Archivist’s Pick: “I Have Not Retired”

Here’s this month’s piece from the Drucker Institute’s archivist, Bridget Lawlor. By drawing lessons from the vast treasure trove of papers and other objects that are collected in Peter Drucker’s archives, Bridget is giving new life to decades-old material.


As we move into the late days of summer and its opportunities to recharge mentally and physically, we begin to look ahead to what comes next. Indeed, Peter Drucker believed that breaks were important, but temporary breaks were all he ever took—an attitude demonstrated by the fact that he wrote two-thirds of his 39 books after the age of 65.

In this 1975 letter, written to consulting client Morton Mandel of Premier Industrial Corp., Drucker was compelled to correct a misimpression that he unintentionally left on Mandel after moving to Southern California several years earlier: Drucker was very decidedly not retired.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” he explains. “I came to Claremont to be able to work more. New York’s distractions interfered with work. In particular, I do more consulting here than I ever did in the East.”

The then-66-year-old goes on to say: “By the way, neither have I retired from ‘lecturing’. . . . I also, to complete the story, teach more than I used to teach in New York.” As for writing, he adds, “I have just finished an enormous monstrosity of an article which may, probably will, degenerate into a short book.”

Finally, Drucker reiterates: “I have not ‘retired.’ And so far have no intention of doing so.”

True to his word, Drucker would go on to write and consult for another 30 years, delivering his final lecture eight months before his death in November 2005, just short of his 96th birthday.

Image source: The Drucker Archives/Claremont Colleges Digital Library