IN AN AGE OF 800-PAGE BIOGRAPHIES, JACK BEATTY has taken an admirable gamble: that he can describe the work and life of management guru Peter F. Drucker, and persuade readers of Drucker's greatness, in a mere 200 pages. The concept is attractive enough to have won the No.6 spot on this month's hardcover best-seller list for The World According to Peter Drucker.

But Beatty fails on several counts. He considers most of Drucker's 29 books. But examinations of such early works of social and political analysis as The End of Economic Man and The Future of Industrial Man include little intellectual context and make Drucker's efforts sound muddled and derivative.

Soon, Drucker abruptly turned to investigations of Corporate America. Why this sudden shift in method and subject matter? Beatty offers little explanation.

In such efforts as The Concept of the Corporation (1945), Beatty shows Drucker finding fault with capitalism, then offering palliatives, such as limited employee governance of the workplace, that at first sound radical, then prove to be superficial. It is only when Beatty gets to such works as The Practice of Management (1954) that we begin to glimpse ''the one great thinker management theory has produced.'' Yet Beatty undercuts his own assertions of the man's profundity: Drucker is ''a gilded failure,'' ''Panglossian,'' a peddler of ''threadbare'' nostrums. Huh? When it comes to admirers like this, 200 pages of text may suit Drucker just fine.


1 THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR by Thomas J. Stanley, PhD, and William D. Danko, PhD (Longstreet Press $22) The penny-pinchers shall inherit the earth.

2 DIE BROKE by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine (HarperBusiness $25) Forget about the will--and the conventional wisdom, says a financial adviser.

3 YOU HAVE MORE THAN YOU THINK by David and Tom Gardner (Simon & Schuster $25) Help for the investment-challenged.

4 FINANCIAL PEACE by Dave Ramsey (Viking $21.95) Getting out of debt--for good.

5 BUFFETTOLOGY by Mary Buffett and David Clark (Scribner $27.50) An ex-daughter-in-law's take on Buffett's techniques.

6 THE WORLD ACCORDING TO PETER DRUCKER by Jack Beatty (Free Press $25) A survey of the management guru's thought.

7 HOW TO RETIRE RICH by James O'Shaughnessy (Broadway $25) Number-crunching your way to the golden years.

8 THE PROFIT ZONE by Adrian J. Slywotzky and David J. Morrison (Times Business $25) Reshaping your business to move where the money is.

9 CHARLES SCHWAB'S GUIDE TO FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE by Charles R. Schwab (Crown $23) Tips from the discount brokerage CEO.

10 WALL STREET MONEY MACHINE by Wade B. Cook (Lighthouse Publishing $24.95) A former cab driver's formulas for striking it rich.

11 THE NEW RULES OF MONEY by Ric Edelman (HarperCollins $25) Rules? There are rules?

12 SUCCESS IS A CHOICE by Rick Pitino with Bill Reynolds (Broadway $25) Coach says work harder, harder!

13 MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR MONEY by Jane Bryant Quinn (Simon & Schuster $30) An updated edition of the columnist's 1991 guide.

14 SELLING THE INVISIBLE by Harry Beckwith (Warner $15) A collection of bite-size lessons on marketing.

15 POUR YOUR HEART INTO IT by Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Yang (Hyperion $24.95) At Starbucks, the chief's cup runneth over.


1 THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $12) Habitually popular.

2 THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT GUIDE by David and Tom Gardner (Fireside $12) The online duo puts it on paper.

3 THE ERNST & YOUNG TAX GUIDE 1998 by the Tax Partners and Professionals of Ernst & Young LLP (Wiley $15.95) Nuts and bolts.

4 THE MOTLEY FOOL INVESTMENT WORKBOOK by David and Tom Gardner (Fireside $12) ''So, where do I find stocks?'' and other queries, asked and answered.

5 J.K. LASSER'S YOUR INCOME TAX 1998 by the J.K. Lasser Institute (Macmillan $14.95) Time to fire up the calculator.

6 THE 1998 WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed Press $16.95) The enduring job-search bible.

7 1001 WAYS TO REWARD EMPLOYEES by Bob Nelson (Workman $10.95) Give them a champagne brunch, a casual-dress day--or plain old cash.

8 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING MONEY AND INVESTING by Kenneth M. Morris and Alan M. Siegel (Fireside $13.95) Concise explanations enriched with graphics.

9 GETTING TO YES by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton (Penguin $11.95) A Harvard team's step-by-step guide to conflict resolution.

10 YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin $11.95) To achieve financial independence, restructure your life.

11 BUILT TO LAST by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras (HarperBusiness $14) How 3M, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, and others became standouts.

12 THE AMERICAN EXPRESS TAX GUIDE 1998 by American Express Tax and Business Services Inc. (HarperBusiness $12.95) Forms aplenty.

13 INVESTING FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson, MBA (IDG Books $19.95) From stocks to small business--with cartoons, too.

14 1001 WAYS TO ENERGIZE EMPLOYEES by Bob Nelson (Workman $10.95) From morale-building to job enrichment.

15 PERSONAL FINANCE FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson (IDG Books $19.95) Lighthearted primer.

BUSINESS WEEK's Best-Seller List is based on a survey of chain and independent booksellers that carry a broad selection of books on economics, management, sales and marketing, small business, investing, personal finance, and careers. Well over 1,000 retail outlets nationwide are represented. Current rankings are based on a weighted analysis of unit sales in January.

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Updated Feb. 19, 1998 by bwwebmaster
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