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In 1982, with the publication of In Search of Excellence, Peters and Bob Waterman helped American firms deal with a crushing competitive challenge to their primacy by urging them to get away from strategies based on just the numbers and re-focused on the basic drivers of all successful businesses throughout time: people, customers, values-"culture,”, actionexecution, a perpetual self-renewing entrepreneurial spirit. As "obvious" as these ideas are, they were, are and always will be the bedrock and differentiator of excellent enterprise and subject to constant and remarkably rapid slippage if left untended for even a moment. Peters and Waterman also effectively introduced the world of business to the notion of Excellence per se, a state of mind and daily practice not normally associated with enterprise and an inspiring and pragmatic and profitable aspiration.”

In 1999, In Search of Excellence was honored by NPR as one of the "Top Three Business Books of the Century;" it was ranked as the "greatest business book of all time" in a poll by Britain's Bloomsbury Publishing and was the most widely held library book in the United States from 1989 to 2006. Peters has followed Search with well over a dozen additional international best sellers. Among them: A Passion for Excellence (with Nancy Austin); Thriving on Chaos; Liberation Management (acclaimed as the "Management Book of the Decade" for the '90s)’ the provocative, colorful Re-imagine: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, and The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence. Most recently, Peters has devoted significant "at home" energy to the award-winning blog— (a "Top 500" blog designation); Also, beginning in 2009, he has actively engaged his global network via Twitter (where he has also made various "top sites for ..." lists). In 2012, he began to produce a series of iBooks/eBooks on topical subjects.

Peters, who is widely credited with almost single-handedly "inventing" the public "management guru industry," now global in scope and billions of dollars in size, writes, reflects and then presents about 30 seminars each year, well over half outside the U.S. He estimates that since 1978, when the work on Search began, he's given well over 2,500 speeches, flown 5,000,000+ miles, spoken before 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 people and presented in 48 states and 67 countries. Also, since 2004, Peters has devoted significant "at home" energy to the award-winning blog— (a "Top 500" blog designation and 9th ranked among the "Top 150 Management & Leadership Blogs") and beginning in 2009 he has actively engaged his global network via Twitter (where he has also made various "top sites for ..." lists).

Leadership guru Warren Bennis, the only person close to both Peters and the late Peter Drucker, told a journalist, "If Peter Drucker invented modern management, Tom Peters repainted it in Technicolor." In fact, as even Peters' book titles indicate ("Excellence" ... "Passion" ... "Liberation"), his passion is passion: destruction & re-imagining ... finding and liberating ("beyond measure") talent for a hypercompetitive world ... the Herculean task of sustaining entrepreneurial excellence even in enormous organizations ... an enterprise-wide obsession with design that produces products and services of the sort that Steve Jobs calls "insanely great." Among Peters' newer campaigns are: women-as-leaders especially suited for these times; gaining advantage in the enormous, underserved markets represented by women (who control most of the developed world's wealth) and among the burgeoning, financially potent and absurdly underserved boomer-geezer population in the likes of North America, Europe and Japan.

Born in Baltimore "with a lacrosse stick in one hand and oars over my shoulder," Peters resided in California, mainly Silicon Valley (where he was on a list of "100 most powerful people in Silicon Valley"), from 1965-2000. Peters is a civil engineering graduate of Cornell (B.C.E., M.C.E.), where he was included in the book The 100 Most Notable Cornellians, and earned an MBA and Ph.D. in business at Stanford; he holds honorary doctorates from institutions that range from the University of San Francisco to the State University of Management in Moscow and has been honored by dozens of associations in content areas such as management, leadership, quality, human resources, customer service, innovation, marketing and design. In the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970, he made two deployments to Vietnam (as a combat engineer in the fabled Navy Seabees) and "survived a tour in the Pentagon." He was a White House drug-abuse advisor in 1973-1974 and then worked at McKinsey & Co. from 1974-1981, becoming a partner in 1979; he also co-founded McKinsey's now gargantuan Organization Effectiveness practice.