Regarded as the most influential and widely read thinker on modern organizations and their management, Peter Drucker has also established himself as an unorthodox and independent analyst of politics, the economy, and society. Adventures of a Bystander is Drucker’s rich collection of autobiographical stories and vignettes, in which this legendary figure paints a portrait of his remarkable life, and of the larger historical realities of his time.
In a style that is both unique and engaging, Drucker conveys his life story – from his early teen years in Vienna through the interwar years in Europe, the New Deal era, World War II, and the postwar period in America-through intimate profiles of a host of fascinating people he’s known through the years. Their personal histories are, as Drucker tells us, the beads for which his own life serves as the string.
An amazing pageant of characters, both famous and otherwise, springs from these pages, illuminating and defining one of the most tumultuous periods in world history. Along with bankers and courtesans, artists, aristocrats, prophets, and empire-builders, we meet members of Drucker’s own family and close circle of friends, among them such prominent figures as Sigmund Freud, Henry Luce, Alfred Sloan, John Lewis, Buckminster Fuller, and Marshall McLuhan.
A brief encounter with Freud becomes the catalyst for an absorbing, multidimensional description of the economics, politics, and social psychology of pre-World War II Europe. Drucker introduces us to Fritz Kraemer, a brilliant, monocle-wearing eccentric who became an influential mentor to the young Henry Kissinger. His personal memoir of Henry Luce documents the development of modern journalism, while in “The Indian Summer of Innocence,” he rescues and preserves the very heart of the American experience during the last New Deal years before World War II.
Originally published in 1978 by Harper & Row, Publishers
Publisher Transaction Publishers, 1994
ISBN 1412814103, 9781412814102
commentary (Michael Hohl)