qualified (as is his Drucker Institute colleague, Joe Maciariello) to select, from Peter Drucker's 39 books and countless articles, "solutions to today's toughest challenges." When faced with a challenge, most business leaders attempt to respond to it guided by what they know and by what they have done. If their respond succeeds, fine. But if it doesn't, what to do? They usually seek a second opinion, perhaps from an associate. I agree with Wartzman that they would be well-advised to seek the assistance they need from Drucker and this book is designed to facilitate, indeed expedite that connection.

At this point, it should be noted that, if anything, Drucker was even more proficient at asking the right questions (usually in combination) than he was at providing the right answers. More to the point, he asked those questions before anyone else did. Many people have characterized Drucker "dated," "out of touch," "irrelevant," etc. This suggests to me that they have read few (if any) of his works. Because Drucker was so expert at asking the right questions, he could then focus on answering them and thereby reveal essential truths. As cited by Wartzman, here are a few examples of insights that have enduring value:

"There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer."

"The business enterprise has two - and only these two - basic functions: marketing and innovation."

"The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told - either by the task or by the boss - to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves profoundly challenges social structure."

"Innovation and entrepreneurship are...needed in society as much as in the economy, in public-service institutions as much as in businesses."

And here's my personal favorite:

"There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."

Wartzman has created an immensely readable "cornucopia" of Drucker material, of course, but in combination with hundreds of complementary annotations, all of which help to create a context for the given Drucker insight. For example:

o What C.K. Prahalad learned from Drucker, Pages 22-24
o Drucker on the computer as a "logic machine," Pages 39-40
o Warren Buffett and succession planning, Pages 45-47
o Kathy Cloninger and the ""keeping quiet" strategy, Pages 97-99
o Drucker on "courting the noncustomer," Pages 109-110
o Sony's "chief transformation officer," George Bailey, Pages 121-123
o Florian Ramseger on Drucker's relevance to cloud computing, Pages 172-174

With regard to this book's formal organization, it caught me by surprise because I had expected the table of contents for the seven chapters to provide more than their titles. Each covers a general business subject such as "Management as a Discipline." Granted, most (if not all) challenges fall within one of the seven categories and some, perhaps, in more than one. I would have preferred more specificity. That said, I presume to suggest that those who obtain this book skim read the heads and sub-heads, noting which subjects seem most relevant to the given challenge, be it a threat or an opportunity.

Those who read this entertaining as well as informative book owe a substantial debt of gratitude to Rick Warzman, not only for his skillful selection of the material but also for his brilliant presentation of it. His own insights by no means intrude on the narrative; on the contrary, they enrich it. Bravo!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A topical introduction into Drucker's ideas and thoughts Aug. 30 2011
By Mark P. McDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
What would Drucker do now? This is an interesting question posed by Rick Wartzman in his book of the same name. Fans of Peter Drucker will appreciate Wartzman's efforts to recast Drucker's statements and ideas against a range of modern business challenges and failures including Toyota's quality problems, the Wall Street collapse, GM's bankruptcy and others.

The book mirrors much of Drucker's latter books. Those were anthologies of articles. This book is an anthology of blog posts written by Wartzman over the past two years organized into seven broad categories:

Management and a discipline
The practice of management
Management challenges of the twenty-first century
On Wall Street and finance
On values and responsibility
The public and social sectors
Art, music and sports

Within each category is about a dozen individual blog posts organized around an event that illustrates an organization that would benefit from or best illustrates one or more of Drucker's ideas. Each post is about 1,000 words long making for quick and condensed reading that propels the reader through the situation and then how Drucker might respond based on his past writings and ideas.

Publishing a collection of blog posts as a book is a fairly new genre that has few rules or guidelines. Wartzman has done a good job selecting individual posts for the topics involved. However, the posts do repeat themselves across the length of the book and in some cases two different posts on the same subject provide slightly conflicting advice. The book would be great if it was edited and rewritten to be better in tune with a book reader rather than a blog reader.

Overall, the book is a good general introduction for people who are not familiar with Peter Drucker's ideas and concepts. Recommended to people who have a passing familiarity with Drucker and are interested to learn more. They will benefit from Wartzman's blog posts that put Drucker into modern situations and contexts. Those who are deep Drucker fans will enjoy the book as well, but it is not a `must read' for them. For people wanting to really study and understand Drucker's ideas and theories of management, there is no better substitute than reading the man himself.

Strengths

The organization of situations and ideas into the topics above is an influential way to make the material accessible to people who do not know Drucker's work in detail.

The blog posts are well written, focused and well selected to be topical and connect the reader with recent business events.

The blog posts provide a topical and context heavy index to Drucker's work and publications. The reader can easily go to the original source material from reading these posts. This creates a gateway into the considerable body of Peter Drucker's work.

Challenges

The blog posts are rather fragmented leading to fragmenting Drucker's ideas and messages. In several places the same idea, for example the theory of the business, is repeated in different places and as answers for different situations. Understanding that and other concepts would have been clearer if the posts were less fragmented or organized by concept rather than topic.

It is understandable that Wartzman would be a devotee of Drucker as he is the executive director of the Drucker institute. His affection for Drucker shows through in the writing, which when taking together for more than 250 pages can get in the way of the message. Drucker was a great thinker, but not every one of his ideas was perfect. The superlatives found in the blog posts do get in the way.

The book is more about what would Drucker do based on what he has written rather than how would current events evolve, strengthen or challenge Drucker's ideas. It is true that Drucker's principles and main points are mostly timeless, but to say that they are universally applicable and provide a path forward places Drucker at a disadvantage.

People who are fans of Peter Drucker should probably access the website which originated these blog posts as I am sure there is more there and discussions of the posts. People who are interested in learning more about Drucker and the relevance of his ideas should read this book as it provides a topical introduction to Drucker's ideas and thoughts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would Peter Drucker do? Wartzman's book is vital reading Nov. 10 2011
By Joanna Daneman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"If this century proves one thing, it is the futility of politics" Drucker, 1994

This is a very timely book, extracting and expanding on the writings of Peter Drucker, who died at age 95 in 2005 after a lifetime of writings that are considered essential reading in business. He described himself as "social ecologist" but in essence, he was THE business philosopher of our times, and his outlook did not always agree with current business practice and philosophy, but his advice and wisdom was sought by many CEO's and business leaders. Author Rick Wartzman is the director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University and had worked for twenty years as a newspaper reporter, editor and business columnist. He is imminently qualified to take us through current situations such as the bailouts, political struggles, and even race relations through the lens of Drucker's work.

I can't think of an author I would want to read MORE right now, considering the turbulence of the current world situation. Every day, the headlines blare more disturbing news. Here are the words of one of the most revered writers on business and management, but using today's news as a background to the general principles of business that Drucker taught and wrote about.

In this book, one chapter I particularly like is the analysis of the UAW GM situation, which is chapter on management challenges of the 21st Century (the first chapter I turned to.) The book also talks about management as a discipline and as a practice, using recent situations such as the Nokia-Microsoft deal.

The author comments on the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, who invented "microcredit" and though seeming idealist, took a very pragmatic idea (small loans that could jump-start a poor person's business endeavor but risked little) and which had a profound effect in taking a poverty-ridden country like Bangladesh onto a path of greater prosperity. "Classic Drucker" in that "hard, organized, purposeful work" are what make a brilliant idea succeed. The idea doesn't succeed on its own brilliance.

A chapter deals with management "values and responsibilities." It's not just about profit, despite what people are shouting in the public square. Lasting success does not come from rapine. It comes from hard work, sticking to good values, using good practices consistently, and implementing them at every level of business, that "hard, organized, purposeful work."

Peter Drucker lived a long and productive life, but despite the fact he was granted more time than most, he's sorely missed. Here is a book that looks at our current dilemmas in business and economics and takes the Drucker philosophy and writings and helps the reader interpret and assess the issues facing us today. I really appreciated this book because we ARE facing monumental challenges, and being able to evaluate those new challenges and find solutions requires really seminal thinking. Peter Drucker is not around today, but Wartzman's interpretation and his own estimations in this new book are provocative and thoughtful reading. Highly recommended.
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