Book Review: The Essential Drucker.

I just finished reading “The Essential Drucker” which includes chapters excerpted from a number of management consultant Peter Drucker’s life work.  Though he comes up with odd definitions sometimes (the purpose of a business is to “create a customer”?) the writing was insightful and helpful.

I especially liked the parts on managing ourselves.  While I’m not exactly a “Knowledge Worker” (Drucker’s pet phrase) his emphasis on how to judge your own contribution, time management, and effectiveness helped structure my thinking on my work for the hospital.  I don’t even have a top down job description or supervisor, though I’m trying to get the Medical Superintendant and the head of Industrial to give me a performance review, it is hard to get into their schedules.

My favorite part of the book was his essay on leadership.  Basically, he worked to debunk the charismatic vision of leadership and used various military and business leaders to support the thesis that there is no such thing as a leadership personality, but rather the leader provides a direction and manages.  An article on the same topic I also liked by David brooks is here (  Brooks insightfully argues that leadership requires discernment to pick a path and that overpowerfull personalities distort their environment, fundamentally disadvantaging them when it comes to discerning context. (I was on a David Brooks kick and also really liked this ( article with its connection of psychology and political process design)

Unrelated to the book, a former Tenwek CEO is in town and it is amazing and scary to see how much time he spends meeting and talking with people on the street.  I’m not sure I want to know everyone like that.  It is hard to walk anywhere, much less remember anyone’s name.

Also unrelated, if I had a coffee table, this blog’s book would be cool on it.


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