Drucker's Wisdom: Five Nuggets

Peter Drucker, who died in 2005 at 95, was known as “the father of modern management.” Bruce Rosenstein interviewed and wrote about Drucker both for USA TODAY and his new book Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. Bruce calls it “the self-help guide Drucker never wrote, and the next best thing to being mentored by him.” Consider these five tips for leading a meaningful and fulfilling life from Drucker’s life and work.

1. Live in more than one world
The most satisfied, contented people, in Drucker’s estimation, lead multidimensional lives with diverse people, activities and pursuits. This can provide a cushion against setbacks in life, especially at work, and gives you the opportunity for new knowledge, professional advancement and leadership experience.

2. Tap into the power of an achievement focus
Drucker believed that making money as a primary goal was short-sighted. If you are achievement-focused rather than money-focused, you will gain satisfaction from leaving behind something of value for other people and future generations.

3. Make a (flexible) plan for the coming year
At some point during the year (and it doesn’t have to be the end of the calendar year), assess what worked and what didn’t in your personal and professional life during the past year. Did the results surprise you? They often did for Drucker. This can be an excellent starting point for redirecting your priorities for the following year.

4. Run with success

Drucker ran with what was successful in his life, and didn’t worry too much about things that didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped. (Example: He wrote and published two novels in the 1980s that didn’t sell well.) He had an interesting spin on a well-known saying: “If at first you don’t succeed,” Drucker said, “try once more, and then try something else.”

5. Give back by teaching
Drucker said that no one learns as much as the person who must teach his subject. Think about giving back to society or your profession by getting into part-time teaching, either as a volunteer or as an adjunct professor at a local university.

Thoughts? Reactions? Other Drucker-isms? Chime in below.


Al Watts said...

Here are two of my favorite "Druckerisms:"

"Without all three ingredients – drive, competence and a moral compass – it is difficult for leaders to engage others and sustain meaningful results."

"There is the risk you cannot afford to take, and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take."

Check out inTEgro's quotations at:

Jeevan said...

I had no idea that Drucker had so many observations on personal growth. I have seen him speak on the subject in videos, but to be honest, I could barely understand his thick accent.

Does this mean that the lines between work and life are in fact a lot more undefined than we initially thought?

Bonnie Kaufman said...

#1, Living in More than One World, seems to me to be the vaguest and most difficult to accomplish. But I'm trying!

Johanna Vondeling said...

The book's editor, here. I was delighted to sign this project. Peter Drucker is a big personal hero of mine, and this book brought out another dimension I hadn't considered before. Another nugget of Drucker wisdom that I like to remember is that mission-driven organizations fare better than purely profit-driven organizations. They're more flexible, more focused, and better able to keep an eye on the big picture. I have found that true of any truly mission-driven organization I've come across. Good things to remember in this current Age of Disruption! Drucker--right again!

David Marshall said...

Living in more that one world really speaks to me. I was in the software industry for over 20 years and it had a way of purging all other worlds from my life, including the most important world in my life, my family. The fact that Peter Drucker recommends it may help others who feel overwhelmed and burnt out by devoting 18 hours a day to their work lives to branch out into other gratifying worlds. Drucker legitimizes it; balanced lives are not just for wimps anymore. Overall, this wisdom from Peter Drucker may foster happier lives and sustainable vocations.

Kathy S. said...

In my experience, the more separation exists between "work" and "life" the less fulfilled people seem to be with both! When Drucker said to live in multiple worlds, I don't think he was talking about work vs. life worlds. I think he was talking about something bigger - like live in a world of abundance, and a world of service, and a world of loving relationships, and a world of creativity. There are so many different facets of the human experience, so many different worlds we can be part of - but each time, all of who we are must show up or something will be lacking - from both us and from the experience/world. My two cents.

Unknown said...

I always admired Drucker. He understood working people and organizations and didn't seem to hide behind obtuse theories to express his views. His work has stood the test of time.

So many people came to sit at the feet of Drucker, yet he seemed to remain humble throughout.

Looking forward to digging in to your book soon, Bruce!

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