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The Imperfect Board Member: Discovering the Seven Disciplines of Governance Excellence Hardcover – Sep 29 2006

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (Sept. 29 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787986100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787986100
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2 x 21.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Brown delivers a creative analogy that can be applied to both the corporate and nonprofit arenas. Anyone who leads boards or serves as a member of a board should sit up and take notice of this wonderful book." (, October 2008)


"Finally! A book about boards that isn’t boring!"
Patrick Lencioni, author, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

"Everyone wins with good governance--countries, corporations, and community groups. In a compelling style like no one before him, Jim Brown helps leaders understand the keys for boardroom excellence. The Imperfect Board Member ought to be required reading for people on every type of board. The great thing is that it won't need to be required—it’s such a fun book, every leader will want to read it."
Jim Balsillie, chairman and co-CEO, Research in Motion; chair, Centre for International Governance Innovation

"I know no board members, myself included, who won't learn valuable lessons from Jim Brown’s book The Imperfect Board Member. Don't miss it!"
Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One-Minute Manager® and The Secret

"Thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley, boards have become active. The Imperfect Board Member clarifies sharply the lines of what boards need to do and what management needs to do. The time has come for the two groups to work together and yet keep independent."
Ram Charan, coauthor, Execution, and author, Boards That Deliver

"The Imperfect Board Member by Jim Brown is a highly perceptive, eminently readable, engagingly human book on how boards and directors can improve their performance. In a breezy conversational style that uses dialogue invitingly and often, the author explores with sensitivity and a light touch not only the standard ingredients but also the more subtle nuances of excellence in both corporate and not-for-profit governance"
William A. Dimma, author, Tougher Boards for Tougher Times; chairman, Home Capital Group Inc.

"Jim Brown has delivered a business fable that is as provocative as it is unconventional. Do you know the Secret Formula for Organizational Effectiveness? Are you making the wrong sacrifice? Does the board lead with its nose or its fingers? The Imperfect Board Member presents these concepts in a manner that is both illuminating and engaging."
Scott Green, author, Sarbanes-Oxley and the Board of Directors

"For too long, regulators and critics have presumed that tinkering with metrics like board size and director independence is the key to governance excellence. But it’s not enough. Good governance is the product of skillful board members working well together with a solid grasp on the corporate strategy. In The Imperfect Board Member, Jim Brown captures this reality artfully. Read this book and discover for yourself the disciplines of governance excellence."
Richard Leblanc, coauthor, Inside the Boardroom

"It’s hard to overestimate the difference between an excellent board, a mediocre board, and a failing and complacent board. But all three have this in common: each of their board members is imperfect. What makes the difference? A clear vision of what a board is for, and how a good board functions. Jim Brown’s new book is the best resource I know of to convey that vision. What The Five Dysfunctions of a Team does for staff members this book can do for boards—from charitable organizations to local churches to educational institutions to professional associations."
Brian McLaren, author, A New Kind of Christian and A Generous Orthodoxy

"Being a good board member is often hard, unrewarding work. How timely that Jim Brown, a real student of the director’s role, is sharing his best thinking. And how refreshing that he has embedded his wisdom in a compelling and entertaining story. You’ll enjoy and profit from The Imperfect Board Member."
John Beckett, author, Loving Monday, chairman, R.W. Beckett

"The Imperfect Board Member is packed with learning for board members and those who aspire to be board members."
Purdy Crawford, counsel, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP

"I’ve consulted with, served on, and even chaired boards in the profit and not-for-profit sectors for over twenty-five years. Most boards are well-intended, but confused at best, about their roles and responsibilities. I’m delighted to recommend The Imperfect Board Member to help board members and leaders to be confidently on-purpose."
Kevin W. McCarthy, author, The On-Purpose Person and The On-Purpose Business

"An engaging story that works for family relations as well as board relations! Jim Brown’s clear and concise ideas put ‘hands and feet’ to solid governance principles. Not only will boards work better but so will staff. This book is full of applied wisdom."
John Pellowe, CEO, Canadian Council of Christian Charities

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Customer Reviews

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michel Lecavalier on Oct. 16 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Imperfect Board Member, Jim Brown, Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, 2006

This book is helpful to anyone involved in the governance of a club, a not-for-profit association or a commercial enterprise. Using a unique urban fable style to convey his message, author and consultant Jim Brown describes the progress of everyman CEO David Slater as he struggles to work with his own company's board and a small not-for-profit community board.

As the fable evolves David and by now you, the captivated reader, are discovering and learning how to apply the seven disciplines of governance excellence which just happens to be the subtitle of the book.

The author's basic premise is that organizations have to be both smart and healthy, and they can best do that when members' personal interests are subordinated to the interests of the stakeholders they are there to serve. But is that not why we all serve on boards? Yet, as many of us are aware, that is not always the reality. Few boards can say that their members truly leave personal interests at the boardroom door and focus solely on the interests of the stakeholders.

However, in fairness to those of us currently serving on boards, has anyone ever taught us how to be a good board member? This is where Jim Brown's little book excels. I said "little" because I read the book cover to cover in three hours.

While discovering the seven disciplines of governance excellence the reader witnesses the profound and sometimes painful changes high powered CEO David undergoes as he works at the corporate and community board levels.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rob Black on Nov. 7 2006
Format: Hardcover
Recently reading the book "The Imperfect Board Member: Discovering the Seven Disciplines of Governance Excellence" by Jim Brown made me think back to past journeys in my life and to great times, good times and some not so good times as an Association/ organization CEO. Furthermore it encouraged me to do some additional reflection on my past and present activities. Finally it has encouraged me to think to the future and what still can be done and accomplished.

This book is a good read. It is an easy read. More importantly it is a worthwhile and a 'must' read.

Thanks Jim for putting the time in to this project to see it through to completion. Congratulations on a job well done! The results as presented in the book are bound to help many at the Board and staff levels of many organizations across the country and around the world.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robin Lane on Dec 5 2006
Format: Hardcover
So this is what a board of directors is meant to do?

A fast paced, yet insightful and gripping journey into the importance of correct thinking for any and all considering or involved in a board of goverance. This book contains the basic guidelines to approach and make a meaningful inpact on both corporate and volunteer board of directors.

Great work, great read!

Thanks for the author for making it so enjoyable and informative!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dean Adams on Oct. 16 2006
Format: Hardcover
A stranger to business I am not, and make no mistake, obviously neither is Jim Brown. This book nails so many points right on the head, that it would take too long to list! Good thing Brown put them in a book! A seemingly light read on the outset, yet slow down and learn folks. I wish everyone on a board, for profit or not for profit, a CEO or even those in senior management could read this. It so clearly defines boards, shareholders and managements roles in a non threatening way that as a third party fable view, you can't help but laugh and begin to peg characters of people that I'm sure you know in real life. The "Afterword" gives you so much free advice it's as good as a weekend seminar in itself, a suggested reading library, and a referral for testimonials. All that for $[...]! Why wouldn't a true student of life own this book? If your answer is anything other than buying this book in the next 60 seconds, then I guess the answer is obvious. (PS - no I don't work for Jim Brown)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul Hubert on Aug. 24 2006
Format: Hardcover
Boards are often endured, rarely enjoyed, and mostly untapped for their potential to ensure the success of organizations. Jim Brown unlocks the mystery of an effective Board of Directors in his fable. The clarity of his model and the practical application of the principles will assist any board of directors to increase their effectiveness and hence the performance of their organizations by reducing the confusion and frustration over the appropriate roles and responsibilities. It will assist Boards to realize their critical contribution and unleash CEO's and their teams to deliver the results. I will be giving a copy of The Imperfect Board Member to each member of my Board and to fellow directors on the Boards I sit on.

Paul Hubert, Pathways Skill Development, London, ON
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott C. Dingwell on Dec 6 2006
Format: Hardcover
The imperfect board member is too easy a read for the importance of the concepts it delivers. The book delivers a logical approach to governing that frees people to operated at their maximum because everyone has a clear unified vision of roles and responsibilities. If you are challenged by your time on a board or considering future board duties, read the book
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