William A. Cohen
November 14, 2007
At once a philosopher, historian, family man, and professor, Peter Drucker is hailed as the father of modern management. Drucker believed that our lives could be enriched through more effective management and ethical leadership. Even after his death, these courageous and thoughtful teachings continue to inspire leaders everywhere. But first and foremost, Peter Drucker was a gifted and passionate teacher. For those fortunate to study under him, his lectures were the stuff of legend. For Drucker, the classroom was his temple, and it was here that he crafted and shared some of his most provocative and original ideas.
In 1975, a struggling young ex-Air Force officer with no academic experience entered into Drucker’s PhD program management at Claremont University. For four years, author William Cohen studied under the great man and became the first graduate of his doctoral program. What Drucker taught him literally changed his life. In a matter of a few years, Cohen was recommissioned in the Air Force and rose to the rank of Major General. Eventually, he became a full professor, management consultant, multibook author, and university president – and maintained a nearly lifelong friendship with the master.
Through Cohen’s eyes, we come to know the man himself – with all his wisdom, creativity, and humor. In A Class with Drucker, Cohen shares many of Drucker’s teachings that never made it into his countless books and articles, ideas that were offered to his students in classroom or informal settings. Cohen expands on Drucker’s lessons with personal anecdotes about his teacher’s personality, lack of pretension, and interactions with students and others. He also shows how Drucker’s ideas can be applied to the real-world challenges managers face today.
Now, even those of us who were not fortunate to study under him can benefit from Drucker’s thoughts on such topics as why:
- everyone should approach problems with their ignorance
- top executives should stay in their positions no longer than six years
- some so-called menial tasks can only be done by the boss
- self-confidence is a necessity
- we should develop expertise outside our fields
We also learn Drucker’s ideas on what qualities one needs to be an effective manager, why what “everyone knows” is frequently wrong, and Drucker’s principles on self-development.
Enlightening and intriguing, A Class with Drucker will enable anyone to gain from the timeless wisdom of the inspiring man himself.
William A. Cohen, PhD, is an authority on leadership, marketing, and strategy formulation. He is president of the Institute of Leader Arts and speaks and gives workshops internationally. He is an author of many books including The Art of the Strategist, Secrets of Special Ops Leadership, and the textbook, The Marketing Plan, currently in its fifth edition. Pictured here with Peter Drucker’s wife, Doris, at the inaugural Drucker Society Global Symposium in 2007, William Cohen lives in Pasadena, California, and can be reached at www.stuffofheroes.com.