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Reviewed by Randy B. Lichtman for Readers' Favorite
William A. Cohen has written much more than just a book on consulting with Peter Drucker on Consulting: How to Apply Drucker’s Principles for Business Success, rather an amazing view of the man known as the “Father of Modern Management.” Dr. Cohen not only gives us his memories of Drucker as a teacher and mentor, but brings his own experiences into this book which covers a great deal of material on management and humanity. The reader feels like they are with Dr. Cohen in the classroom, seeing how Peter Drucker’s ideas are then transformed into successful consulting experiences. He also utilized many famous people's experiences to support Drucker's principles.
The book begins by examining Drucker’s development as a consultant and how his non-consultant experiences and view of consulting through the eyes of Sherlock Holmes actually helped develop a new process of bringing value to his customers. In the chapter on marketing, the author reminds us of the fact that the customer is everything and that good marketing should focus on solving the problem of the customer, not focus on convincing a person to buy something they don’t need. This leads us into the area of ethics and the distinction between what is legal and what is ethical.
One of my favorite chapters is on the importance of asking questions to draw out the truth from the client. In that chapter, Peter’s Drucker’s “Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization” is amazingly simple, yet vital to getting to the truth of how to improve an organization. These are: What is our mission?; Who is our customer?; What does the customer value?; What are our results?; and What is our plan? Each one of these questions can help us understand our organization better and focus on how we can improve. Dr. Cohen teaches us to become an interested observer of people and process, viewing an organization as a “social ecologist” rather than as a professional who jumps to the conclusions of their own experience.
There is a great focus on issues of humanity, and thinking about how to help the client build self-confidence, innovate, deal with issues of risk, and seeing that people have no limits which makes this book more than one about consulting, but rather about helping people develop in general. We get a very clear picture of the amazing lessons of Peter Drucker, and understand why he has been given such respect in management by a student who not only listened to him, but learned how to put his ideas into practice. A book with an amazing amount of managerial insight and great ideas. I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in entrepreneurship, consulting, management, and people development.