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  • Authoritative: White is a board member of an S&P 500 company, the director of one of America’s largest private companies, an experienced nonprofit director, and a distinguished academic leader.
  • Secret to success: This book argues that organizations excel when board members act as stewards rather than just overseers—it’s a complete guide for new board members and a great tool for board renewal.

Boards That Excel is a different kind of corporate governance book. Author B. Joseph White, a successful corporate executive, a veteran of many boards, and a distinguished academic, argues that boards enable organizations to excel only when directors go beyond their standard duties of oversight and monitoring management. Directors, he says, must set high aspirations, serve as stewards who know the organization in all its dimensions, and make decisions that create value for all stakeholders—owners, employees, customers, and society. The goal is not just achieving short-term success but ensuring that the company or nonprofit retains control of its destiny over the long term.

White provides a comprehensive guide to all the responsibilities of a board member, always informed by this wider perspective. He draws lessons from his own experiences serving on boards, as well as interviews with more than a dozen high-performance directors, including General Motors's board chair Tim Solso, Siebel Systems founder Tom Siebel, and legendary real-estate investor and Equity Residential chairman Sam Zell. Authoritative and disarmingly honest, this work is an inspiring call to board members to understand and fully embrace their critically important role.