The Purpose of a Company Is to Create a Customer

When I was in college, I saw Peter Drucker's books on my father's bookshelf in his home study—The Effective Executive; Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices; and The Practice of Management, among others. I thumbed through them, but at the time, I was more interested in history, biography, literature, and economics. I was thinking about becoming a teacher.

Later, when I was a young Navy officer in Japan, getting my first taste of business by running the retail and service operations at the Navy Exchange in Atsugi, I turned to Peter's books for a crash course in business management. Peter was my coach and teacher. The Navy Exchange Atsugi was my on-the-job training.

In 2000, when I was ...

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