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November 12, 2005

Peter Drucker's Writing Secret


Peter Drucker,
1909 - 2005

I learned the secret to the clarity of Peter Drucker's business writing while visiting the Left Coast a few years ago.

Your Business Blogger attended the Christian Booksellers Association conference in LA as a guest of Charmaine's publisher, HarperCollins.
While there, we had the great fortune to meet and share a meal with W. James Russell, who runs the Amy Foundation.

The non-profit Foundation awards a $10,000 prize yearly in honor of Russell's daughter, Amy.

Drucker's works are frequently cited in most all non-profit management course syllabi. See extended entry.

As it turned out, Mr. Russell was a friend of Peter Drucker's.

So I asked him a question I'd always wondered, "How does Peter Drucker write so much and write so clearly?"

All writers have that moment of looking at a blank page before words form. But Drucker wrote some 30 books.

Mr. Russell shook his head in disbelief. "Peter would start with a large yellow legal pad and write out page after page after page. His first draft."

"Lots of writers do that," I said. "But maybe on a computer."

"Sure," says Russell leaning forward. "But Drucker then rips it up. Throws it out. He never keeps any first draft."

He went on to explain that Drucker knew his subject with such depth and richness that he would use the draft merely as a warm-up exercise before doing the 'real writing.'

Then tossed the draft out. Deleted it. On purpose.

Few of us has Drucker's skill or experience. But we all can do one more re-write.

And that is the secret: Always do one additional re-write. But us mortals can do something more.

Peek at our first draft.

Peter Ferdinand Drucker November 19, 1909 -- November 11, 2005

The Five Most Important Questions
You Will Ever Ask
About Your Non Profit

1) What is our business (mission)?
2) Who is our customer?
3) What does the customer consider value?
4) What have been our results?
5) What is our plan?


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Posted by Jack Yoest at November 12, 2005 10:02 PM

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