The measure of the executive, Peter Drucker reminds us, is the ability to 'get the right things done'. Usually this involves doing what other people have overlooked, as well as avoiding what is unproductive.
He identifies five talents as essential to effectiveness, and these can be learned; in fact, they must be learned just as scales must be mastered by every piano student regardless of his natural gifts. Intelligence, imagination and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that convert these into results.
One of the talents is the management of time. Another is choosing what to contribute to the particular organization. A third is knowing where and how to apply your strength to best effect. Fourth is setting up the right priorities. And all of them must be knitted together by effective decision-making.
How these can be developed forms the main body of the book. The author ranges widely through the annals of business and government to demonstrate the distinctive skill of the executive. He turns familiar experience upside down to see it in new perspective. The book is full of surprises, with its fresh insights into old and seemingly trite situations.
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Born in Vienna in 1909, Peter F. Drucker was educated in Austria and England. From 1929 he was a newspaper correspondent abroad and an economist for an international bank in London. Since 1937 he has been in the United States, first as an economist for a group of British banks and insurance companies, and later as a management consultant to several of the country's largest companies, as well as leading companies abroad. Drucker has since had a distinguished career as a teacher, first as Professor of Politics and Philosophy at Bennington College, then for more than twenty years as Professor of Management at the Graduate Business School of New York University. Since 1971 he has been Clarke Professor of Social Science at Claremont Graduate School in California. In addition to his management books, Peter Drucker is also renowned for his prophetic books analysing politics, economics and society. These books span fifty years of modern history beginning with The End of Economic Man (1939) and including The Practice of Management; Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Managing in the Next Society; Management Challenges in the 21st Century; The Effective Executive and The Essential Drucker.
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