When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

25 November 2005

Trusting the teacher in the grey-flannel suit (Economist)

Management guru Peter Drucker (who, among many other achievements, was one of the first to spot the shift to the knowledge-based economy, way back in the early 1950s) died earlier this month, at the ripe old age of 95.

There's a lovely remembrance and appreciation of him, and his work, in this week's Economist:
The man who became famous as an American management thinker was really a Viennese Jewish intellectual. The author of this article once visited him in his home in Claremont, California—a modest affair when set beside the mansions of most management gurus. His choice of a restaurant for lunch was more modest still. But as Mr Drucker talked it was easy to forget about the giant plastic wagon wheels that decorated the walls or even the execrable food. He talked with his deep, heavy Teutonic accent about meeting Sigmund Freud (as a boy), John Maynard Keynes and Ludwig Wittgenstein (as a student at Cambridge). He said that he liked to keep his mind fresh by taking up a new subject every three or four years (he was heavily immersed in early medieval Paris at the time). The overall effect was rather like listening to Isaiah Berlin channelled by Henry Kissinger.
Peter Drucker: Trusting the teacher in the grey-flannel suit (The Economist)

Drucker hated the term "guru," of course. He once quipped that people like him were called "gurus" by journalists "because 'charlatan' is too long for a headline" (or, alternatively, "because 'charlatan' is too hard to spell.")


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