Dr. Hermann Simon
"Man of the Past, Man of the Future" - Page 4

Let us explore a specific case. Drucker frequently names the Deutsche Bank in his articles and books as the first business to be organized according to modern principles. Because I knew of his interest in this topic, I once sent him an article about one of the founders of this bank, Ludwig Bamberger (1826-1899).10 Now I did not expect that Drucker would be familiar with this name, of which I myself had never heard. Wrong again. He was well acquainted with Bamberger’s life and deeds through the diaries of his own grandfather, Ferdinand von Bond. Drucker wrote back to me, “His stories of Ludwig Bamberger and Georg Siemens [another founder of the Deutsche Bank] fascinated me and I still remember some of them,”11 – further proof of Peter Drucker’s unbelievably detailed knowledge.

Drucker’s close proximity to and personal contact with great personalities – from all imaginable categories of people – are also remarkable. In Adventures of a Bystander, Drucker recalls of his acquaintances with Buckminster Fuller, the physicist, and Marshall McLuhan, the communication scientist. I quickly noticed that whenever I mentioned a famous name to Drucker, he knew that person. Three examples: he knew Ernst Juenger (1895-1998), the controversial German writer, from the 1930s and met Reinhard Mohn, the man who turned Bertelsmann into a truly global publishing company in the 1950s. When I asked him if he knew art historian Ernst Gombrich, he responded: “I did not know Gombrich from Vienna. But, about ten or twelve years ago, I spent a very happy and long evening with him in London.... After that we regularly exchanged books and letters and articles.”12 This is indeed a small world. From across great distances, great personalities attract one another and their paths intersect. Drucker often found himself in the right place at the right time for such encounters. 

10 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “Ein bärtiger Revolutionär und erfolgreicher Bankier” (English: “A bearded revolutionary and a successful banker”), Febuary 1999; see also Benedikt Koehler, Ludwig Bamberger, Revolutionär und Bankier, Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlag-Anstalt 1999.
11 Personal letter from Peter F. Drucker, March 4, 1999.
12 Personal letter from Peter F. Drucker, November 28, 2001.