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The Fish Rots From The Head: The Crisis in our Boardrooms: Developing the Crucial Skills of the Competent Director Paperback – 9 Dec 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; Rev Upd edition (9 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683299
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"* 'An important contribution to the corporate governance debate and clear and intelligent advice on how to improve the performance of a board' - Tim Melville-Ross, former head of the Institute of Directors"

Book Description

3rd Edition

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
Is corporate governance in crisis? Look no further than the front page of your newspaper. You'll see a plethora of grubby stories concerning greedy CEOs, negligent boards, irate shareholders, downsized employees, cheated pension holders and ripped-off customers. Meanwhile, government regulators sharpen their claws and get ready to pounce. The public has become increasingly angry and cynical about corporate ethics, as the "perp walks" of pinstriped malefactors have become a nightly TV spectacle. Since it is directors who should ensure corporate accountability, transparency and probity - virtues sadly lacking in many boardrooms - directors are catching the heat. Bob Garratt insists that to clean things up, you must begin at the top. His insightful book details why boards have deteriorated and how they can improve. The title, a Chinese proverb, is an apt metaphor for the malodorous results of the governance mess. We recommend Garratt's informed exposé to corporate executives and board members who seek a thoughtful prescription for meaningful change.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bob's updated book should be compulsory reading for anyone appointed to a Board. Pubic or private this book sets the context and provides a framework for Board everywhere.
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By Liz Murphy on 1 Sep 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find the book most useful and catches up on Garratt's previous book Thin on Top which I also enjoyed reading
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Leitch VINE VOICE on 15 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
For some reason my expectations were quite high when I opened this book but I have to give it three stars only.

I was slightly irritated by the author's sense of superiority and self satisfaction, but that's not really a good reason for knocking stars off. The proper reasons were these:

1) A certain lack of intellectual rigour

For example, "For organizations to survive and grow, their rate of learning has to be equal to, or greater than, the rate of change in their environment. Revan's axiom - L >= C - is an essential of organizational ecology. It is easy to state, easy to agree with,..."

But, of course, it is not easy to agree to something that is, literally, nonsense. How are these measured? How can they be compared?

This is symptomatic of the logical slips that appear often in this book, weakening the arguments.

2) Its vision of how duties are divided between the board and management

One of the fundamental ideas in the book is the 'learning board', which sounded good at first, and yet the more I read the more worried I was by the details. In this book the board's role is to set policies about what the organization is for and, broadly, how resources are deployed. It is to look outward and forward in time. Management are to be much more inwardly focused, looking at implementation, and responding to deviations from plans. They are to develop systems that are effective for customers.

Actually getting to the bottom of what the author is saying was not easy and probably there are remarks in the book that contradict the impression I got and the summary in this review.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Must-Read for Corporate America 29 Sep 2002
By Ernesto del Rosario - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Bob Garratt's "The Fish Rots..." for me is a first-of-a-kind kind of book. While tons and tons of management books deluge us every day this particular book stands out by expertly handling a somewhat "uncharted" territory. A territory that ordinary mortals like the majority of us have not much inkling on...on what really transpires (or what SHOULD transpire)in those subduedly-lighted, eerily silent, wood-paneled top-floor suites of corporate HQ reserved for the Board, accessible only by a non-stop key-driven elevator. The book struck my interest deeply that it inspired me to recommend it to our Business Intelligence group to develop an information system on that will support The Learning Board's four directoral dilemmas as vividly treated in Mr. Garrat's book. All these years we spoke of and endlessly developed and maintained management information systems. I reckon that we should now look at developing a Board information system using BI, data warehousing, management science techniques, external monitoring systems and so on. With the crisis of confidence in Corporate America brought about by the boards of Enron, WorldCom, etc I believe such system will help "clean up" the mess and bring back the past glory days of American corporations. Kudos to Mr. Garratt for an excellent book !!!
A sensible prescription for fixing corporate boards 26 Jun 2007
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Is corporate governance in crisis? Look no further than the front page of your newspaper. You'll see a plethora of grubby stories concerning greedy CEOs, negligent boards, irate shareholders, downsized employees, cheated pension holders and ripped-off customers. Meanwhile, government regulators sharpen their claws and get ready to pounce. The public has become increasingly angry and cynical about corporate ethics, as the "perp walks" of pinstriped malefactors have become a nightly TV spectacle. Since it is directors who should ensure corporate accountability, transparency and probity - virtues sadly lacking in many boardrooms - directors are catching the heat. Bob Garratt insists that to clean things up, you must begin at the top. His insightful book details why boards have deteriorated and how they can improve. The title, a Chinese proverb, is an apt metaphor for the malodorous results of the governance mess. We recommend Garratt's informed exposé to corporate executives and board members who seek a thoughtful prescription for meaningful change.
A deeper insight 15 July 2014
By Norwegian Vagabond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book for deeper insight and understanding of the complex world every director, ceo, shareholder, executive and stakeholder has to deal with. Bob's view of the dynamics take you up to 50.000 feet, gives a great overview, and break things up for greater understanding. Recommended as a must read for directors.
Valuable insights 25 May 2013
By Alan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's book gives a valuable basis for looking at how boards function. Working inside government bureaucracy as I do, it helps point out the real weaknesses in public sector boards compared with private sector boards. There's a world of difference and Garratt's insight into private boards highlights the differences with the public sector. I found it a really useful read.
A must have for any company executive especially having company director aspirations 17 May 2013
By Leo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a company director of many companies for 20 years and been insising that all new company directors on my boards read this book for the last 15 years This is an update and keeps it as the best and most complete compendium of information about the role and responsibilities of company directors available today.
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