The Imperfect Board Member: Discover the Seven Disciplines of Governance Excellence

The Imperfect Board Member book by Jim Brown with design feature behind

"Finally, a book about boards that isn't boring!"

— Patrick Lencioni, author of The Working Genius and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

In The Imperfect Board Member, author Jim Brown folds indispensable governance concepts into the journey of fictional CEO David Slater as he navigates governance challenges on two boards: the one in his own company and the other a non-profit. New and seasoned board members alike will find valuable insights in the Governance Excellence Model, the Secret Formula for Organizational Effectiveness, and more alongside Slater as he is guided by unexpected mentor Trevor McAllister to become... well, not the "perfect" board member, but an excellent one.

When Jim released The Imperfect Board Member in 2006, it instantly became a best-seller, and has remained in the top 20 governance books on Amazon ever since. Since then a lot has changed, such as STRIVE! splitting to become OrgHealth (Jim Brown and us!) and Strive Consulting (Ralph Kikkert), and the Blackberry 8700c going the way of the dinosaur. But we continue to experience the value of the concepts in boardrooms today, and we love when people reach out to say they continue to consider it their governance primer of choice. Here's to leaders everywhere who are willing to step into governance and learn to do it with excellence.

Real-Life Lessons

Readers will be pleasantly surprised by how engagingly the subject matter unfolds. Through Slater's experiences, we witness the challenges, mistakes, and growth that shape an effective board member—and can more easily find personal application.

Practical Resources

The book's back section summarizes key governance principles, including The Secret Formula for Organizational Effectiveness and the seven disciplines of the GEM (Governance Excellence Model). It's easy to pull your copy off the shelf and review before your next board meeting.

Accessible Formats

You can grab both the hardcover and Kindle edition at (or your bookseller of choice). We also released an audio version of The Imperfect Board Member, narrated by the author, which you can access on Apple Music or Spotify.

Available in hardcover, Kindle, and audio formats.


Praise for The Imperfect Board Member

"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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