November 16, 2005

News & Opinion: Paul B. Brown on Peter Drucker

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 9:37 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I was 25 and working as a feature writer for the Newark, N.J. newspaper, The Star-Ledger, when I was hired by Forbes.
That was the good news.
The bad news was I didnt know the first thing about business. So I bought the technical bookseverything from how to read a balance sheet, to what the 100 day moving average was suppose to tell us about where the stock market was headed. I got the gist fairly quickly, but they didnt teach me much about how to think about business.
Read Drucker, the guy across the halla man who had business journalism awards named after himtold me, when I expressed my confusion.
And so I did.
What I found was that Drucker had a way of making both neophytes like me, and geniuses like Jack Welch (a Drucker disciple) truly understand how to get to the heart of any business issue by asking simple questions and delivering universal truths:
  • What business are you really in?

  • If you werent already in your business, would you enter it today?

  • What gets measured gets done.

Some 20 years after I started at Forbes, I had the chance to interview Drucker for a bookLessons from the Topthat I was helping to write.
One of the questions we asked was, what are you most proud of.
"A few people for whom I made a difference."
The number was far from few.
Written By:
Paul B. Brown
Author of numerous business books including
Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.