Sometimes a friend makes such a profound and lasting impression on one’s life that it inspires a need to share that person’s legacy with the world.
So it is with my dear friend, Peter Koestenbaum, Ph.D.
Peter and I met a decade ago in the spring of 2013 when I invited him to attend a self-management symposium. To my delight, he accepted. Peter and his gracious wife Patty spent two days at our symposium, where he charmed guests and engaged with vigor in Open Space and other activities. During breaks, we shared some quality personal time where we became friends and resolved to continue our conversations in the future.
Peter is a unique and impactful force for good in the world, who:
• As a child, looked into the face of Adolf Hitler on parade in Berlin
• With his family, fled the impending Holocaust to Caracas, Venezuela
• Vowed to become a philosopher at the age of six while jumping on his bed
• Attended Stanford University at the age of 17, then attended Harvard University and Boston University for his M.A. and Ph.D.
• Became the world’s leading philosopher of work and leadership, advising CEOs and leaders globally*
• Named the Outstanding Professor of the entire California State University system while teaching at San Jose State University
• Wrote the definitive masterwork on using the knowledge of one’s death to organize life, The Vitality of Death (Greenwood, 1971)
• Just released (at the age of 95!), a powerful new book with Peter Block, Confronting Our Freedom: Leading a Culture of Chosen Accountability and Belonging (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2023)
Over the last decade Peter let me record hours of deep conversation (still being edited), and publish an interview for the Business Agility Institute magazine Emergence, My Dinner With Peter, about freedom and accountability at work. We’ve enjoyed multiple visits at his California home and spoken countless times on the phone in lengthy and substantive conversations. I’m grateful for every minute.
Eventually, I resolved to create a website to share his legacy with the world (link below), where people can listen to his lectures, buy one or more of his twelve books, read his bio and leave him a personal note.
I recently had the pleasure of sharing this new website with Peter in person. Happy now to share it with the world. Link for peterkoestenbaum [dot] com below. I encourage Peter’s former colleagues, clients and students (and current admirers) to leave a note for him on the site under the “Share” menu.
* Former clients include (among many others), IBM, Electronic Data Systems, Ford Motor Company, Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), Citi, Volvo Group, Amoco, Xerox, American Medical International (now Tenet Healthcare), Statoil(Norway), Sparbanken Gruppen (Sweden)