Best Books for Aspiring Board Directors

Best Books for Aspiring Board Directors

Written by: Alicia Curtis
Alicia Curtis

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One of the questions I get asked often is my recommended reading list for aspiring or new board directors. Please note these recommendations are skewed very much for Not-For-Profit boards as that’s where my experience lies. I am also a big book nerd who loves reading about the processes, culture and people that make boards work effectively. A book to me is like an intimate chat with the author, listening to their knowledge and experience on a subject, and what better topic than boards to soak in the wisdom and experience of others!


Eyes Wide Open by Robyn Weatherley


This is a fantastic book and if you’re a new or aspiring board director, you should definitely check this one out now, go!

I interview the author, Robyn Weatherley in the Board Ignition course as she has written my number one recommendation for new and aspiring directors! I love Robyn’s book as it is jam packed with great information and advice. And it’s easy to read too!


Difference Makers BookDifference Makers by Dr Nicky Howe and Alicia Curtis


I have to plug my own book, right?

This is a great read on an emerging issue for ALL board directors – the beauty and brilliance of diversity in the boardroom. It shares the story of how the Engaging Young Leaders on Aged Care and Community Boards was started and also delves into the research to prove diversity is an advantage in the boardroom.


Not-For-Profit Board Dilemmas by Julie Garland McLellan


Julie is an Australian governance expert and her books are pure gold! Not-For-Profit Dilemmas gives you fantastic NFP case studies on regular issues that might be faced along with two expert opinions following each case study providing perspectives on what to do or should have been done.


101 Boardroom problems and how to solve them by Eli Mina


Oh, the boardroom can be an interesting place!

There is such a range of challenges that can plague the boardroom and Eli gives you a succinct and easy to read overview of all of them and some strategies to overcome them too. All great boards are striving to improve, this book gives an aspiring or new director an overview of the challenges that can and will occur on all boards so you can pinpoint and act appropriately.


Building Better Boards: A Blueprint for Effective Governance by David A. Nadler, Beverly Behan, Mark Nadler


I found this a really interesting and useful read about what makes top boards tick. The only caveat I would make is that it is a little dated now being written in 2005 and it’s also written for an American corporate context. That being said, I did find it easy to read and had many strategies that would be useful in the NFP context too.


Directors at Work: A Practical Guide for Boards by Geoffrey Kiel, Gavin Nicholson, Jennifer Ann Tunny and James Beck


This is a great reference book for board directors in Australia. It is a hefty book but this means it’s thorough. It includes the governance processes and procedures as well as the behavioural dynamics that support good governance. You definitely need at least one reference book like this in your collection. I highly recommend this be the one.


These are just a few…


Of course, there are many, many books on board governance, culture and the Not-For-Profit sector. Shout out too to a colleague, Paul Smith over in the eastern states of Australia on releasing his new book, Right Seat, Right Table too.

I would love to hear about the books you’ve come across in my Facebook group, Alyceum Leaders.

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