The Drucker Lectures – Book Review

After two World Wars, society began to drastically change in an unexpected direction. Out of post-World War II, entrepreneurs were finding the “one-man operation” was not good enough. Steel, railroad, oil and automobile companies began to form, and a manufacturing age was being born. With the manufacturing age came the modern organization: a group of individuals trying to carry out a common goal.

In the middle of it was Peter Drucker, who studied and developed management techniques in order for these organizations to perform effectively. As a consultant, Peter Drucker not only wrote 39 books from the 1930′s onward on organizations and society, but also spent time giving lectures across the globe. The Drucker Lectures is an accumulation of Peter Drucker’s lectures covering a wide array of topics throughout his life: from innovations starting in the 1940′s to modern globalization forming in the 2000′s.

Rick Wartzman, the Executive Director of The Drucker Institute, has searched through the archives dating back to the 1940′s on the best of what Drucker had to offer in the lecture hall. Covering all the way up to 2003, this book guarantees a stimulating read whether you know little of Peter Drucker or everything about the man.

The book is broken into seven parts: starting from the 1940′s to the 2000′s. Just seeing a Table of Contents of dates that span over sixty years is enough to understand the impact Peter Drucker had on society from all levels. The format of the book is a straight-forward view of what Drucker would present in his sessions; the dialog flows smoothly and at times it feels like Peter is orating in front of you imparting his wisdom.

Reading the oratories feels like stepping back in time but with a similar theme of what is relevant today. An example is the theme of technology impacting society resonating throughout the book. In a speech from the 1960′s, Drucker emphasizes how technology is emerging and not only changing the tasks of an organization, but shaping what society can become if used effectively. Going into the 1980′s, Drucker discusses how technology is in the now and how the data from it needs to be processed and turned into results, otherwise it is never-ending information. Even today, organizations need to deal with the unlimited data at their disposal and use it in the most effective way possible.

The best part about this book is how easy it is to read while being incredibly thoughtful. The way Peter Drucker writes and how he speaks is uniquely different, in some of the lectures he even remarks how he may be rambling; however, the content has the same intellectual impact. The brilliance of his thoughts on management, society and the economy are not lost in translation, but more so emphasized when he had the chance to talk and present to those fascinated in what he had to say.

Jorrian Gelink

Management Architect

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