Adventures of a Bystander

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Transaction Publishers, Nov 30, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 344 pages
3 Reviews
Peter Drucker’s lively and thoughtful memoirs are now available in paperback with a new introduction by the author. He writes with wit and spirit about people he has encountered in a long and varied life, including Sigmund Freud, Henry Luce, Alfred Sloan, John L. Lewis, and Marshall McLuhan. After beginning with his childhood in Vienna during and after World War I, Drucker moves on to Europe in the 1920s and early 1930s, describing the imminent doom posed by Hitler and the Nazis. He then goes on to describe London during the 1930s, America during the New Deal era, the World War II years, and beyond. According to John Brooks of The New York Times Book Review, “Peter Drucker is at a corner cafe, delightfully regaling anyone who will listen with tales of what must be one of the more varied—and for a practitioner of such a narrow skill as that of management counseling, astonishing—of contemporary professional lives.” Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Washington Post writes, “The famous are here as well as the infamous.… All are the beneficiaries, for better or for worse, of Drucker’s unerring eye for psychological detail, his remorseless curiosity, and his imaginative sympathy.… Drucker’s book appears in a stroke to have restored the art of the memoir and of the essay.” Adventures of a Bystander reflects Drucker’s vitality, infinite curiosity, and interest in people, ideas, and the forces behind them. His book is a personal and informal account of the rich life of an independent man of letters, a life that spans eight decades and two continents. It will be of interest to scholars and professionals in the business world, historians, sociologists, and admirers of Peter Drucker.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

It comes as a surprise to learn that Peter Drucker, the guru of business management, grew up among the intelligentsia of 1920s Vienna, where Freud's doings were discussed at the dinner table, social ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - carterchristian1 - LibraryThing

This is a facinating group of essays in which Ducker recalls much of his experience from the 1930s through the 1960s. I t puts in context much of which we usually learn from secondary sources. Drucker ... Read full review

Selected pages


Grandmother and the Twentieth Century
Hemme and Genia
Miss Elsa and Miss Sophy
Freudian Myths and Freudian Realities
Count TraunTrauneck and the Actress Maria Mueller
The Polanyis
The Man Who Invented Kissinger
The Monster and the Lamb
Ernest Freedbergs World
The Bankers and Courtesan
Henry Luce and TimeLifeFortune
The Prophets Buckminster Fuller and Marshall McLuhan
Alfred Sloan
The Indian Summer of Innocence

Noel BrailsfordThe Last of the Dissenters

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Page 256 - Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission.
Page 76 - I never heard well enough to be a musician. But I suddenly perceived that I myself would always learn by looking for performance. I suddenly realized that the right method, at least for me, was to look for the thing that worked and for the people who perform. I realized that I, at least, do not learn from mistakes. I have to learn from successes.
Page 52 - Both the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Federal Reserve Bank of...
Page 235 - by working around people who had the title, office, and responsibility; by encouraging juniors to come to him but enjoining them not to tell their bosses; and by keeping alive feuds, mutual distrusts, and opposing cliques.
Page 256 - McLuhan spent twentyfive years chasing his vision until it captured him. He too never wavered. And when their time came, both had impact. The monomaniac is unlikely to succeed. Most leave only their bleached bones in the roadless desert. But the rest of us, with multiple interests instead of one single mission, are certain to fail and to have no impact at all.
Page 276 - A union is a political organization and needs adversary relations and victorious battles. And a company is an economic organization and needs productivity and discipline. At GM we get both — and to get both we need the union relations we have.
Page 128 - Michael in the 1960s, enlisted in the same cause: to overcome the nineteenth century and to find a new society that would be free and yet not "bourgeois" or "liberal"; prosperous and yet not dominated by economics; communal and yet not a Marxist collectivism.

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About the author (1999)

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) is known by many as the father of modern management. He was Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate School in California and was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the author of over thirty-five books, including The Ecological Vision, The Concept of the Corporation, and A Functioning Society.

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