Title: Managing Oneself
Author: Peter F. Drucker
Paperback: 55 pages

Favorite Quotes

“Do not try to change yourself—you are unlikely to succeed” — This quote sounds odd out of context but this is ultimately the point of the book.
“Wherever there is success, there has to be failure”

Managing Oneself Book Summary

In this summary I pulled out several of the interesting questions that were asked in the book. While not an exhaustive list of questions from the book, I do think that if you start with these questions you will be well on your way to having a more successful life and career. I love this book because it is very short. You can finish this book in 20 minutes, even if you are a slow reader. It took me slightly longer than 20 minutes as I was thinking critically about each of the questions and writing down my responses.

What Are My Strengths?

The first step Drucker describes in managing oneself is that you must understand what your strengths. Most people don’t necessarily know what their strengths are but they tend to know their weaknesses. In the past, people did not need to focus on their strengths since their future was more or less defined by what their parents did. The peasant’s son would also be a peasant, or the artisan’s daughter would also be an artisan.

Drucker recommends conducting a ‘Feedback Analysis’ for decisions. This means that you write down what you think the expected result will be. If you practice feedback analysis repeatedly you will quickly be able to identify your strengths. From there you will also be able to identify weaknesses. It is best to put all your effort, or double-down on your strengths.

Managing Oneself - Back Cover-2

Back Cover – Managing Oneself – Peter Drucker

How Do I learn?

Drucker states that it is important to identify the best method in which you learn or retain information. Some people can simply read about a specific task and execute. Others may need to visually see how something is done in order to replicate or understand. Then, there are people who need to write down what they just learned or it will be lost forever. For example, Beethoven had a large number of sketchbooks where he would write down his notes but oddly enough, he would never reference them. Why would he do this? Well, he learned by writing. Once he wrote something down it was permanently imprinted in his brain.

Do you learn well with other people or would you rather learn alone? If you do work well with people, in what capacity is it? Are you someone who can lead, coach, mentor or simply follow? In addition to how you work with others, it is important to ask yourself if you perform best as an advisor or a decision maker. Many individuals can’t handle the stress of being the decision maker but do great at advising the decision makers. Neither is wrong, it is simply important to identify what you are best at.

Where Do I Belong?

Some people know what they have wanted to in a career/life since they were a child. Some people start to realize what they want in their teens but a large number don’t figure this out until they are in their twenties. Heck, some in their forties still don’t know. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just important to know what you want and if you have found it yet. Equally as important identifying where you do not belong. For example, if you are better as an adviser, then you should learn to say ‘no’ to the leadership or decision maker role.

Responsibility For Relationships

Just like you have strengths and weaknesses it is important to understand that other people do as well. Part of taking responsibility for oneself is understanding how to manage relationships. Is your current boss a listener? Meaning you have to explain things to him/her in person to get your point across. What happens if your boss quits and your next boss is someone who understands better by reading rather than being spoken to? You need to manage that relationship and know the best method of communication.

About the Author

Peter Drucker was a writer, teacher, and consultant. His thirty-four books have been published in seventy languages. He founded Peter F. Drucker Foundation for nonprofit management, and counseled thirteen governments, public service institutions, and major corporations.

I would recommend this book to most people regardless of the industry they work in. I’d like to hear your thoughts about the book. Leave a comment below.