Thanks to author, Bruce Rosenstein, for this guest post on the genesis of his new book, Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker’s Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life. I can't wait to read this book. If you are at ALA in Chicago this year, make time to stop by Bruce's book signing on July 11th.
One of the things that Bruce talks about in this post is Drucker's keynote address at the SLA Conference in 2002. I remember that well. I was so delighted that Drucker was the speaker that I encouraged (well, actually insisted) that my daughter, who had traveled to the conference with me, come to that program with me. I felt it was a great opportunity for her to hear a real legend in the field of business and management. Bruce's guest post has made me very happy that we were able to attend that keynote.
My first book, Living in More Than One World: How Peter Drucker's Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life, published by Berrett-Koehler, began shipping to stores and online outlets last week. At the same time, I finished a teaching semester at The Catholic University of America’s School of Library and Information Science, where I am a part-time lecturer. There is a degree of synchronicity in those two events, since my interest in Drucker dates back to the summer of 1986, when I was a student there, taking a library management class taught by Duane Webster, who retired in 2008 as executive director of the Association of Research Libraries. I had heard of Drucker before, but had never read his work until that class, where the major reading assignment consisted of chapters of Drucker’s 839-page classic book, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices.
Drucker was known as “the father of modern management". But his work goes beyond management and beyond business. After the class ended, I started reading more material by and about him, a self-study project that continues to this day. Reading Drucker’s work also intensified my interest in business and management books, providing another field of ongoing self-study. In 1987, I became a librarian at USA TODAY. I had considerable writing experience before joining the newspaper, but it was mainly about rock music. Eventually I developed a specialty in business and management books, and began writing about them for USA TODAY in 1996, while continuing to work there as a librarian. My first work on Drucker appeared in USA TODAY the following year, and I wrote about him in those pages until 2008.
The worlds of Drucker and libraries intertwined further for me in 2001, when it was announced that he would be one of the keynote speakers for the Special Libraries Association’s 2002 annual conference in Los Angeles. I wrote an eight month column for the SLA’s publication, Information Outlook, on Drucker’s life and work leading up to the conference. The night before his keynote, I interviewed him (both in his hotel room and at a nearby Japanese restaurant) for a feature story in USA TODAY.
Not long after, I decided to write a book about how knowledge workers -- in business and otherwise -- could best apply his lessons for self-development and personal growth. I felt that this aspect of his work had not been explored sufficiently in books, either his own or by other authors. I eventually interviewed him several times in person for the book. I also interviewed a number of his associates and former students.
In November 2005, seven months after our last interview, Drucker died at 95. The book took much longer than I had envisioned to find a publisher and take the proper shape. As I was finishing it last December, I became part of a group of layoffs from USA TODAY, and I found myself living the principles of the book in a new way. Drucker said in one of our interviews that if you had multiple areas in your life, a setback in one wouldn’t destroy you. As bad as a layoff was, the psychological blow was cushioned by knowing my book would be published in 2009 and that I would continue to teach at Catholic University, if only on a part-time basis.
So we have come full-circle. The first class of this year’s semester was held in Marist 213, the same classroom in which I began my study of Drucker’s work twenty three years earlier. And on July 11th, from 2:00-3:00 at the American Library Association 2009 annual conference in Chicago, I will do my first book signing. It will be held at the booth of Ingram Publishing Services, the distributor for Berrett-Koehler. I look forward to meeting and discussing the book with readers of Government Info Pro who will be attending the conference!