The Effective Executive

The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
by Peter F. Drucker | HarperBusiness © 2006 · 208 pages

Peter Drucker is considered the father of modern management. This book was originally published in 1967. It’s *remarkably* well written and lucid. And, of course, packed with Big Ideas on how to optimize our effectiveness. We cover the 5 key practices/habits of the effective executive: time (first things first; second things never!), contribution (what can you contribute?), strengths (make yours productive; make weaknesses irrelevant), concentration (the secret to effectiveness), decisions (boundary conditions help).

This book rests on two premises: The executive’s job is to be effective; and, effectiveness can be learned.
Peter F. Drucker

“Management books usually deal with managing other people. The subject of this book is managing oneself for effectiveness. That one can truly manage other people is by no means adequately proven. But one can always manage oneself. Indeed, executives who do not manage themselves for effectiveness cannot possibly expect to manage their associates and subordinates. Management is largely by example. Executives who do not know how to make themselves effective in their own job and work set the wrong example.

To be reasonably effective it is not enough for the individual to be intelligent; to work hard or to be knowledgeable. Effectiveness is something separate, something different. But to be effective also does not require special gifts, special aptitude, or special training. Effectiveness as an executive demands doing certain—and fairly simple—things. It consists of a small number of practices, the practices that are presented and discussed in this book. But these practices are not ‘inborn.’ In forty-five years of work as a consultant with a large number of executives in a wide range of organizations—large and small; businesses, government agencies, labor unions, hospitals, universities, community services; American, European, Latin American and Japanese—I have not come across a single ‘natural’: an executive who was born effective. All the effective ones have had to learn to be effective. And all of them then had to practice effectiveness until it became a habit. But all the ones who worked on making themselves effective executives succeeded in doing so. Effectiveness can be learned—and it also has to be learned.”

~ Peter F. Drucker from The Effective Executive

Peter Drucker is considered the father of modern management.

This book was originally published in 1967. It’s *remarkably* well written and lucid. I wrote this on the inside cover: “Astonishingly lucid. Clear thinking. Logical. Coherent. Well-written. Thoughtful. Refreshing to read. Art. Admire the mind that created it.” (Get a copy here.)

Drucker tells us that one is an executive if he or she is responsible for making a contribution that significantly affects the organization and that, most importantly, we need to make sure we’re getting the *right* things done.

With that in mind, I say we’re ALL the Chief Executive Officers of our lives. And, we can all (always!) use a little Optimizing as we strive to actualize our potential.

Of course, the book is packed with Big Ideas on how to go about doing that and I’m excited to share some of my favorites that we can apply to our lives *today* so let’s jump straight in!

We’ll start with a quick look at the five key practices for becoming more effective.

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About the author


Peter F. Drucker

Management consultant, educator, author, and "the founder of modern management".