Drucker was the most practical of management practitioners, so don’t let the title of this book fool you. The Practical Drucker attempts to distill Drucker’s teachings for a new generation of business leaders. The goal of the book isn’t to make practical that which is impractical but rather to help you “apply the wisdom of the world’s greatest management thinker.”

William Cohen is uniquely suited to write this book because he’s the president of the California Institute of Advanced Management and was the first student to complete Claremont College’s executive Ph.D. program under Drucker. As such, Cohen is intimate with Drucker’s thinking in a way that few are. He categorizes Drucker’s important teachings into four areas:

  1. People: Drucker believed everything started with people and that the practice of ethical, supportive leadership was the foundation upon which great things are built. Drucker’s favorite leadership book is 2,000 years old: The Persian Expedition by Xenophon. Xenophon knew “there was never a reason for inaction…that people must always face the facts and take whatever action needs to be taken.”

  2. Management: Drucker believed that if you had problems, you needed to decide what to do about them. He said, “Take charge and decide what you are going to do next…Use your resources and don’t get discouraged.”

  3. Marketing and Innovation: Drucker reminded everyone to always know what the customer values. If the company’s and the customer’s definition of value aren’t aligned, then the company’s efficiency wouldn’t matter for very long.

  4. Organization: Drucker said that it wasn’t a company’s purpose to make a profit. The only one valid purpose for a business was to make a customer: “To supply the wants and needs of a customer, society entrusts wealth-producing resources to the business enterprise.”

The Practical Drucker gives you much to consider. After reading this well-written and engaging book, you may (like me) look at the world through a different lens.

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