36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2006
For a long time I had been intending to read something of Drucker. He is, after all, the grandfather of management science. But I kept putting it off, for I am a busy executive and need answers to my current management problems. The old man, I thought, would have less to tell me then, say, Roberts in "The Modern Firm" (which is an excellent book) or some of my internal reports.
"The Essential Drucker" it seemed, would be the right way to do my duty to history. Here I could quickly peruse a medley of the Drucker's outdated thoughts, and move on.
Oh how wrong I was.
Drucker's writing is as fresh and relevant today as when first written. His prescient insights foreshadow many recent works. Indeed, I found all of Tom Collins in the first few chapters; condensed and not said in quite the same way, of course, but the essential insights were the same. Drucker has reminded me that fundamental truths are timeless.
And there is something else I especially like; the tone. Drucker writes like a commander. He has confidence - not a blaring promotional edge - but a sense of solidity and authority that comes from saying things meaningful, clear, practical, logical; things from someone with his feet firmly on the ground.
Don't miss this book if you are not sure of where to start with Drucker. It may whet your appetite for more Drucker.
69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Before going further, let me note that this book is mislabeled. The excerpts in this book are from only ten of Professor Drucker's more than 30 management books. Although there is some reference to nonprofit management (where he spent half of his time), this volume does not encapsulate all of his ideas in that sphere. Many of his early ideas about society are also missing.
As great as his ideas about management are, his observations about how to think are even more valuable. The book contains no material from his autobiography, Adventures of a Bystander. You cannot hope to fully appreciate this material until you read that book.
What the book does contain is a fairly easy to follow series of 26 excerpts from the ten books, organized into three sections: Management, Individual, and Society. These books date back to 1954, so you get an overview of part of his work over the last 47 years. This overview will mainly be valuable to managers who have read very little Drucker, since there is essentially no new material in the book. The excerpts are also not connected by any transitions, so there is no additional perspective available from the book's organization.
Here are the sources of the chapters:
The New Realities, Chapters 1 and 26;
Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 18;
Managing for the Future, Chapters 4 and 19;
Management Challenges for the 21st Century, Chapters 6, 15, 21;
Managing in a Time of Great Change, Chapters 7 and 23;
Practice of Management, Chapter 8;
Frontiers of Management, Chapter 9;
Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Chapters 10-12, 20, and 24;
The Effective Executive, Chapters 13, 14, 16, and 17; and
Post-Capitalist Society, Chapters 22 and 25.
If you are not familiar with Professor Drucker, he is generally considered to be the first person to think systematically about what management is and needs to become. He was also the first to identify that we were moving into a knowledge-based society where the focus of work and the ways that work is organized would have to be totally transformed. His definition of what a business must do is the most often quoted one around: "The purpose of a business is to create a customer." Innovation and marketing are the prime tasks. The book is especially deep in references to his seminal thinking on how to innovate and to operate entrepreneurial businesses. He was also the first twentieth century thinker to see the connection between management of for profit and nonprofit organizations, and that both types of organizations are needed in growing numbers for a sound society. This book is also deeply presents his thinking about the social responsibility of business.
I am still impressed by how substantial his imprint is on all management books that I read. Whether or not Professor Drucker is cited, credited, or admired in these books, almost all of them are simply restatements or elaborations on his fundamental concepts. I hope this edition of his work will help extend his influence further into the future with new generations of executives and managers.
After you finish reading these landmark ideas, I suggest that you think about one element of the book from the individual section. What values do you want to bring to your work? Are you succeeding? If yes, congratulations! How can you accomplish more? If not, what can you change to make those values come to life?
Use your work as a canvas upon which to paint a better world, as Professor Drucker has!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2009
When I bought this book I was lost between the top 10 Management books written by Drucker as I was looking for a general preview of his work, his basic principles and theory on management. This book is what it's title says: the Essential guide to Drucker's theory, with just enough analysis and theory to back up his basic management science cornerstones, as well as a substantial preview of the 21st century challenges that have been addressed by Drucker as early as the 80's... Great read for someone who wishes to get an in-depth knowledge of the Sage of Management.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2010
A terrific compendium of Peter Drucker's 'greatest hits'. You'll want to read other books after digesting this, and you'll have a clear idea of which other books to read. That's important because Drucker was so prolific and covered many topics that are relevant to management. After reading this you'll have a solid foundation in Druckerism, so to say. If he is new to you, then prepare to enjoy a fascinating ride in the head-spinner.
on 5 May 2014
I found this easy to read and accessible introduction into the insights of great thinker. Drucker's ideas about the moral purpose of companies and his insights into what management should be must read for all company directors. Enjoyable, uplifting and inspiring. A must read for anyone with a serious interesting in corporations, management, business etc