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Bain Book

Profit from the Core

A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times

By Chris Zook and James Allen

When Profit from the Core was published in 2001, it became an international best seller, helping hundreds of companies find their way back to profitable growth after the Internet bubble burst. The 2007 global financial meltdown reaffirmed the perils of pursuing heady growth through untested strategies, as firms in industries from finance to retailing to automobiles strayed too far from their core businesses and suffered the consequences.

In this updated edition, authors Chris Zook and James Allen show that a renewed focus on the core is more critical than ever. Only 11% of companies manage to grow profits and revenues by 5.5% or more over a 10-year period, and earn back their cost of capital. While current business wisdom calls for "new rules" for strategy and organization, Profit from the Core argues that most growth strategies fail to deliver value—or even destroy it—primarily because they wrongly diversify from the core business. The authors contend that this timeless strategic precept—building market power in a well-defined core—remains the key source of competitive advantage and the most viable platform for successful expansion.

"Profit from the Core provides original and actionable tools to attack the difficult issues around profitable growth."

Marco Tronchetti Provera, Chairman and CEO, Pirelli SpA

Based on a sweeping 10-year study and fresh in-depth case studies, the book outlines what today’s executives and managers need to do now to revitalize their core, identify the next wave of profitable growth and build on it successfully.

Profit from the Core is the back-to-basics strategy field guide no manager should be without.

About the Authors

Chris Zook

Chris Zook

Chris Zook is an advisory partner in Bain & Company's Boston office. As coleader of the firm’s Global Strategy practice for 20 years, Chris specialized in helping companies find new sources of profitable growth. He is the best-selling author of multiple business books, including The Founder’s Mentality, Repeatability, Beyond the Core and Unstoppable.

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James Allen

James Allen

James Allen is a senior partner in Bain & Company’s London office and coleader of the firm’s Global Strategy practice. For over 25 years, James has advised clients on the development of global growth strategies, emerging market entry strategies and turnaround strategies. He is the coauthor of The Founder’s Mentality and Repeatability.

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What Others Are Saying

Striking the right balance between focusing on your core business and expanding into new areas has never been more challenging. Zook and Allen provide extremely helpful tools, frameworks and case studies for navigating strategic choices in a turbulent business environment.

Debra Dunn, Former Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Operations, Hewlett-Packard


The authors make a compelling argument for sustainable, profitable growth. They bring a refreshing approach to corporate strategy, arguing that the job of CEO isn't to adopt the latest fad du jour from business gurus, but rather to focus on creating a winning business.

Mark Wössner, Former President and CEO, Bertelsmann AG


This back-to-basics book couldn't have come at a better time for CEOs and managers of 'old economy' and 'new economy' companies looking for growth.

Brook Byers, Venture Capitalist, Kleiner Perkins

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