Social philosopher Charles Handy brings his insights to the Institute as a distinguished fellow-in-residence

The Drucker Institute and the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management have proudly welcomed Charles Handy as a Distinguished Drucker Scholar.

Handy, along with his wife, the renowned photographer Elizabeth, arrived at Claremont Graduate University on Jan. 24. During their five-week stay, they will be teaching, gathering regularly with students and faculty, and taking part in a number of broader community activities arranged by the Institute.

“Although Charles doesn’t like the term ‘guru’ he in every respect lives up to the title,” said Zach First, assistant director of the Drucker Institute. “He has written some of the most influential books of our time on organizational behavior, ‘knowledge work’ and society.”

Handy is ranked as one of the 50 foremost management thinkers in the world, alongside Bill Gates, Al Gore and Steve Jobs. Millions of BBC radio listeners have savored his “Thoughts for Today” and he has been called by some “the British Peter Drucker.” During his Southern California stay, Handy will contribute a weekly commentary to public radio’s Marketplace.

Handy kicked off his time in Claremont with a public lecture that marked marking the U.S. launch of his autobiography, Myself and Other More Important Matters. In the book, Handy draws on his formative experiences to reflect on larger questions of identity, values, ethics, purpose, success and happiness. It is “not so much the story of my life,” he says, “as the lessons that I have tried to learn from that life, often painful lessons as I came to terms with what I could not be, as well as what I could be.”

Following his lecture, Handy engaged in an onstage conversation with Drucker Institute Director Rick Wartzman.

Handy recalled a major turning point in his career when he stood in the back of a London lecture hall to listen to Peter Drucker. In good measure “inspired from listening to Peter all those years ago,” Handy said, he himself became a fulltime writer and social philosopher.

Later in the day, Liz Handy unveiled an exhibition of her photography, which will remain on display during the duration of their stay. Versatile and imaginative, she has explored some unconventional approaches to her subjects such as “joiners,” which combine different aspects of an individual’s life, and still lives of five symbolic objects that represent a person’s life.