Consulting with Peter Drucker is an experience to remember. Anyone meeting him for the first time is likely to be intimidated by his books, his fame, his client list -- he could be spending his time with a Fortune 500 CEO instead of spending it with you. But the benignity of Drucker's furrowed smile quickly makes you feel at ease. Tall, though slightly bent with age, and slender, with a sun-browned face and nobly bald pate, Drucker makes his strongest impression through a deep accented voice he uses to dramatic effect. His "No," for example, as in, "Nooo ... You ... are ... wrong," is said with a comic inflection and timing that unstings the judgment. He has, you sense, reserves of Old World Charm sufficient to smooth any troubled waters. All of Europe went into the making of Peter Drucker: droll, urbane, with an intelligence irradiated by sophistication, his persona captures the sparkle and dash of a piece by Johann Strauss, a fellow subject of that tragic confection, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

According to several of his clients, Drucker characteristically takes the issue or problem that brought you to him, loses it in festoons of talk that seem to touch on everything but your problem, and then, near the end of the day, returns it to you, unsolved but altered by the company it's kept in his mind, "Putting it in perspective" is the phrase his clients use. "You end up looking at problems and opportunities in a different way," one says. "He thinks outside the dots." [pp. 181-2]

Jack Beatty,
from The World According to Peter Drucker
(The Free Press, 1998)


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Copyright © 1998 by Jack Beatty. Published by The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.