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.   The Lady Gaga Fix: How the U.S. Is Rethinking GDP For the 21st Century: Measuring a nation’s economic health has never been easy. Now, the Bureau of Economic Analysis plans to unveil a new measure of GDP, one that will incorporate creative and innovative work—whether it’s songwriting or scientific research—into the calculation. Because it might make us look richer, some people are crying foul. But Zachary Karabell, writing in The Atlantic, takes a more positive view: “When GDP was created in the middle of the 20th Century, manufacturing and output of goods was much more central. . . . This revision is the start of reframing our national numbers to reflect the economy we have rather than the one we had.”

2.   Are Pop-up Stores Here to Stay?: Got something you want to sell in a hurry with some flair? Rent a storefront for a month, stock the space, make hay—and then close in 30 days. That’s a pop-up store, and it’s an increasingly popular phenomenon. An article in Knowledge@Wharton examines whether pop-up stores are part of the new normal: “The idea has evolved from stopgap to being a bona fide genre that many say is now helping to bridge the treacherous chasm between the worlds of online and bricks-and-mortar retail.”

3.  Ben Bernanke on Life, Love and Intestinal Parasites: In a season of many commencement speeches, you have to work hard to stand out. Apparently, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has been getting a lot of notice for his Baccalaureate Address to Princeton University seniors. That’s perhaps because the words are more direct—and surprising—than those we might hear in congressional testimony. Two notable passages (courtesy of the Washington Post): 1. “The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world and to share their luck with others.” 2. “If you think that the bad or indifferent results that too often come out of Washington are due to base motives and bad intentions, you are giving politicians and policymakers way too much credit for being effective.”

4.  Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we looked at the surprise return of A.G. Lafley to Procter & Gamble and examined the question of succession, reader Will Hopper had this suggestion:

If there are several internal candidates for the post of CEO, the existing occupant of the post will presumably feel obliged to keep a certain distance from each one so as not to be seen to ‘play favorites.’ The alternative is to select one candidate as the probable successor perhaps one or two years before the changeover. The succession then becomes a process rather than an event. If all goes well, the existing CEO may bail out early; if it goes badly, he can delay his departure for a year or more. This approach can be described as “organic”. It minimizes the chances of making wrong decisions.