Take his first sentences. He introduces one of his two novels, The Last of All Possible Worlds (1982), puckishly: "This is the first of my 19 books that admits to being fiction." He launches The Practice of Management in an appropriately business-like way: "The manager is the dynamic, life-giving element in every business." The Age of Discontinuity begins with an act of the historical imagination: "No one knowing only the economic facts and figures of 1968 and of 1913 -- and ignorant of both of the years in between and anything but economic figures -- would even suspect the cataclysmic events of this century, the Russian and Chinese Revolutions or the Hitler regime." The Effective Executive wastes no time clearing its throat: "To be effective is the job of the executive." Managing for Results pours new wine into an old bottle: "This is a 'what-to-do' book." And the opening of a business profile picks a fight: "Everybody knows that Thomas Watson, Sr. (1874-1956) built IBM into a big computer company and was a business leader. But 'everybody' is wrong."

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.