Monday, May 2, 2011
Drucker's Lost Art of Management - Review
The authors, both long-time followers of Peter Drucker, have written a book that does Drucker's work justice. The care and scholarship that went into this work are evident from the introduction on, and the vision the author's present is, as they say, timeless. While I don't agree with all of Drucker's conclusions, one has to admire how he sought to elevate management to a liberal art.
Chapter One starts off with a great quote from Drucker that explains the book's purpose:
"Management is thus what tradition used to call a liberal art-"liberal" because it deals with the fundamentals of knowledge, self-knowledge, wisdom, and leadership; "art" because it is practice and application. Managers draw on all the knowledges and insights of the humanities and the social sciences-on psychology and philosophy, on economics and history, on the physical sciences and ethics. But they have to focus this knowledge on effectiveness and results-on healing a sick patient, teaching a student, building a bridge, designing and selling a "user-friendly" software program"
According to Drucker, management goes way beyond the business world. Everyone practices management skills daily, and Drucker tried to elevate the moral, spiritual, and philosophical elements of management in every day life. His work is heavily influenced by his Christian background and his worldview is reflected in all of his works.
One of the most helpful part of this book was the discussion on leadership. "Effective leadership is assuming responsibility for getting the right things done" (246). This is the best chapter in the book and has some great advice for leaders.
This is a heavily researched, well-organized, well written work. I can't see many people reading it who aren't familiar with Drucker already, unless they have a specific interest in management as a liberal art. It's written for business people, but the lessons contained in the book are useful for many. Management of people as a force for good is an idea that is hard to reconcile in the modern business world, but this book points us towards principles and a leader who shows us the way. Recommended.