The Founder’s Mentality by Chris Zook & James Allen

This marks my first non-fiction read on Reading Minds, so that’s pretty cool!  It’s also the book my new company had all of the senior leadership read this year.  Also very cool.  So what’s this book about?

Basically this: Business growth creates complexity and complexity kills business growth.  The authors studied a bunch of companies across various categories to find what exactly kills the growth and how an organization can recognize this pitfalls and correct them prior to them occurring.  They go even a step further to offer ways to dig yourself out of any of the three major catalysts they identified if you’ve already started your trip back to the bottom.

Have no fear friends, just because the genre is different, I still will be sassy and identify some loves and didn’t loves.

Didn’t loves:

  • It’s a touch repetitive.  I get the whole “tell ’em what you’ll tell ’em, then tell ’em, the remind ’em what you told ’em” idea we all learned in our English classes growing up.  But it was a little beating you over the head with it by the end.
  • They had great graphs of data, but I don’t think they did a great job of integrating that data in to the case studies they offered.  It was more a vague outline of what’s in the graphs and then offering a real life company that met the current pitfall and/or success story they were currently covering.


  • The case studies are brilliant.  I felt they really did a great job of choosing companies that exemplified the technique Zook and Allen identified as being successful and put it in a “real life” context.  Even using companies that had been on the brink of ruin but that turned it around.  I thought this made the information relatable and actionable for the reader.
  • The length.  It’s a short read, but they cover everything thoroughly.  If it had been any longer, it would’ve been too long, so I appreciated they didn’t write more words just to bulk up the book.

Should you read it? It’s interesting to learn about some companies that almost died like Dell or to learn about the business world in general, but unless you’re making big decisions for a corporation, it’s probably not something you’ll need anytime soon.

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