Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review “Living in More Than One World-How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life” Authored By Bruce Rosenstein – Professor M.S.Rao, Reviewer

“There isn’t any Nobel Prize for management thinking.  But it’s just as well because it would have been won every year by the same man – Peter Drucker.” – Goffrey Colvin, Editor of Fortune Magazine

Bruce Rosenstein’s book Living in More Than One World How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life reveals the principles and philosophies of Peter Drucker and his relevance to make a difference in the lives of others. He writes about Peter Drucker from new perspective by following the road less traveled.  No one can write better than Bruce as the history blessed Bruce to interact, associate and interview the management legend.  

The book contains great quotes from Drucker that break ice with readers effectively.  The author provides Peter Drucker’s philosophy and principles on platter. It helps you find meaning to your life by managing your time effectively and balancing work and life by living in more than one world as we have only one life to live. The author brings Peter Drucker alive through his writings. Those who missed Peter Drucker can find him in this book.

Many people are not aware of other aspects, interests and passions of Drucker. This book reveals about the complete personality of Peter Drucker. Hence, the book is an interesting read for all of us to see Drucker from multiple perspectives. Usually the world knows Drucker only as the father of modern management.  However, it unveils much beyond management.  It reveals Drucker’s two unsuccessful books, The Last of All Possible Worlds (1982) and The Temptation to Do Good (1984).  Such revelations make the book more interesting. Here is his brief biography.

Peter Drucker – Brief Profile

Peter Drucker juggled multiple careers as a successful teacher, writer, and consultant, and made it work. He published more than forty books and hundreds of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles. In 2002, President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

He learnt a lot while teaching the subject and from students as well. He kept in contact with many of his former students long after they graduated. Many phoned or visited him. He is wise but tough-minded.  He is good-humoured yet serious, and profound when the need arises. He is capable of introspection, yet always his focus is on others. He mastered throughout his life by learning, relearning and unlearning.

Even into old age, Drucker maintained marvelous physical stamina.  One of the reasons he gave for his longevity was the need to keep up with the pace set by his wife, Doris.  She maintains a regular regimen of exercise and still plays tennis in her mid nineties. He was a regular swimmer who had a pool in his backyard and for many years, until his knees gave out, an avid walker and an active mountain hiker.

Peter Drucker was ahead of his times.  He was a great visionary who foresaw mushrooming knowledge workers and coined several concepts including MBO (management by objectives).  He influenced many thinkers such as Marshall Goldsmith, Frances Hesselbein, and others.  Both Hamel and Prahalad paid rich tributes to Drucker by saying, “whose wisdom has benefitted our work enormously.”

In The Effective Executive, Drucker set out four rules for priority setting, which can be briefly summarized as: focus on the future, not the past; focus on opportunities, not problems; don’t climb on bandwagons and forget safe options; and aim high, at “something that will make a difference.”

The author recalls Drucker drawing a distinction between achievement over a lifetime of good work versus the goal of making money for its own sake.  “I’ve known quite a few people,” he said, “whose main goal was to make money.  And they all made it … If you are single-minded, focused on making money, you’ll make money.  And without exception, they were all utterly miserable.  They reached that goal, and there was nothing left.”

Drucker advises that knowledge workers must start learning during their formal schooling and never stop throughout their lives.  They must develop, beyond a subject knowledge, the ability to learn. Knowledge is always becoming obsolete, and new subjects continually emerge.  He further adds, “Teaching gives knowledge workers a setting for organizing knowledge logically, in ways they may not have considered.  This can add to your personal networks and enrich your life.”

Drucker laid out some first principles of knowledge work and the knowledge society on May 4, 1994, in the prestigious Edwin L. Godkin Lecture at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. The key knowledge principles advanced in his lecture are:

           Continuous learning is necessary.
           The acquisition and application of knowledge is increasingly important as a competitive factor for individuals, organizations, industries, and countries.
           In the knowledge society, leadership is open to any individual.
           The availability of knowledge means hypercompetition for individuals, organizations, industries, and countries.
           Theoretical knowledge is not enough.
           Knowledge work requires making yourself understood by others, and the ability to learn how to integrate the specialized knowledge of others with your own.
           Knowledge workers need access to an organization to fulfill their work.
           There is no hierarchy of knowledge; whatever knowledge fits the situation is the right knowledge at the time.

Author reveals that we can enhance our informal learning opportunities at such venues as  industry and professional conferences, trade shows, seminars, online Web seminars, lectures open to the public at local universities, author appearances at bookstores and schools and brown bag events a workplaces and other settings.

The author unfolds that when you live in more than one world you have the advantage to bounce back as you have multiple lifelines to back you up. Apart from fulfilling your passions and interests it supports you in adversity. He shares several anecdotes and experiences in his life that make reading really exciting.  He enlightens social entrepreneurship and volunteerism to make a difference in the world.  He highlights the challenges involved for educators in sharing their knowledge with students.

In his concluding chapter titled, “Launching Your Journey” the author summarizes the entire book and it reinforces the takeaways and helps you start living and leading in more than one world as the way Peter Drucker lived.  

Peter Drucker – Effective Time Manager

He was an effective time manager who enjoyed diverse set of interests, activities and pursuits.  Although Drucker kept his basic framework of writing, teaching and consulting for many years, he was judicious with his use of time.   He did not take on activities, no matter how attractive, that would dilute his strength or detract from his daily expression of his core competencies.  This meant turning down numerous offers to lecture, write forewords to books, and consult with organizations worldwide.

In 2005, Drucker said, “My order of priorities is: writing comes first, teaching next, and consulting last.” However, he gave slightly different answers at other times in his life.  Three years earlier he said, “If you want to diagram my work, in the center is writing, then comes consulting, then comes teaching. I’ve never been primarily an academic. I like to teach because that’s the way I learn.”  He rightly remarked, “To lead a satisfying life in more than one world, you’ll have to create the time to accomplish what you want.”


You can imagine the takeaways from a management legend who contributed nearly 70 years of his life for writing, teaching and consulting for companies like GE, P&G and nonprofits such as The American Red Cross and the Girl Scouts of the USA.  For instance, the big takeaway is that you should develop inner standards of excellence that are high, yet attainable.  You never know who is going to see and judge your work.  It’s best for all concerned if you’ve delivered something of the highest quality of which you are capable.

Leadership Lessons from Drucker

·         Manage your time.
·         Focus on your core competencies.
·         Follow other passions to lead a complete life.
·         Differentiate between persistence and futility.
·         Reinvent yourself constantly.
·         Focus on achievement than making money.
·         Emphasize on volunteerism and work for non profit institutions as it widens your mental horizons.
·         Everyday is a good day to start your work.  Don’t put off your work for tomorrow.
·         Learn to live in imperfect world and make it perfect.
·         It is never late to pursue your passions.
·         You can work from anywhere if your knowledge is portable.
·         Abandon old practices systematically.
·         Leave a legacy for tomorrow.

Nobody can beat a person who has passion to write the philosophy of a personality. Nobody can beat Brce Rosenstein and his passion to author a book on Peter Drucker not only to highlight the legend but also make a difference in the lives of others through his motivational and inspirational anecdotes and experiences.

Each chapter contains Summaries, Recap, Next Steps, Hints for Creating Your Total Life List and it helps to digest the content and to relate it with real life events thus ensuring effective takeaways.  In fact, many people are smart at the acquisition of knowledge but poor in application of knowledge. These extra additions at the end of each chapter help the readers digest and relate the content.  In addition, it has side bars and number of quotes from the legend. All these things make the book stand out. You can learn a lot about Peter Drucker’s personal, professional and social life and apply in your real life. After reading this book you will become a well rounded personality living your complete life without any regrets at your deathbed.


The foreword for this book was written none other than by Frances Hesselbein who was hailed by Peter Drucker for her contributions to leadership and who is the living Peter Drucker.  It is one of the best books I have read in my life.  It is not because the entire book talks about my favorite management guru and legend but also for its presentation of his philosophies with passion by its author.

The book contains pearls of wisdom and is written in an easy conversational style.  It helps you live life beyond one profession and passion. It provides meaning to your life as it widens your other passions and interests. After reading this book you will learn to live much bigger and better life by following your other passions and interests.  Precisely, the book makes a difference in the lives of readers.

Every page in this book is interesting not only because of Peter’s contributions but also the way the author presented Peter Drucker with great enthusiasm by unveiling many of his facets that are unknown to many.  The author did extensive research on the legend and collected important information from various journals and publications.  This is the best book to know about Druker.  No other book provides better insights about Drucker than this.  Had Peter Drucker been alive he would have appreciated Bruce Rosenstein for compiling everything about his personal, professional and social life including his wife Doris Drucker.

It is a motivational and inspiring book. The book helps you think life holistically. It helps readers who are serious to balance personal, professional and social life. It is a must read for Peter Drucker lovers. Not to have read this book is not to have known anything about modern management. 

Professor M.S.Rao
Founder, MSR Leadership Consultants, India
Where Knowledge is Wealth

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