Book Cover
  • 12th July 2018

Peter F. Drucker`s The Effective Executive {Book Review}

Book Cover

I first heard about The Effective Executive when I listened to an interview with Tim Ferris and Kevin Rose.
And Tim Ferris recommends Peter Drucker’s book as the best management and efficiency book that is out there. One of my major missions is to emulate the behaviors of high achievers in order to check if I will eventually get better results also. So I gather as much intel about them as I can, and reading the books that they are reading is a good start in my opinion.
You might ask yourself why I decided to promote a classical business book here instead of my usual psychology books.
One of the reasons why I created this blog was to investigate the differences between successful people and people who are unhappy.
And one pattern is obvious when you deconstruct high achievers: They get stuff done!
I believe that the tools and patterns of successful people should not only be reserved for elite entrepreneurs who have a business.
Being more efficient means also to be happier in my opinion.
When we get stuff done, we are growing, we are moving forward, we become more self-efficient. Meaning that we believe more and more in our abilities and ultimately in ourself.
People who are depressed lack very often exactly this skill.
They lose trust in themselves that they can make things happen, that they can change. They feel powerless and give in at a certain point because their hardships and obstacles seem too big to tackle.
Operating efficiently and getting the right stuff done will put you back in charge, and even if you have a shitty day, due to your skills of conquering problems efficiently you are, I think, less likely to fall into despair because you can solve and manage anything.
Speaking from my own experience, every time I was in a downward spiral, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of problems that I had to deal with.
Learning some management skills has a high application, in my opinion, to fight depression and becoming more happy overall.
The skills I learned from the Effective Executive helped me to break down the avalanches of problems that had accumulated in my life over time, into small chunks.
I learned how to manage my time better, how to use my strengths and become better at decision making.
This directly has helped me to be less anxious about life in general.
This book should be mandatory in school in my opinion, instead, we start with teaching kids about dinosaurs and Napoleon. Soo I am drifting…What is the book about….
What Is The Effective Executive About?
In the Effective Executive Peter Drucker writes about how to “get the right things done.”(1)
This not only includes what you have to do but also what you have to ignore. Doing only the most important tasks is key. In order to manage your day efficiently, it is just key to look for things that you can ignore and things that you can delegate.
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 into results.
Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned:

  • Managing time
  • Choosing what to contribute to the organization
  • Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect
  • Setting the right priorities
  • Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making

Ranging widely through the annals of business and government, Peter F. Drucker demonstrates the distinctive skill of the executive and offers fresh insights into old and seemingly obvious business situations.(1)

Who Is Peter F. Drucker?

Peter Drucker was an author of more than thirty-five books, and his ideas have had an enormous impact on shaping the modern corporation. Peter Drucker is one of the leading business thinkers of all time, the father of modern management.
in 2002, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was a writer, teacher philosopher, reporter, consultant, and a professor at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. He died in 2005. (1)

3 Lessons I Learned From The Effective Executive?

Know Thy Time

The Effective Executive knows where their time goes, and most of all where they can “save” time. Time management is the skill to create more time, by setting priorities and identifying where one is wasting it.
Time is the most underrated resource there is. Knowing where your time goes, raises awareness and shows you why you are not where you want to be in life. The difference between a millionaire and a person who is not successful in my opinion is how they use their 24 hours.
A couple of years ago when I was at an all-time low, one of the prime driving forces of my depression was the feeling of me moving forward.
I was working really hard, but I didnt have the results I was looking for. And a big part of depression is, in my opinion, the internalization that whatever you try, it won’t work. So why bother. Right? This is when people don’t get out of bed anymore.
Years later, I realized that hard work and hustle is key, but in order to be an effective executive, you need to do the right things, so you can do things right.
When I interviewed Tian Yao, a self-made millionaire she explained to me the importance of focusing effectively on the most important things first, ignore unimportant tasks, and always think what you can delegate. So how do you do that?
3 Steps of managing time 
Track your time
Grab a piece paper, and write down for a day how much time you spent on your activities.
Manage your time

  • Ask yourself in the morning: What can I ignore today? What is the most important thing that I can do today? What can I delegate?


  • If you want to be effective, you need to put in the time. Use big chunks from half a day to up to two weeks on working on a project and really focus until you successfully achieved your milestone.

Effectiveness Can be Learned

This was a relieve for me to hear; being an effective executive does not require special gifts, attitude or god given talents. So you if you are like me, a chaotic mess, it simply means that you have not learned the skill of being effective yet.
Practise makes perfect. And practicing effectiveness will show results fast. Peter F Drucker dedicated his life to investigating managers, CEOs, and executives, and according to him, effective executives differ widely in their personalities, strengths, values, and beliefs. The only thing they have in common is that they get the right stuff done.

First Things First, Second Things Never!

This one rocked my world. You know the book form Stephen Convey, first things first? Well, he got that sentence from Peter F. Drucker. Click here to check it out!
Our brain is like a computer, if we have too many tabs open, it will get less effective. If you have too many things open, it won’t work at all.
This radical approach of only focusing on the most important, urgent thing is a mental habit that will change you.
Ask yourself what is most important right now? 
This does not mean that you have to do business and work all the time, it means taking ownership for your behavior.
If it is most important right now to take a break, then chill. If you need to be present with your family right now, turn off your phone. If you need to focus on creative work, go to a place where nobody is bothering you.
You want your focus to be like a laser. Concentrated on one thing. The more concentrated the hotter it gets.
Being effective means to say no.
Again in my wide-ranging conversation with self-made millionaire Tian Yao, I asked her about commonalities she spotted among other Ceos and high achievers. And she said that they are particularly good at saying no. This could mean that they go to a party have a blast, but know exactly when to stop.
Or that say to their colleagues who want to chat, that they are busy.
If you are saying yes, to getting smashed every Friday with your buddies, you are simultaneously deciding against a productive and happy Saturday. Knowing that our behavior has consequence is key.

What Do I Not Like About The Effective Executive?

The book is difficult to read. You can see that Peter F Drucker is a bit older, he has a clinical way of analyzing patterns. And although his book is one of my favorites, I would not recommend this to everyone.
And I think this is a bit of a waste because the skills of an effective executive are not only important for business people, but for people in general.
This book is marketed as a business book for managers, but really it is a book on how to manage yourself. And therefore it is a must read in my opinion for everybody, not just for people who want to create a business.
(1) Back cover, the effective executive

Call to Action

Record your time for a day,

  • What can you ignore?
  • What can you delegate?
  • Where are you wasting time?

Answer Peter Drucker 5 Magic Questions
1. What is your mission?
2. Who is your customer?
3. What does your customer value?
4. What results do you seek?
5. What is your plan?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE Habit Builder

Get my guide to tap into the power of habit formation for free.

Download FREE!

Download Habit Builder for free

By submitting and downloading the free product you will be assigned to our newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Get the Habit Builder now

Behaviour Shop

I will help you to tap into the power of habit formation in just few days.


I will help you tap into the power of habit formation in just few days.
Get Private Coaching


Learn about ways and mechanisms to hack yourself to a higher mental performance
Read my articles


Learn about environmental psychology and master the things that are around us
Listen to my podcasts

Book Club

Learn about ways to hack your way to higher physical performance
See my books