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The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
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The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  26,401 ratings  ·  713 reviews
What makes an effective executive?

The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to "get the right things done." This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Business (first published 1966)
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Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I used to be a large reader of Jack Welch practices at GE, until I read that he looked to Drucker. I've been reading Drucker and re-reading Drucker ever since. He is the master at learning how to be "effective" and from him, I learned how to filter what are the best effectiveness 21st century leadership practices.

Now, after 14 years of running a company and 8 years of trying to create a leadership engine to run a company, I believe that the 21st century practices for effectiveness in order of
Andrew Canavan
May 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stop reading boring blogs and books about productivity and go straight to the source of many of these ideas. Then, stop thinking about being productive and go do something.
Gene Babon
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
No one in a managerial role should be allowed to manage others without having read at least one book from Peter Drucker. Drucker is widely acclaimed as The Father of Modern Management and published 39 books in a lifetame that spanned 95 years. The Effective Executive was published in 1967 and this book is as good a starting point as any for the uninitiated.

Effectiveness is a habit and habits can be learned through practice, lots of it. According to Drucker there are five habits that, once
Jun 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'm pretty sure that if we'd ever met in real life I'd have punched Peter Drucker in the face.

You can buy the book here.

Buy Me a Coffee at
Greg Seguin
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adding this book to my list of must-reads for anyone working in corporate America. In brief:

1. Know where your time goes; relentlessly prune unproductive activities.
2. Know the contribution you're expected to make - to others' contributions and to the organization.
3. Make your strengths productive and hone them; focus on the absence of weakness leads to mediocrity.
4. There are always more opportunities available than time to pursue them prioritize and focus on the truly impactful.
5. Continually
Mark Dunn
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Know Thy Time
- take a time inventory & eliminate "need not be done", "could be done by others", and "wasting other's time".
- prune time wasters
- lack of systems --> crisis
- overstaffing --> unnecessary coordination
- malorganization --> excessive mtgs
- malfunction in information
- consolidate discretionary time into meaningful chunks to facilitate effectiveness (eg 1.5 hr)

What can I contribute?
- in terms of EXTERNAL results
- aim high

Making strengths productive
- focus on
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
I find Drucker to be really repetitive. There were quite a few sentences that didn't really add anything, and should have been taken out.
Tõnu Vahtra
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Don't tell me that you had a wonderful time reading this book, tell me what you are going to do differently on Monday". The higher up the organization, the less time he has under his own control (senior executives rarely have more than quarter of their time under their control), so you have to take control of your time. Understand what are the things that waste your time without contributing to effectiveness. Ask your subordinates how you are preventing them from doing their work effectively.

Eric Chappell
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reading
A fantastic resource. Seminaries (often) do a phenomenal job of equipping people to be experts in the Word. Where most are weak is training church leaders to be time-managers, meeting-facilitators, action-planners, decision-makers, and priority-setters. These are all the products of general wisdom and stuff that can be learned from a wide variety of "secular" sources (see Proverbs). Peter Drucker's classic has literally changed the way I think about scheduling my time, choosing priorities, and ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, management
I loved this book - so packed with wisdom that I moved through it slowly, filing away many quotes for reference.

There are two main thoughts which might dissuade you from reading this. I dont want you to miss out, so Id like to address both:

Effective Executive? This sounds like it's only for people who wear suits and spend their days in board meetings..."

The author defines executive broadly as someone who "is responsible for a contribution that materially affects the capacity of the organization
Guilherme Zeitounlian
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a short read, and not the most engaging one (it's not a page-turner by any means).

But it is a classic, full of insights.

It was written decades ago, but the advice is timeless.

Great resource and food for thought for all the "knowledge workers" out there - which means most of us.

Great books are not always fun. But they can be transformative. And that is the whole point. 5/5.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just like most of them, this book has too many words for 5 or so ideas. The conclusion at the very end sums everything up, so you don't have to read the whole book, just read the last few pages.
Tadas Talaikis
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Don't know what's the hype about this book, it's simple common sense. Anyone who ever was in "meeting" knows its waste of time, why I should read book about that? The thing executives come in various shapes and sizes was mentioned in various other, earlier books. Management books are second after self help nonsense. Sad, no one over-hypes evidence or data based approaches...
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
To be more effective, read an executive summary rather than the entire book.
Chris Russell
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Effective Executive Peter E. Drucker
Book Review for Goodreads.
Originally published 1967. Edition read was Harper Business, 1993.
Im too young to have been part of the Drucker Generation. I had always heard him talked of and quoted among the staid and dusty corners of mainstream business, but I never thought to reach back and read him. Druckers words and ideas were the Esperanto of an emerging class in the business world of post WWII. He was part and parcel of important board room
Matt Burgess
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting Right Things Done (2006), Peter Drucker

Kicking off the Personal Effectiveness portion of the Personal MBA curriculum is the purveyor of modern management, Peter Drucker. Notice the subtitle to this book before you read. It says "getting right things done" where you might have misread it as "getting things done right". Drucker takes decades of consulting experience with numerous famous and infamous companies and in its fifth edition, he
John Majors
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books for the modern worker in any setting, in any organization. His premise is to help equip the modern "knowledge worker" to do their work well. The most important part of this is learning to manage your time well and focus on the most important tasks and decisions that make the biggest difference. This is the third time I've read the book and it never gets old. It's chocked full of insights and the best book you can read on how to organize your time in the workplace. So much ...more
Ahmad Abugosh
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A classic book on how to get things done at work. It's amazing how a book written so long ago can still be so relevant with its simple straightforward advice. The number one tip in the book is, you need to first manage yourself (your own time and responsibilities) in order to manage others.
Mason Frierson
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Consider this passage in the Foreword: Here are ten lessons I learned from Peter Drucker and this book, and that I offer as a small portal of entry into the mind of the greatest management thinker off all time. These are the lessons that Collins cites and discusses:

1. First, manage thyself.
2. Do what youre made for.
3. Work how you work best (and let others do the same).
4. Count your time, and make it count.
5. Prepare better meetings.
6. Dont make a hundred decisions when one will do.
7. Find your
Chad Manske
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Near the end of his six decades informing business leaders and organizations how to beat go about their work, Peter Drucker defined the single principle to guide the executiveeffectivenessdefining it as doing the right things right. The Effective Executive draws off numerous situations Drucker encountered throughout his career in business, espousing that effectiveness can be learned as long as the business leader is a willing student. Many of his stories, interestingly, draw from both the ...more
Mindaugas Mozūras
Sep 03, 2016 rated it liked it
The Effective Executive is filled with good advice. Peter Ducker predicts the importance of knowledge workers and recognizes that everyone will become an "executive" (as he defines it). The advice in this book is useful to most anyone working in a modern company.

Alas, there are two problems with the book that stop me from full-heartedly recommending this book:

* It's dated, and it shows. There's a lot of repetition and flowery language.
* I've already read "The Effective Engineer" (one of my
Szymon Kulec
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 out of 5 - really liked it

This is a good book for probably every single knowledge worker. Even if I really liked, it has its ups and downs.

The best parts describes the time management, somewhat aligned with deep work and the elements of decision making. The latter strongly reminded me of Principles: Life and Work (I know who wrote what first ;-) ) and the lack of hard decision when your principles are set right.

On the other hand, Making Strength Productive and doing First Things First were a
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm really hyped about this one, because of the direct approach and the good pacing.

Another bias for me is that I've read this at the time of major career shift and moving into full-time management.

Key takaways:

- measure and analyze your time as a manager
- plan for constant change and adaptability, rather than immediate greatness
- dedicate yourself to 1 main task per day
- re-evaluate your next priorities during the day (e.g. I started planning for max 2 tasks ahead)
- focus on colaboration
Martin Brochhaus
I found it a bit dense and hard to read. The examples were mostly US presidents and other great war mongers and executives at giant monopolies.

The book doesn't even give many insights into the tricks and tools that these great minds applied, instead the author just presents his conclusions as fact and dogma.

I have little doubt that the facts make sense, though, so I think this book is pretty good.

However, the core message of this book could be summed up in just one or two pages (and basically
Stella Ioannidou
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a *very* important book and Im sure that I will need to revisit it as I progress in work and in life in order for more and more information to resonate and further develop my understanding! Peter Drucker expresses his ideas in a more complex way than the average contemporary authors do. I get why some people may find this book hard to follow through or complex. In my case I am relieved to get my hands on a piece written by someone who isnt merely summarizing and connecting sources but ...more
Brad Willoughby
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dense and insightful. Drucker presents many foundational ideas that have been adopted (or repackaged) by others and its good to hear it straight from the original source. Given the age of the book, most examples are dated, but the concepts remain as true as ever (and are still unheeded by many senior leaders). Following Druckers guidance to learn how to be effective will help common people reach uncommon performance. ...more
Jon Nguyen
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book with helpful advice on how to work. The name is unfortunate - it's not just for people who are top-level managers. By Drucker's own definition, an "executive" is essentially anyone who is a knowledge worker, which is basically everyone these days.

The advice is simple and focused. You get the sense that it's borne out of experience and careful observation of many people in business, which makes it feel a lot more credible that your average business book. The core message is
Ben Goldin
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
While reading this book it is hard to realize it was written 50 years ago. All the fundamental principles of the modern non-mainstream management literature are already present in this single and relatively small book. Although we it says Executive in the title, pretty much every knowledge worker can benefit from reading it.

If someone would ask me to pick top 3 modern postindustrial management books, this would be number one.
Joe Noto
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is very much a book for scholarly business people. I understand that Peter Drucker was a genius and the top management consultant ever. I'm just going to review this book with no bias. First, the bad. This book is not for everyone. It is quite dry, and I found it very difficult to keep my focus on it. I think this book is meant to be read in sections of 5-10 pages at a time to try to prevent losing your focus.

Second the good. There are very good nonconventional actionable ideas that
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Peter Ferdinand Drucker was a writer, management consultant and university professor. His writing focused on management-related literature. Peter Drucker made famous the term knowledge worker and is thought to have unknowingly ushered in the knowledge economy, which effectively challenges Karl Marx's world-view of the political economy. George Orwell credits Peter Drucker as one of the only ...more

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“It is more productive to convert an opportunity into results than to solve a problem - which only restores the equilibrium of yesterday.” 23 likes
“Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results.” 19 likes
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