Book Review

A Class With Drucker

The Lost Lessons of the World’s Greatest Management Teacher

by William A. Cohen, Amacom Books, New York, N.Y. 2008, 252 pp., $17.95 softcover

It is easy to recall master teachers who inspired, challenged and caused us to think deeply about making meaning from our own learning. Evidence of these master teachers can be found in our own notebooks, old papers and other documents recording recollections and reflections gleaned from the teaching-learning process.

A Class With Drucker

In A Class With Drucker, William A. Cohen, author of several management books, draws from his personal collection of notebooks and aging papers composed when he was a student in several classes taught by Peter Drucker, who is hailed as the father of modern management. Cohen reveals Drucker’s teaching as “unscripted, frequently unpredictable, and almost always provocative and original.”

Drucker’s lessons remain vital, and Cohen’s anecdotes demonstrate how Drucker’s ideas can be applied to challenges we face as education leaders.

For example, Drucker instituted the belief that what everybody knows is frequently wrong. It is wrong because the assumptions that lead to decisions always should be reviewed and questioned to determine reliability and validity. Further lessons in the Drucker curriculum focus on motivating the knowledge worker, adapting strategy to suit the situation, understanding why each of us should approach problems with ignorance, explaining why self-confidence is a necessity and demonstrating why some so-called menial tasks can only be done by the boss.

Entertaining and enlightening, this book is for any school leader interested in gaining fresh perspectives and seeking wisdom with practical applications.

Reviewed by Henry Kiernan, superintendent, Bellmore-Merrick Community High School District, Merrick, N.Y.