Chris Zook is a Partner Emeritus. He co-led our global Strategy practice for 20 years. Throughout his more than 25 years at Bain, Chris specialized in helping companies find new sources of profitable growth.
A best-selling author, Chris published his fifth book, The Founder's Mentality (Harvard Business Review Press) in 2016. Based on a decade-long study of companies in more than 40 countries, The Founder's Mentality shows how leaders can overcome the predictable crises of growth and set their companies on a path of sustainable growth.
Chris has authored numerous additional books with Harvard Business Review Press, including Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change (2012), an argument for simple, great repeatable models to realize enduring, profitable growth. In 2010, he published Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times, an updated edition of his 2001 best-selling business book, Profit from the Core: Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence, which offers an approach to assessing and making the most of core business opportunities. Chris's sequel, Beyond the Core: Expand your Market without Abandoning your Roots (2004) examines how companies that have fully exploited their core businesses can systematically and successfully expand into related, or "adjacent" areas. Unstoppable: Finding Hidden Assets to Renew the Core and Fuel Profitable Growth (2007) completes the series and examines what to do when your growth formula of the past begins to approach its limits, demanding that your company change its strategic focus and redefine its core.
These “growth trilogy” books have received widespread critical support. Beyond the Core was recognized by The Economist as one of the top five business and economic books in the year it was published, and it was also voted one of the top 100 business books ever written. Unstoppable was identified by The Financial Times as one of the notable business books of the year. Based on his work on how companies grow, Chris was included by the Times of London in its biannual list of the 50 Most Influential Global Business Thinkers. He has written dozens of articles with Harvard Business Review Press and other business publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, Fortune, Forbes and BusinessWeek.
Chris has been a featured broadcast guest, including NPR, CNBC, Fox News and Bloomberg TV. He has been a keynote speaker at a wide range of international and business forums including the World Economic Forum, the World Knowledge Forum, the Forbes' CEO Conference, the BusinessWeek CEO Conference, the Economist Summit and Endeavour’s entrepreneur summits.
He received a bachelor of arts in mathematics and economics from Williams College, an M.Phil. in economics from Exeter College, Oxford University, and masters and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.
- “Founder´s Mentality and the paths to sustainable growth,” September 2018
- “The Engine 2 Imperative: New Business Innovation and Profitable Growth under Turbulence,” Brief, December 2020
- “Micro-battles Can Help Companies Overcome Growth Hurdles,” The Economic Times, February 2018, Article
- “Uber’s New CEO Will Have to Win on Two Fronts Simultaneously,” HBR.org, August 2017, Article
- “Retaining Founder’s Energy and Mentality Leads to Value Creation,” Business Day, June 2017, Article