Leading Leaders

Cohen, William A. The Practical Drucker: Applying the Wisdom of the World’s Greatest Management Thinker. AMACOM. Nov. 2013. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780814433492. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780814433508. BUS

Peter Drucker (1909–2005), “the father of modern management,” has been praised for the practical wisdom he offered to managers on concepts such as decentralization, outsourcing, employees as assets, and the importance of knowledge workers. Cohen (president, Inst. of Leader Arts; California Inst. of Advanced Management; A Class with Drucker) has distilled Drucker’s teachings down to 40 chapters on how to get things done. The book organizes the business leader’s thoughts around four concepts: people, management, organization, and marketing and innovation. Cohen devotes roughly ten chapters to each concept. He then identifies one of Drucker’s core principles and outlines how to put it into practice. While the author accomplishes his goal of creating a straightforward set of lessons from the body of Drucker’s work, the chapters feel at times too reductive. The book enters a crowded market of Peter Drucker’s core teachings including The Essential Drucker, Classic Drucker, and The Daily Drucker. The difference here is that Cohen provides new insight on the practice of applying Drucker’s principles to modern business management. VERDICT This work will appeal to new business managers and may be a useful introduction to Drucker’s work for first-year MBA students.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

redstar Lucht, Tracy. Sylvia Porter: America’s Original Personal Finance Columnist. Syracuse Univ. Nov. 2013. 248p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780815610298. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780815652496. BUS

Sylvia Porter (1913–91) is recognized as the first successful women’s financial journalist in a traditionally male-dominated field, making her a pioneer of the 1950s and an important figure in U.S. business and women’s history. Lucht (journalism, Iowa State Univ.) presents the first ever biography of Porter, who throughout her career advised top policymakers, including U.S. presidents. Porter first wrote about bond markets, a niche that gave her opportunities to appear in prestigious financial periodicals such as American Banker and to deepen her understanding of economic interrelationships. She also contributed to a variety of popular publications, such as the New York Post, where her syndicated column, “Financial Post Marks” (later changed to “S.F. Porter Says”), reached over 40 million people. Porter had the invaluable abilities to tailor her writing toward specific audiences, especially the general public, and to explain complex business topics in simple and clear terms. VERDICT In this exemplary and long overdue biography, Lucht identifies and carefully explains the seven principles that Porter used to build her brand successfully and to maneuver in a patriarchal society. Journalists and business executives, especially aspiring female professionals, will gain insights from Porter’s story.—Caroline Geck, Camden Street Sch. Lib., Newark, NJ