Peter Starbuck
"Reclaiming Drucker"

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Peter Drucker has been described as the world.s greatest management thinker, and he certainly remains one of the most popular. Now in his 96th year and living in Claremont, California, he has spent most of his working life in the US. Yet he remains proud of his European origins. The influence of the European milieu in which he was born, educated and spent his early working life is very strong in his work. Associated in most minds with US management ideas, Drucker is also the most European of management gurus.

Drucker was born into a Viennese intellectual family on November 19, 1909. Five years later Austria-Hungary entered World War I, a conflict which resulted in defeat, the loss of empire and then economic crisis and hyper-inflation. Despite the disruption of these events, Drucker was well educated and exposed to the ideas of the outstanding Austrian intellectuals of his day; he later named Sigmund Freud, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek as early influences, as well as composers and writers like Brahms and Mann. All of these events and influences had the effect of broadening Drucker.s mind, and from an early age he developed an open method of enquiry, challenging himself to go beyond the obvious. Here he was influenced particularly by the boundary less search techniques of Gestalt holistic analysis, developed by the Austrian philosopher Max Wertheimer.