What Peter Drucker Would Be Reading

Peter Drucker

Recent selections from around the web that, we think, would have caught Peter Drucker’s eye:

1. The National Digital Public Library Is Launched!: How would you like to have online access to the collected holdings of America’s research libraries, archives and museums, all free of charge? The good news is that it’s coming your way soon. The Digital Public Library of America launches on April 18. In The New York Review of Books, Robert Darnton unpacks some of the specifics and examines the implications of making widely available all this information and knowledge. “Speaking broadly,” he writes, “the DPLA represents the confluence of two currents that have shaped American civilization: utopianism and pragmatism.”

2. “Experts” Who Beat the Odds Are Probably Just Lucky: If you picked your financial advisor because she made a great call that all the others failed to make, check her out more closely. It could be that she’s normally worse than the rest of the pack at making predictions. That, at least, is what you should expect, according to research by Christina Fang of the Stern School of Business and Jerker Denrell of the Warwick Business School. Denrell writes in Harvard Business Review: “The very traits that lead them to make these out-of-sync predictions—their particular set of knowledge, their worldview, their personality, their tolerance for risk and for being nonconformist—usually also lead to misses.”

3. Who Francis May Be Based on Who Bergoglio Was: Those who are curious about what sort of leader Pope Francis is likely to be should take a look at an article by John L. Allen Jr. in the National Catholic Reporter. Allen traveled to Buenos Aires to find out more about Francis’s pre-papal history as Jorge Mario Bergoglio and found that the pope’s reputation is one of pragmatism and open-mindedness. That said, he’s not afraid to make decisions. Allen writes, “[D]uring the twice-monthly meetings Bergoglio held with his six auxiliary bishops in Buenos Aires, he would always go around the table and solicit advice, and he took it to heart. When it came time to decide, however, things weren’t put up for a vote—Bergoglio made the call, and never seemed anxious or overwrought about it.”

4. Dx Comment of the Week: Last week, when we examined the firing of abusive Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice and the role of what Peter Drucker called “psyschological despotism,” reader Scott Kuethen wrote in to say the following:

To me issues like this appear to be recruiting or screening problems. Mike Rice is an interesting case. Could his behavior have been predicted through some process or series of assessments prior to his being hired? Were there signs of this behavior, or some type of inappropriate behavior before the hiring decision was made?
It would be interesting to turn the hands of time back and put the process by which Mike was selected under the microscope, looking for ways in which aberrant behavior tendencies could be detected before the hire is made.