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Inside Drucker's Brain

by Jeffrey A. Krames

Amazon link: Inside Drucker's Brain

The most accessible guide to the essential ideas of "the inventor of modern management".

In late 2003, ninety-four-year-old Peter Drucker invited Jeffrey Krames to his home for an unprecedented day-long interview. He spoke candidly about his seminal management principles, his enormous body of work (thirty-eight books over six decades), and the leaders he had advised over the years (including Jack Welch).

Krames used the insights he gained that day to create "Inside Drucker's Brain"—a compact guide to the great man's wisdom. Krames had no intention of writing a biography, but rather a book that would showcase Drucker's most important ideas and strategies, and explain why they are just as useful today as they were decades ago.

Drucker's biggest contribution was a mind-set, not a methodology. He focused on prodding managers to ask the right questions, to look beyond what they thought they knew, and to focus on tomorrow rather than yesterday. If anything, this mind-set is more valuable in the digital age than it was in the industrial age.

This user-friendly book will help readers grasp all of Drucker's key ideas on leadership, strategy, innovation, personal effectiveness, career development, and many other topics.

  • Introduction: In Search of Drucker

  • Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind

    • Drucker's Break

    • The Phone Call That Sparked a Discipline

    • Fired by Eisenhower

    • Each step of Drucker's career put him in uncharted waters

  • Execution First and Always

    • Execution Requires Abandonment

    • Barriers to Effective Execution

    • On Execution

    • Execution is not just tactics

    • Management must always, in every decision and action, put economic performance first

  • Broken Washroom Doors

    • Broken Compensation Systems

    • Get the 80 and the 20 Right

    • Protecting Washroom Doors

    • Mission Statements Prevent Dysfunction

    • Broken Doors in the Publishing Business

    • To make sure that broken washroom doors do not derail a company

  • Outside-In

    • Eight Realities for Every Manager

      • Results and resources exist outside the business

      • Results are achieved by exploiting opportunities, not solving problems

      • To obtain results, resources must be allocated to opportunities

      • The most meaningful results go to market leaders

      • Leadership, however, is short-lived and not likely to last

      • What exists is getting old

      • What exists is likely to be misallocated

      • To achieve the greatest economic results, concentrate

      • There Are No Results Within the Organization

    • More Management Realities

    • Welch's Big Idea

    • The Outside-In Retailer

    • Master the Habits of Outside-In

    • There was an evolution to Drucker's thinking that led to his outside-in imperative

  • When Naturals Run Out

    • The Birth of the Modern Corporation

    • Drucker told me what he felt were his six most important books

    • Middle Managers and the Knowledge Society

    • Anatomy of a Natural

    • A Brief Primer on "Making" Naturals

    • Four More Rituals of a Natural

    • When Naturals Run Out

  • The Jeffersonian Ideal

    • History Through Drucker's Eyes

    • The Limits of an Assembly-line Mentality

    • Don't Take "What to Do" for Granted

    • The Partnership Imperative

  • Abandon All but Tomorrow

    • Abandonment Is Not Sexy

    • The First Step in a Growth Policy

    • Rewrite Last Month's Manual

    • Abandonment and Reality

    • Abandonment is one of the keys to understanding Drucker

  • Auditing Strengths

    • The Strengths Revolution

    • Audit Your Own Strengths

    • Seven Tips for Building on Strength

    • Rethink Performance Reviews

    • Your Back Room Is Somebody's Front Room

    • Take a Strengths Audit

    • Remember that there are many aspects of building on strengths

  • The Critical Factor?

    • The Key Is Effectiveness

    • Drucker's Leadership Ideal

      • Character First, Then Courage

      • Creates a Clear Mission

      • Instills Loyalty

      • Focuses on Strengths

      • Has No Fear of Strong Subordinates

      • Earns Trust via Consistency

      • Prepare for Tomorrow's Leaders

      • Just as there are "no leadership qualities," there is no one critical factor

  • Drucker on Welch

    • The Drucker-GE-Weich Connection

    • What Welch Inherited

    • The Right Man for the Future

    • Reconciling the Accounts

    • The key take away from this chapter

  • Life-and-death Decisions

    • Life-and-death Decisions Defined

      • Whom to Promote?

      • Whom to Fire?

      • Defining the Scope of Each Job

    • Who Makes Life-and-death Decisions?

    • The Three Officers Rule

    • Priority Decisions

    • There are no decisions more important than people decisions

  • The Strategic Drucker

    • Purpose and Objectives First

    • A Twenty-First-Century Example

    • Defining a Twenty-First-Century Business

    • A CEO in Drucker's Image

    • Following Drucker's Playbook

    • Obsess over Customers

    • "It's All About the Long Term"

    • Don't Let Wall Street Run the Company

    • The Wrong Decision Is Better Than No Decision

    • Take Risks That Benefit Tomorrow

    • Objectives Represent the Strategy

    • Grow Through Strategic Alliances

    • Strategy begins with asking the basic question of “what is the business” See chapter 9 in Management, Revised Edition

  • The Fourth Information Revolution

    • Early Views

    • The Coming of the New Organization

    • The New Information Revolutions

    • The Electronic Revolution and the Power of Print

    • "Beyond the Information Revolution"

    • Drucker's evolving views on information

  • The Leader's Most Important Job

    • A Foul-Weather Job

    • If the Market Grows, Grow with It

    • The Key Competencies

    • Self-made Leaders

    • Balance Is the Key

    • One of the biggest mistakes

  • A Short Course on Innovation

    • Making the Future Happen

    • What Will Our Business Be?

    • Organize for Innovation

    • Innovation Down the Barrel of a Gun

    • Disruptive Technologies

    • Peter Drucker was the first business writer to attack the topic of innovation in systematic fashion

  • Epilogue: The People Who Shaped Peter Drucker

    • The Beginning

    • "A Stupid Old Woman"

    • Drucker's Greatest Teachers

    • The Monster and the Lamb

    • These are just a few of the people—and events—who helped to make Peter Drucker what he became

  • Acknowledgments

  • Sources

  • index

Keywords: tlnkwdruckerbrain tlnkwstrategicmanagement

Peter Drucker: Conceptual Resources

The Über Mentor

A political / social ecologist
a different way of seeing and thinking about
the big picture
— lead to his top-of-the-food-chain reputation

drucker business week

about Management (a shock to the system)


“I am not a ‘theoretician’; through my consulting practice I am in daily touch with the concrete opportunities and problems of a fairly large number of institutions, foremost among them businesses but also hospitals, government agencies and public-service institutions such as museums and universities.

And I am working with such institutions on several continents: North America, including Canada and Mexico; Latin America; Europe; Japan and South East Asia.” — PFD




List of his books


Large combined outline of Drucker’s books — useful for topic searching.




High tech is living in the nineteenth century,
the pre-management world.
They believe that people pay for technology.
They have a romance with technology.
But people don't pay for technology:
they pay for what they get out of technology.” —
The Frontiers of Management


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.

It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting point



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