Tom Peters

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Tom Peters III
Born (1942-11-07) November 7, 1942 (age 72)
Baltimore, Maryland
Nationality United States
Occupation Author, Consultant

Thomas J. "Tom" Peters (born November 7, 1942) is an American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence (co-authored with Robert H. Waterman, Jr).

Life and career[edit]

Peters was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He went to Severn School for High School and attended Cornell University, receiving a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1965, and a master's degree in 1966. He later studied business at Stanford Business School, receiving an M.B.A. and PhD. In 2004, he also received an honorary doctorate from the State University of Management in Moscow.

From 1966 to 1970, he served in the United States Navy, making two deployments to Vietnam as a Navy Seabee, then later working in the Pentagon. From 1973 to 1974, he worked in the White House as a senior drug-abuse advisor, during the Nixon administration. Peters has acknowledged the influence of military strategist Colonel John Boyd on his later writing.

From 1974 to 1981, Peters worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, becoming a partner and Organization Effectiveness practice leader in 1979. In 1981, he left McKinsey to become an independent consultant.

In 1990, Peters was referred to in a British Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) publication as one of the world's Quality Gurus.

In Search of Excellence was published in 1982. It became a bestseller, gaining exposure in the United States at a national level when a series of television specials based on the book and hosted by Peters appeared on PBS. The primary ideas espoused solving business problems with as little business-process overhead as possible, and empowering decision-makers at multiple levels of a company.

In later books Peters has encouraged personal responsibility in response to the "New Economy".

The December 2001 issue of Fast Company quoted Peters admitting that he had falsified the underlying data for In Search of Excellence. In an odd turn of events, however, he later insisted that this was untrue, and that he was the victim of an "aggressive headline."[1]

Peters's latest book is The Little Big Things, released in March 2010.[2]

Peters currently lives in West Tinmouth, Vermont with his wife Susan Sargent, and continues to write and speak about personal and business empowerment and problem-solving methodologies.[3] His namesake company is based in the UK.


  • 1982 – In Search of Excellence (co-written with Robert H. Waterman, Jr.)
  • 1985 – A Passion for Excellence (co-written with Nancy Austin)
  • 1987 – Thriving on Chaos
  • 1992 – Liberation Management
  • 1994 – The Tom Peters Seminar: Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations
  • 1994 – The Pursuit of WOW!
  • 1997 – The Circle of Innovation: You Can't Shrink Your Way to Greatness
  • 1999 – The Brand You 50: Or: Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an "Employee" into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! (Reinventing Work Series) ISBN 978-0375407727
  • 2003 – Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
  • 2005 – Talent
  • 2005 – Leadership
  • 2005 – Design
  • 2005 – Trends (co-written with Martha Barletta)
  • 2010 – The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence


  1. ^ Byrne, John A. (December 3, 2001). "The Real Confessions of Tom Peter". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved March 27, 2015. 
  2. ^ Peters, Tom (October 1, 2009). "The Little Big Things Introduction". Retrieved October 29, 2009. 
  3. ^ Reingold, Jennifer (December 19, 2007). "Still Angry After All These Years". Fast Company. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]