Five years after coming to New York, I received a letter from John Brademus, chancellor of New York University, inviting me to a dinner at the University Club to hear Peter Drucker speak. I knew I wouldn't be able to meet Drucker in that group of fifty foundation and large social sector organization presidents, but at least I would be able to hear him in person.

The invitation read, "5:30 p.m. reception." Now if you grow up in western Pennsylvania, 5:30 is 5:30; so when the evening came, I arrived on time, walked into the reception room, and found myself alone with two bartenders. I turned around. Behind me was a man who had just walked in. He said, "I am Peter Drucker." (Obviously, if you grow up in Vienna, ...

Get My Life in Leadership: The Journey and Lessons Learned Along the Way now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.