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Book Review - The Definitive Drucker

The Definitive Drucker ... by Elizabeth Haas Edersheim

Peter Drucker has been recognized as one of the most influential management consultants of modern times and was responsible for writing 39 business books. Over the years he was an advisor to the top levels of management at GM, Ford, the World Bank, General Electric and even to Margaret Thatcher.

The author of this book worked with Drucker for 16 months prior to his death, and he talked about the development of modern business throughout his life. It provides sound management advice based upon a lifetime of experience and a vision that was legendary.

There is a lot of content here, so in order to be brief I will just touch on some of his topics. Drucker talks about the changes in the last 50 years of business in the areas of Information Flow; Geographic Reach; Demographics; Customer Involvement; and Company Boundaries (outsourcing, partnerships etc).

Drucker talks about "Lego" companies that are comprised of very visible parts that are assembled and disassembled to meet the needs of a market, time, or other pressure. He talks about Amazon as a perfect example interacting with other companies as necessary to meet the needs of its customer base. The implications of this "new world" are significant including a move to a knowledge economy and the crucial need for strategy to be an ongoing process, not just an annual event.

Drucker's thoughts on "the customer" are very interesting, recognizing that customers have more power than ever, therefore the need to truly connect with your customer. He also talks about the blurring between customers and competitors and collaborators ... an interesting perspective that anyone in business is dealing with today.

Other important Drucker thoughts centre around technology, ideas about people and very pointed thoughts about building knowledge into businesses. Drucker also has definite opinions about the role of the CEO in corporations today.

Obviously hard for me to sum up such a comprehensive book in just a few words, but definitely worth a read. If you want the "Coles Notes" version you can get it at Executive Book Summaries.