Skip to main content
Chris Zook headshot
Chris Zook
Best-selling author of "The Founder's Mentality"; Advisory Partner at Bain & Company

Chris Zook is an author of books on leadership and business strategy as well as an advisory partner at the consulting firm Bain & Company.

Zook has spent most of his career as part of the Bain partner team growing Bain & Company from a startup to a global consulting leader. For over 20 years, he was head of the firm’s Global Strategy Practice. In his client work, management roles, speaking and writing, Zook has specialized in how companies find new sources of profitable growth and renew themselves internally to become more adaptive and entrepreneurial.

Zook is a best-selling author whose fifth book, "The Founder's Mentality," was published in June 2016. He is also the author of "Repeatability: Build Enduring Businesses for a World of Constant Change," published by Harvard Business Review (HBR) Press in 2012, which presents an argument for simple, great repeatable models to realize enduring, profitable growth. In 2010, Zook published "Profit from the Core: A Return to Growth in Turbulent Times" (HBR Press), 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. The book’s sequel, "Beyond the Core: Expand your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots" (Harvard Business Review Press, 2004), was voted one of the top 100 business books ever written. It 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" (Harvard Business Review Press, 2007) completes the series and examines what to do when your past growth formula begins to approach its limits, demanding that your company change its strategic focus and redefine its core.

These 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 2004. The Financial Times identified "Unstoppable" as one of the notable business books of the year. Based on his work, Zook was included by the Times of London in its biannual list of the "50 Most Influential Global Business Thinkers." He was also named “one of the most interesting strategic thinkers working today” by "The Financial Times Guide to Strategy."

Zook has written extensively in the business press, ranging from academic journals to columns in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fortune and Forbes. His Harvard Business Review credits include "How to find your next core business," "Open-market innovation" and "How to think strategically in a recession." He has also been a guest on TV and radio, including NPR, CNBC and Bloomberg Television.

He speaks about 100 times each year at a range of company management meetings, universities and business forums around the world. These include the Forbes Global CEO Conference, the Business Week CEO Conference, The Economist Summit, the Harvard Burning Issues Conference and the Harvard Distinguished Speaker Series. He has been a regular speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and has lectured at Harvard Business School.

Outside of his consulting role, Zook has served on Bain’s board of directors and its investment committee. He was also president of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands from 2013-2015 during 10 years that he lived in Europe.

Zook received a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and economics from Williams College,an M.Phil. in economics from Exeter College, Oxford University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.

 

He splits his time between Boston and Amsterdam and is presently starting work on a new book project.