Skip to Content

Summary: The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker

As a veteran consultant to executives across a wide range of fields, Peter Drucker shares 45 years’ worth of insight into the practices and behaviors of effective executives. In this book review, you’ll learn the difference between the effective worker who does things right and the effective executive who gets the right things done. You’ll also learn how to implement that effectiveness in your management style.

How to make decisions that take your company from middle-of-the-pack to leader.


  • Feel that you waste a lot of time in meetings
  • Want to turn your organization into a success
  • Are eager to rise through the ranks in your career


As an author and an intellectual, the late Peter F. Drucker was a true business sage. Recognized as the father of modern management, Drucker forecast numerous pivotal trends, including decentralization, privatization and the development of the information society. He introduced the concept of the “knowledge worker,” a term he employs widely in this fascinating book. Each Drucker book is a genuine business classic, including this one. He delves into detail about what managers should accomplish and how they should conceptualize their role. We believe it will help you think productively about what you do. No one writes more intelligently or presciently on management and its functions than Drucker. All executives, even those who are already effective, will benefit from reading this informative, enlightening book.

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


  • Effective executives prioritize, make plans, take responsibility, communicate, seek opportunities, hold productive meetings and contribute to their organizations.
  • An executive’s position conspires against his or her effectiveness.
  • Nevertheless, you can teach yourself to become an effective executive.
  • To do so, you must master five specific habits.
  • The first habit is to control your time and understand how you use it.
  • The second habit is to focus on what you can contribute to your organization.
  • The third habit is to build on your strengths and your company’s strengths.
  • The fourth habit is to prioritize your objectives, and work on them one by one.
  • The fifth habit is to standardize decision making where possible.
  • Society depends on effective organizations, which depend on effective leaders.


Most management guides focus on how to manage other people — but you have little control over the behavior of others. Instead, you should focus on the one thing you can actually manage: yourself. Studies show that the most effective managers lead by example, consistently modeling what they want to see in their colleagues, staff, and even managers.

A key misconception is that the most successful executives are born leaders, but these talents don’t necessarily come naturally. All effective leaders learned how to be most effective, and you can, too.

In this book review, you’ll learn how to use the following basic concepts as building blocks for your executive development:

  1. Managing time realistically. You must know exactly how much time you have, where it gets used unproductively, and where it could have the biggest impact.
  2. Focusing on results rather than tasks. Learn where to direct your attention to keep your business productive now and in the future.
  3. Using strengths rather than compensating for weaknesses. True excellence is reached when you use strengths as building blocks rather than trying to balance out weaknesses.
  4. Prioritizing steps rather than multitasking. Instead of juggling to-do items, do the first thing first and give it your full attention before moving on to the next.
  5. Making strategic decisions. Make important and impactful decisions to gain the best results and include a plan for implementing and evaluating them.

Effectiveness Can Be Learned

Throughout history, creative geniuses have often proved to be ineffective. Brilliant imagination alone doesn’t put ideas into effect. The art of effectiveness takes persistent, organized work and discipline, combined with intelligence, knowledge, and ideas, and produces actual outcomes.

Effective executives have different styles, temperaments, knowledge bases, and abilities. But what they do have in common is the skill of ensuring the right things get done, not just that things get done right. The five main components of this skill are:

  1. Managing time realistically
  2. Focusing on results rather than tasks
  3. Using strengths rather than compensating for weaknesses
  4. Prioritizing rather than multitasking
  5. Making strategic decisions

Remember, you cannot be an effective executive without thoroughly understanding these practices and making them habits.

Know The Time

When you sit down to plan your workday, you probably start by making a list of everything you have to do. But the effective executive first determines how much time they have, carefully tracks where they spend it, and honestly evaluates what eats it up unproductively. Then, they consolidate the discretionary time they have left over into the most effective chunks.

People are naturally bad at estimating time, so without deliberate timemanagement, most executives are wildly off in their perception of how they use their time. Take the case of one company chairman. He thought he divided his time into thirds to be most effective: one-third checking in with his senior employees to ensure the company was productive; one-third emailing with prime clients to ensure their continued loyalty; and one-third managing overall community activities to ensure the company ran smoothly.

However, when he logged how he spent his time for six weeks, the resulting record showed that almost all his time was spent checking on specific orders for clients he knew personally, which didn’t actually require his oversight. He wasn’t spending his time where he thought he was — instead, he was also doing a largely unnecessary job that a lower-level employee could handle.

You must assess where your time is going before you can manage it. First, identify what activities waste time — they don’t need to be done. Next, determine what activities need to be done but could be done as effectively (or even more effectively) by someone else and delegate those tasks. Finally, recognize the possibility that you’re unknowingly wasting time and ask your colleagues and employees what activities you do that waste their time. At first, this may be uncomfortable for both you and them, but it will quickly make both of you more productive.

Keep in mind that some of the biggest time-wasters are:

  • Recurring problems that arise when there’s no system in place to manage them
  • An overstaffed workforce, which allows for idle time or even conflict between employees
  • Poor organization, which usually shows up as an unnecessary number of meetings. If you find time is constantly sucked up by meetings, it means that work is spread over too many positions or departments, and it should be consolidated instead.

Finally, when consolidating your time, know that spending small amounts of time here and there is always ineffective. Estimate how much discretionary time (the time left over after ensuring the company is running) you have and then use it in large chunks where it’s most needed. This is a broader form of prioritizing.

What Can I Contribute?

One of the main mistakes executives make is focusing on cultivating their own authority instead of cultivating results. You must be responsible for the performance of the whole department or company instead of being concerned with how they view you.

To ensure good performance, you need good human relations, clear goals for meetings, a focus on teamwork, and a commitment to developing both yourself and your employees, so everyone contributes as effectively as possible. Ask yourself what strengths you contribute to the company and bring out the strengths of your workforce by setting standards that encourage them to rise to the challenge.

The three areas of performance you should be most concerned with are:

  • Direct results: Ensuring the company is providing the product or service it’s designed to provide.
  • Building values: Ensuring the company stands for something.
  • Working for tomorrow: Ensuring the company trains people who can run it in the future.

These are the keys to the company’s ability to survive and adapt. If you focus only on direct results, you’re just maintaining an organization that will soon become obsolete. Think of all the companies that have gone out of business because they provided a service but didn’t have a clear vision or plan for perpetuating themselves.

Making Strength Productive

When hiring, promoting, or building teams, you shouldn’t choose people or form partnerships in an effort to balance out or cover up weaknesses — this ends in mediocrity. Weaknesses are inevitable, but they don’t have to matter. Instead, if you focus on emphasizing strengths and how they play off each other, you’ll not only promote excellence but also render the weaknesses irrelevant.

Because you’ll be choosing people for positions based on their performance rather than their personality, you want to avoid asking yourself questions like, “How will I get along with him?” Take good actors, for example. They’re known for being demanding and moody, but they’re typically not blackballed just because they’re difficult to work with. What their managers are interested in is the excellence of their performance — which, along with tantrums, they always deliver.

It’s also good to keep your distance from your colleagues and subordinates so that you’re not tempted to promote them to a position they’re not suited to just because you like them. For example, historians agree that President Lincoln didn’t become an effective leader until he created significant distance between himself and his secretary of war.

The flip side, of course, is that you can’t hesitate to remove someone who isn’t performing well. The higher up a mediocre performer is, the more the company suffers.

You must also look at filling a position the other way around — if you sense the job itself isn’t well-designed, redesign it rather than trying to find someone who fits it exactly. However, this doesn’t mean structure every job to fit a specific person. Structuring a job to fit a person is pretty rare, and it typically involves inventors, as in the case of General Motors being designed around its genius head of research, Charles Kettering. To make the best decision, follow your instinct — a job may be impossible if multiple people have failed at it, and thus, it may need to be restructured.

Finally, in addition to emphasizing your team’s strengths and using your own abilities, you must make your own boss effective by playing to their strengths as well. The best way to ensure your promotion, along with the improvement of your subordinates, is to elevate your superior, not undermine them.

First Things First

It’s a common misconception that executives should always be running around and managing several things at once. Research shows that trying to multitask leads to lowered performance in all areas. Instead, prioritize, take steps one at a time, and give each step your full concentration.

For example, a very successful executive took over a small, low-ranking pharmaceutical company and turned it into an international leader by the time he retired only a decade later. He recognized that the company could never be a leader if it only produced drugs already on the market, so he first focused almost exclusively on research. He then focused on building the company out internationally. Then, right before he retired, he focused on attaining a strategy that’s in line with the way modern health care works.

It’s rare that an executive works on more than one major thing during their tenure, but because of this leader’s focus and follow through, he was able to succeed in three areas by tackling one at a time.

The Elements of Decision-Making

Decision-making is an important part of an executive’s job, but it shouldn’t be a time-consuming one that involves an overwhelming number of decisions. Instead, an effective executive should make important, impactful decisions using the following five key steps:

  1. Determine whether the situation is generic and can be solved with a general rule or is an exception that needs a unique solution. The latter is rare — if something seems unique, it’s typically just the first appearance of a problem that will reoccur in the future.
  2. Clearly identify what the decision needs to accomplish and what conditions it needs to meet. For example, when Roosevelt became President, and the economy collapsed, he immediately scrapped his original plan of economic recovery and came up with a reform plan instead. In other words, he recognized that the first plan would not meet the conditions of the new situation.
  3. A decision is always a compromise — determine what the right compromise is, not what an acceptable compromise is.
  4. Unless a decision has action commitments built into it, it’s nothing more than a good intention. Any decision must include details on what tasks it entails and who’s going to carry them out.
  5. Include a feedback system to test how well the decision works.

Effective Decisions

Contrary to popular belief, decision-making doesn’t start with evaluating facts — it starts with evaluating opinions. There isn’t a need for a decision unless there’s a clash between opinions. Following in this vein, a decision isn’t made to generate consensus — it should create disagreement. There are positives to disagreements in decision-making. For instance, if there’s dissent about your decision, you have alternatives to explore if your initial decision isn’t successful. If you have complete consensus backing a decision, that signals danger because it means there is no backup plan.


“To focus on contribution is to focus on effectiveness.” – Peter Drucker

To identify your biggest contribution and maximize your effectiveness, ‘Know Thy Strengths’ and ‘Know Thy Time’.

Know Thy Strengths

“We are all incompetent at most things. The crucial question is not how to turn incompetence into excellence, but to ask, ‘What can (I) do uncommonly well?’” – Peter Drucker

Find your strengths, put them to work, and achieve your greatest contribution.

What are your strengths? What can you do uncommonly well? If you don’t know, conduct a feedback analysis.

“Most people think they know what they’re good at. They’re usually wrong. And people who know what they’re not good at are more often wrong than right (paraphrased).” – Peter Drucker

To conduct a feedback analysis, volunteer for roles at work, at school, in your community, and then:

  1. Write down your upcoming responsibilities.
  2. Estimate your performance for each responsibility (scale of 1‐5).
  3. Six to twelve months later, compare your expectations to your results.

If you volunteered for a management position, were you better at creating plans and delegating tasks then you thought? Were you better at solving problems and making decisions under pressure than you thought?

Know Thy Time

Contribution = Strengths x Time

Manage your time to maximize the time you do what you do best.

“One cannot even think of managing one’s time unless one first knows where it goes…the first step toward executive effectiveness is therefore to record actual time‐use.”– Peter Drucker

If you look back more than an hour, you’ll fool yourself into thinking you were far more effective than you were. The only way to know how you spend your time is to record your time as close to real‐time as possible.

I suggest starting a time recording habit by recording your activities for just three consecutive hours every workday.

If you work best between 9:00 AM and noon, set an alarm on your phone for 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and noon.

  • When the alarm goes off, open a physical notebook or a note on your phone, and write down everything you did the last hour ‐ be as specific as possible, and don’t forget to include small distractions.
  • Estimate how many minutes you spent doing work that leveraged your strengths.

Do this for a month, and you’ll get a time log statement (much like a credit card statement) that will help you see how where you’re wasting your time. Use your time log statement to create two lists: ‘Stop‐Doing’ list and ‘Offload’ list.

  • Typical ‘Stop‐Doing’ items: common distractions, useless meetings, and good but not great opportunities.
  • Typical ‘Offload’ items: cleaning, running errands, updating spreadsheets, formatting documents, and any work that doesn’t require refined judgment or creativity.

Before looking at your ‘To‐do’ list each day, plan how you will systemically eliminate items on your ‘Stop‐Doing’ list, and give away items on your ‘Offload’ list.

The Ultimate Goal: Spend your time doing what you do best, and stop doing or offload the rest.


You Can Teach Yourself to Become Effective

You cannot manage others if you cannot manage yourself. For the executive – the ultimate “knowledge worker” – this means managing your own effectiveness. This is not a complicated task. It involves adopting a few specific practices and five pivotal habits. Being effective is a linchpin requirement for any executive. An ineffective executive is an imposter – a leader in name only. To become more productive, use these eight practices:

  1. Focus on what needs doing – Often, this may differ from what you want to do. Tend to only one or two tasks at any given time. Delegate the others.
  2. Make sure your actions benefit your organization – Are you doing the best thing for your enterprise? The organization is what counts, not the “owners, the stock price, the employees or the executives.”
  3. Create an action plan – Knowledge, wisdom and expertise are useless without action. However, action without a plan is counterproductive. Your action plan represents your intentions, not your commitments. Be ready to change if circumstances warrant it. Periodically check your plan to ensure that it is still working correctly.
  4. Assume responsibility for your actions – Make sure your direct reports know the action plan and all its important particulars, including deadlines. Determine who will carry it out, who it affects, and who must be informed and updated about the plan.
  5. Communicate your plan to others – This includes your subordinates and superiors.
  6. Seek opportunities – See change as something to exploit, not as a threat. Never let problems block opportunities.
  7. Make your meetings productive – Meetings are either very useful or giant time-wasters. No in-between exists. Having fruitful meetings requires self-discipline. End them as soon as you accomplish your objectives.
  8. Orient your thinking to “we,” not “I” – What is important to you isn’t really relevant. What matters most is what is valuable for the organization.

“The executive is paid for being effective.”

Executives can be brilliant, imaginative and informed, and yet still ineffective. Effective executives are systematic. They work hard in the right areas and their results define them. They are knowledge workers who help the organization achieve its goals. They look beyond mere management tasks and try to perceive important trends that will affect their organizations. Unfortunately, executives’ positions of authority actually conspire against their personal effectiveness.

Time constraints

An executive’s time isn’t their own. It belongs to everyone in the organization. Thus, when people inside or outside the firm need to interact with an executive, they feel completely free to interrupt. Such constant breaks in concentration make it hard to work productively.


U.S. executives come up through the ranks, so they often focus a lion’s share of their attention on their original “home” departments. That is, they get stuck in operational mode. Some analysts fault European executives for the same problem, but, ironically, many European executives move into top management from a “central secretariat,” where they previously performed as generalists.

Organizational silos

Most organizations have separate fiefdoms where individual experts focus on specialized pursuits – accounting, legal, research, data management and so on. Each group has separate agendas and goals, but their executives often must combine their efforts. Unfortunately, executives do not always have control over area specialists and may not get the support they require from their own realms.


Executives operate deep inside organizations. As a result, many do not come into contact with outsiders, including customers, market analysts, suppliers and so on. But these exterior connections really count. The organization cannot survive without favorable outside results, such as increased sales, good public relations and strong distributor support. Thus, for any organization, the external reality controls almost everything of merit. Unfortunately, as they advance within organizations, many executives lose touch with this crucial external reality. Their effectiveness suffers as they begin to focus more on computer-generated data about operations and less on actual marketplace realities.

“Effective executives do first things first, and they do one thing at a time.”

All executives face such occupational hazards. Indeed, they go with the territory. Fortunately, you can learn to become more effective, despite the obstacles, by developing these five habits:

First Habit: “Know Thy Time”

To use your time well, take these three steps:

  1. “Recording time” – If you don’t keep track of your time, you cannot know how you spend (or waste) it. Therefore, carefully write down how long each task takes, then use this log as a guide to delegate certain chores and activities. Assign these items to your direct reports, but also ask if you are wasting their time. If so, make a change. The more effective they are, the more effective you will become.
  2. “Managing time” – Do you have a good system in place to protect your time? You do not if you routinely experience the same periodic time crises – for example, a rush to conduct an annual inventory. Plan recurring events better to save time. Sometimes, having too many people on hand wastes time because employees interact instead of just doing the activities involved. Prune personnel to operate more efficiently. Holding too many meetings is a major time-waster. Cut back whenever possible.
  3. “Consolidating time” – If you are a senior executive, you are likely to have control over only one-quarter of your own time, maybe less. Determine how much discretionary time you possess, then consolidate it to employ it well. Set this block of time aside to use productively. Don’t let anything interfere. Often, this requires iron self-discipline. So be it. You cannot achieve sustained results in small chunks of time.

Second Habit: “What Can I Contribute?”

Do you worry too much about your staff members’ daily activities and not enough about what results they accomplish? An effective sales manager is not someone who runs the sales department but, rather, someone who makes sure the company’s products sell. An effective accountant doesn’t just balance the books; instead, they supply the financial information the business needs to ensure that it can operate profitably. Focus less on your individual effort. Concentrate instead on the real core contributions you can make to the organization.

“Executives are doers; they execute.”

Do not define these contributions narrowly. Include “direct results,” such as increased sales or decreased costs, as well as work that develops the organization, such as guiding new employees, or helping build and maintain your organization’s values. Ask your colleagues, subordinates and superiors, “What contribution can I make that will enable you to contribute more effectively?” Then work hard to deliver it.

Third Habit: “Making Strength Productive”

Strength is an asset. This is true regarding your strong points – your abilities, expertise, knowledge and personality – and those of your co-workers. The effective executive always builds on his or her strengths, and on others’ strengths, as well. This starts with staffing decisions. When hiring, do not try to avoid weaknesses. Instead, maximize strengths. Do not ask, “Will this person work well with me?” Rather, focus on the contributions that the person could make to the organization.

“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.”

During the American Civil War, advisers warned U.S. President Abraham Lincoln that the highly effective General Ulysses S. Grant was a drunkard. “If I knew his brand, I’d send a barrel…to some other generals,” Lincoln replied. He always focused on results, not weaknesses. So did General Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate Army. One general under Lee’s command ignored his orders, thus upsetting Lee’s battle plan. “Why don’t you relieve him of his command?” one aide asked Lee. “What an absurd question,” Lee replied. “He performs.” In business, as in war, results count. Keep that uppermost in your mind when evaluating future – and current – employees.

Fourth Habit: “First Things First”

Multitasking is a mistake and really doesn’t work well. To get things done, concentrate on one task at a time, or two at the most. Three is almost always unrealistic. Yet, throughout history some geniuses have been able to do numerous tasks at once. Wolfgang Mozart supposedly could create multiple musical compositions at the same time. But most of us are not Mozarts. You may be able to accomplish your objectives by multitasking, but your work will be substandard.

“The sooner operating managers learn to make decisions as genuine judgments on risk and uncertainty, the sooner we will overcome one of the basic weaknesses of large organizations – the absence of any training and testing for the decision-making top positions.”

Instead of multitasking, work smartly and quickly on one job at a time. This does not mean working in a hurried dither; it means concentrating and working steadily on the task at hand. Involve yourself and your team in productive pursuits. If an activity is unproductive, drop it. Always prioritize. This takes courage. Aim high in your goals. Keep your eye on the future, not on the past. Always allow a margin of work time for the unexpected to occur. It definitely will.

Fifth Habit: “Decision Making”

Most situations that require you to make decisions are basically generic – that is, typical and unexceptional. You can deal with such circumstances by applying established rules, and general principles and procedures. The challenge is to determine when a situation is, indeed, typical or when it is different in some way that needs unique handling. The biggest decision-making mistake is to try to deal with a generic problem as if it were unusual.

“Most executives have learned that what one postpones, one actually abandons.”

For example, production problems recur continuously, so you can deal with them by using decisions and actions that worked well in the past. On the other hand, a massive power failure (like the one in northeastern North America in 1965) is a hugely atypical event. Resolving it demands special decision making, not the application of proven rules. Being able to distinguish generic situations from extraordinary ones is the core of effective executive decision making.

“The Criterion of Relevance”

The value of the decisions you make depends on their relevance. This is the correct measurement of the validity of your subjective judgment regarding any situation you have to handle as an executive. The clarity and relevance of your opinion matter because the real facts of most situations are rarely discernible immediately; they usually manifest over a period of time.

“A decision requires courage as much as it requires judgment.”

Always operate as if the “traditional measurement is not the right measurement.” Look for other options. For example, you can measure the value of an investment or capital expenditure according to how long it will take to recover your outlay. You can determine an investment’s anticipated profitability or the current value of the expected returns. Each of these yardsticks presents only a partial picture of the expenditure’s probable value, so insist that your accountants provide all such calculations. The combination of data that emerges from these separate ways of gauging relevance will enable you to make the most informed decision.

Everything Depends on You

As an executive and a knowledge worker, you represent a highly valuable – indeed, indispensable – resource. Society depends on you, and millions of knowledge workers like you, to be maximally effective. If you are effective, your organization can be productive and make important contributions to the general good. Purposeful, efficient organizations can serve as “useful tools” to make life better for all. This is an enlightened and noble purpose. But society cannot achieve this vital goal if its organizations are ineffective. To avoid that pitfall, they require strong knowledge workers. Thus, you are an integral element of the system that moves society forward. Fortunately, any executive can learn to be an even more effective professional. It’s a matter of habit.


The main principles of this book seem simple, yet they’re surprisingly hard to find in effect at most companies and organizations. The job of the executive is not to look busy or seem authoritative — it’s to be effective. And effectiveness is not a natural talent that some leaders have, and some don’t; rather, it’s a skill that must be learned carefully and practiced daily. By always keeping in mind the main points of effective management, you’ll see excellent performance from your team, yourself, and your superiors. You’ll ensure that your company produces steady, satisfactory results now and into the future.

As an executive, make sure your focus is always on the five main components of effectiveness:

  1. Managing time realistically. You must know exactly how much time you have, where it gets used unproductively, and where it could have the biggest impact.
  2. Focusing on results rather than tasks. Learn where to direct your attention to keep your business productive now and in the future.
  3. Using strengths rather than compensating for weaknesses. True excellence is reached when you use strengths as building blocks rather than trying to balance out weaknesses.
  4. Prioritizing steps rather than multitasking. Instead of juggling to-do items, do the first thing first and give it your full attention before moving on to the next.
  5. Making strategic decisions. Make important and impactful decisions to gain the best results and include a plan for implementing and evaluating them.

About Peter F. Drucker

Peter F. Drucker was a management consultant, educator, and author and is widely considered one of the greatest business thinkers of the 20th century. He founded one of the country’s first executive MBA programs at Claremont Graduate University in California, where he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management. In 2002, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has 39 books to his name, many considered classics of modern management theory and practice. He died in 2005.


Book Summary

In The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker provides a comprehensive guide to being an effective executive. He argues that the key to effectiveness is to focus on the few things that matter most and to delegate the rest. He also emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals, managing time effectively, and building strong relationships.

Drucker outlines five principles that executives must apply to be effective:

  1. Know your time blocks – Analyze how you currently spend your time and identify blocks of time to focus on the most critical tasks.
  2. Set clear goals and priorities – Set concrete goals that can be measured and translated into specific tasks and schedules. Focus efforts on the most important areas for making an impact.
  3. Organize for optimal results – Create structures within and around your team to maximize output and minimize interference and procrastination.
  4. Maintain adequate controls – Establish key metrics and controls to monitor progress and maintain course corrections as needed.
  5. Spend time on the areas of your greatest strength – Focus your efforts on the specific contributions only you can make, leveraging your unique skills and knowledge. Delegate lesser tasks to others.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, “The Effective Executive,” defines what it means to be an effective executive and outlines the key skills and qualities that effective executives need. The second part, “Managing Time,” discusses how to manage time effectively and to avoid wasting time on unimportant tasks. The third part, “Managing People,” focuses on the importance of building strong relationships with employees and colleagues.

Book Review

“The Effective Executive” is a masterpiece that continues to resonate with readers, even decades after its initial publication. Peter F. Drucker’s profound understanding of management and his clear, concise writing style make this book a must-read for anyone aspiring to become a more effective leader.

One of the key strengths of this book is Drucker’s emphasis on focusing on the most critical tasks and priorities. He highlights the importance of identifying and concentrating on the few activities that truly matter, rather than getting caught up in trivial or non-essential tasks. By focusing on the right things, executives can maximize their impact and achieve meaningful results.

Drucker also emphasizes the value of time management and self-discipline. He provides practical advice on how to allocate time effectively, eliminate time-wasting activities, and develop a disciplined approach to work. The author encourages executives to set clear goals, establish routines, and eliminate distractions, enabling them to make the most of their time and energy.

In addition, “The Effective Executive” underscores the significance of making informed decisions. Drucker emphasizes the importance of gathering relevant information, analyzing it objectively, and making decisions based on sound judgment. He outlines a systematic decision-making process that encourages executives to consider alternatives, assess risks, and evaluate long-term consequences. This approach helps leaders make more effective decisions that align with organizational goals.

Furthermore, the book emphasizes the crucial role of effective communication in executive effectiveness. Drucker stresses the need for clear and concise communication, both within the organization and externally. He provides guidance on how to articulate ideas, engage in meaningful dialogue, and communicate goals and expectations. By mastering communication skills, executives can foster collaboration, inspire their teams, and drive organizational success.

“The Effective Executive” is a practical guide that offers actionable advice and strategies. Drucker presents numerous case studies and examples to illustrate his concepts, making the book relatable and applicable to various industries and organizational contexts. Readers can easily extract valuable insights and apply them to their own roles and responsibilities.

While the book provides a wealth of knowledge, it does require a willingness to reflect and implement the principles discussed. Drucker’s ideas may challenge traditional management practices, and readers may need to adapt their mindset and approach to fully embrace the concepts presented.

In conclusion, “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” by Peter F. Drucker is a seminal work that continues to be relevant and influential. Drucker’s wisdom and expertise shine through as he offers practical guidance on effective management, decision-making, time management, and communication. This book serves as an invaluable resource for executives and leaders seeking to enhance their effectiveness and achieve meaningful results in their organizations.


  • Timeless Advice: Despite being written over 50 years ago, the advice in this book remains relevant and applicable to modern-day professionals.
  • Practical and Actionable: The book is filled with practical and actionable tips that readers can apply to their own lives and work.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: The book covers a wide range of topics, from goal-setting and decision-making to time management and team leadership.


  • Some sections feel outdated: Some of the examples and anecdotes in the book may feel outdated or irrelevant to modern readers.
  • Lack of Real-World Examples: The book does not include real-world examples or case studies to illustrate the concepts discussed.

Key Takeaways

Here are some of the key takeaways from The Effective Executive:

  • The key to effectiveness is to focus on the few things that matter most.
  • Effective executives set clear goals and priorities.
  • Effective executives manage their time effectively.
  • Effective executives build strong relationships with their employees and colleagues.
  • Effective executives are constantly learning and improving.

Overall Assessment

The Effective Executive is a classic book that is still relevant today. It is a well-written, insightful book that provides valuable advice for anyone who wants to be a more effective executive. I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about improving their leadership skills.


“The Effective Executive” is a classic book that offers timeless advice on how to manage one’s time, priorities, and energy to achieve maximum productivity and results. While some sections may feel outdated, the book’s strengths in providing practical and actionable tips make it a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their executive skills.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Recommendation: I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve their executive skills, from entry-level professionals to experienced leaders. The book’s timeless advice and practical tips make it a valuable resource for anyone looking to achieve more with their time and energy.

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

    Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

    Your Support Matters...

    We run an independent site that is committed to delivering valuable content, but it comes with its challenges. Many of our readers use ad blockers, causing our advertising revenue to decline. Unlike some websites, we have not implemented paywalls to restrict access. Your support can make a significant difference. If you find this website useful and choose to support us, it would greatly secure our future. We appreciate your help. If you are currently using an ad blocker, please consider disabling it for our site. Thank you for your understanding and support.