What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1.     How To Feel More Time-Rich: Nearly all of us are accustomed to being short on time. One way we Drucker enthusiasts try to deal with the problem is to analyze where our time goes and seek to use it more effectively. But a more counterintuitive way to manage this most precious resource, according to Leslie Brokaw at the MIT Sloan Management Review, is to give more of our time away. Describing recent research published in Psychological Science, Brokaw writes that those “who donated time by doing things for others felt more time affluent than people who got an unexpected amount of free time or who spent free time on themselves.”

2.     How America Can Beat China’s State Capitalism: Act while you still can. That is the message of Richard A. D’Aveni, a professor at the Tuck School, who argues in Bloomberg Businessweek that China, using “state capitalism,” has put the United States at a disadvantage. Our more hands-off system has its advantages, but they can’t overcome China’s hardball tactics of curbing access to its markets and propping up Chinese businesses. The U.S. has to manage its capitalism a little more and boost its existing areas of superiority, D’Aveni says: “We can outmaneuver the powers in Beijing because Chinese leaders are stuck in a rut worn deep by their obsession for control—and because China is temporarily constrained from moving its economy to higher technology by a lack of the culture and research centers to do so.”

3.     I Miss You, Steve Jobs:  There was a golden period during which Apple did almost no wrong—the Steve Jobs era of 1997 to 2011. It’s a period that Steve Denning of Forbes already misses acutely. The recent trouble Apple has had with its maps would never have happened during the Jobs era, he says. It’s a small problem, but a significant one in significance. Denning writes, “There is a huge difference between ‘quite good’ and ‘perfect.’ Steve Jobs stood for, and fought for, ‘perfect.’”

4.     Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we asked whether the instruction of engineering could benefit from a more values-oriented approach, reader Judie Forbes had this to say:

Engineering is really the art of solving problems. That has 3 steps:

  1. Understanding the problem
  2. Finding solutions (rarely just one)
  3. Implementing the solution (including deciding which one)

Engineering education tends to stress the second of those three steps. The first involves observation and sensitivity to imperfect conditions. The third focuses on articulating the recommendation, finding the resources and all of the other details of the social interaction of implementation. This process is also true for management, although the numbers crunched and factors considered might be different.