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The Effective Executive (Classic Drucker Collection) [Paperback]

Peter Drucker
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 May 2007
The measure of the executive, Peter Drucker reminds us, is the ability to 'get the right things done'. Usually this involves doing what other people have overlooked, as well as avoiding what is unproductive.

He identifies five talents as essential to effectiveness, and these can be learned; in fact, they must be learned just as scales must be mastered by every piano student regardless of his natural gifts. Intelligence, imagination and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that convert these into results.

One of the talents is the management of time. Another is choosing what to contribute to the particular organization. A third is knowing where and how to apply your strength to best effect. Fourth is setting up the right priorities. And all of them must be knitted together by effective decision-making.

How these can be developed forms the main body of the book. The author ranges widely through the annals of business and government to demonstrate the distinctive skill of the executive. He turns familiar experience upside down to see it in new perspective. The book is full of surprises, with its fresh insights into old and seemingly trite situations.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2Rev Ed edition (24 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750685077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750685078
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Long recognised in business circles as a voice to listen to'
Harvard Business Review

'...it would be difficult to overestimate his contribution to management thinking'
Financial Times

About the Author

Born in Vienna in 1909, Peter F. Drucker was educated in Austria and England. From 1929 he was a newspaper correspondent abroad and an economist for an international bank in London. Since 1937 he has been in the United States, first as an economist for a group of British banks and insurance companies, and later as a management consultant to several of the country's largest companies, as well as leading companies abroad. Drucker has since had a distinguished career as a teacher, first as Professor of Politics and Philosophy at Bennington College, then for more than twenty years as Professor of Management at the Graduate Business School of New York University. Since 1971 he has been Clarke Professor of Social Science at Claremont Graduate School in California. In addition to his management books, Peter Drucker is also renowned for his prophetic books analysing politics, economics and society. These books span fifty years of modern history beginning with The End of Economic Man (1939) and including The Practice of Management; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Managing in the Next Society; Management Challenges in the 21st Century; The Effective Executive and The Essential Drucker.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Being a Help Rather Than a Bother 13 May 2004
Have you ever run into executives who create more harm than good? Do you realize that some people may see you that way, at least in some situations.
One of the most famous quotes by Peter Drucker is that he sometimes refers to himself as an "insultant" rather than a consultant. His straight talk in this book will direct you onto the right path for helping your organization accomplish more.
Peter Drucker begins this book by pointing out that there is no science of how to improve executive effectiveness, nor any naturally-occurring effective executives. The redeeming point of this problem is that he argues that executive effectiveness can be learned.
The principles begin with a focus on time management. We can get greater quantities of every other resource we need, except time. Drucker reports that executives spend their time much differently than they think they do and much differently than they would like to. His solution is to begin by measuring how you spend your time, and compare it with an ideal allocation. Than begin to systematically get rid of the unimportant in favor of the important. His suggestions include stopping some things, delegation, creating policy decisions to replace ad hoc decisions, staying out of things that others should do, and so forth. Any student of time management will recognize the list he suggests. One of the best points is to give yourself large blocks of uninterrupted time to do more significant tasks. He also cautions us not to cut down on time spent with other people. If an hour is required, don't try to do it in 15 minutes.
Next, Drucker argues that we should focus on what will make a difference rather than unimportant questions. Otherwise, we will fill our time with motion rather than proceeding towards results.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Peter F. Drucker is probably the greatest management thinker of the 20st Century. He has been Professor at New York University and at 83 years old still teaches at the Graduate Management School of Claremont University, California. This book, originally published in 1966, is split up in seven chapters, plus a conclusion.
Effectiveness is not just about intelligence, imagination and knowledge, it is about getting results. And the author believes that "effectiveness can be learned - and it also has to be learned." In Chapter 1 - Effectiveness Can Be Learned, Drucker discusses the five habits of the mind that have to be acquired to be an effective executive: 1. Know thy time; 2. Outward contribution, or what can I contribute?; 3. Making strength productive; 4. First things first; and 5. Effective decision-making. Each of these elements of executive effectiveness are covered in the next five chapters.
In Chapter 2 - Know Thy Time, Drucker explains the three-step process that is the foundation of executive effectiveness. Step 1 is the recording of time; step 2 is the management of time; and step 3 is the consolidation of time. Time is the limiting factor. "Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed."
"The focus on contribution is the key to effectiveness: in a man's own work ...; in his relations with others ...; and in his use of the tools of the executive ..." This outward contribution is the subject of Chapter 3 - What Can I Contribute? The executive is accountable for the performance of the whole. This accountability results in four basic requirements of effective human relations in order to manage the effectiveness of the team: 1. communications; 2. teamwork; 3. self-development; and 4. development of others.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy guide to becoming a top executive 20 April 2009
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
As an author and an intellectual, the late Peter F. Drucker was a true business sage. Recognized as the father of modern management, Drucker forecast numerous pivotal trends, including decentralization, privatization and the development of the information society. He introduced the concept of the "knowledge worker," a term he employs widely in this fascinating book. His internal study of General Motors, Concept of the Corporation, greatly influenced how businesses conduct their affairs. Each Drucker book is a genuine business classic, including this one. getAbstract believes it will help you think productively about what you do. No one writes more intelligently or presciently on management and its functions than Drucker. All executives, even those who are already effective, will benefit from reading this informative, enlightening book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Note: The title of this review is a portion of one of Peter Drucker's most important insights: "The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The true dangerous thing is asking the wrong question."

* * *

I first read this book when it was originally published in 1967 and have since re-read it several times because, in my opinion, it provides some of Peter Drucker's most important insights on how to "get the right work done and done the right way." By nature an "executive" is one who "executes," producing a desired result (an "effect") that has both impact and value. As Drucker once observed in an article that appeared in Harvard Business Review at least 40 years ago, "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." Therefore, the effective executive must develop sound judgment. Difficult - sometimes immensely difficult - decisions must be made. Here are eight practices that Drucker recommended 45 years ago:

o Ask, "what needs to be done?"
o Ask, "What is right for the enterprise?"
o Develop an action plan
o Take responsibility for decisions.
o Take responsibility for communications.
o Focus on opportunities rather than on problems.
o Conduct productive meetings.
o Think in terms of first-person PLURAL pronouns ("We" rather than "I").

The first two practices give executives the knowledge they need; the next four help them convert this knowledge into effective action; the last two ensure that the entire organization feels responsible and accountable, and will thus be more willing to become engaged. "I'm going to throw in one final, bonus practice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars reads like it was written in 2012 instead of deep last
Phenomenal book, reads like it was written in 2012 instead of deep last century
Published 23 days ago by Michael A Best
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best book of its kind IMHO
Published 3 months ago by Toby Micklethwait
5.0 out of 5 stars 2nd to none
It is not a long book, but if you ever bother thinking about reading a business book, this is the one. Read more
Published 4 months ago by D. I. Gray
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting.
This book is one of those books that is a must for anyone that wants to be more financially savvy. One of the main teachings in this book is that we are moving into a information... Read more
Published on 28 Oct 2012 by John Macklin
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective Executive
Originally I was put off by the word "Executive' because I'm not. By Executive Drucker is referring to knowledge workers: those paid for their mental output rather than their... Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by Mr. M. Tickle
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic and interesting book
This was a pleasant book to read. Drucker writes well and offers plenty of food for thought. The essence:
1. Effective executives know where their time goes.
2. Read more
Published on 23 Dec 2011 by Melvin
5.0 out of 5 stars Principles of the effective knowledge worker
Some books, while brief, offer deep insights. This is such a book. Written in 1967, the examples the author draws on feel old and, on my first reading, I did not find the author's... Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2009 by Olivier Andre
5.0 out of 5 stars Spoiled by the previous owner
Unfortunately, this book - which may be great - was spoiled for me by the actions of the previous owner, who took a bright pink felt pen and drew lines through many passages. Read more
Published on 9 July 2009 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A seminal book
I have read many management books. The Effective Executive tops most of them for its stark simplicity in stating key predicaments of effective management. Read more
Published on 13 May 2009 by The Flying Dutchman
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a comment about typesetting
I bought this book six months ago here from Amazon UK but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet because the typesetting was so poor - it instantly put me off. Read more
Published on 4 July 2006 by Barry Kelly
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