Before joining the corporate ranks at the age of 36, he talked his way into a job as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker; peddled fake Italian leather goods to unsuspecting tourists, ran a rock-and- roll record company, started a service chauffeuring drunks home from bars; worked as a doorman at a five-star hotel; substitute-taught in Los Angeles’s worst schools; and winged it as a novice tour guide. During his career, he’s been ignored, lost, punched, flunked, fired, divorced, and arrested.
In the beginning, Cook lacked all of the customary credentials associated with being a CEO. He barely graduated from a mediocre college, never took a business course, had no corporate connections, didn't own a suit and rode a motorcycle. But along the way, he picked up skills-- in people-management, problem-solving, and most importantly, improvising-- that ultimately led to a surprisingly rewarding career.
Cook shares the wisdom he's accumulated through his unconventional life experiences and provides an eye-opening look at how he found success on his own terms. His story will provide readers with the inspiration and the resolution they need to strike out and forge their own paths rather than sticking to the same well-worn road. Cook argues that the ability to creatively improvise is a critical survival skill that will set young professionals apart from the pack and help them get ahead of the competition.
Working everyday with twenty somethings and speaking frequently on college campuses, Cook understands the pressure that demanding loans, worried parents and a tough economy place on those seeking fulfillment in the business world. He hopes his stories will encourage them to worry less and experience more.
In 2015, Cook was named the Director of the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He is also a professor in PR Studies, focusing on innovation and leadership.
Cook currently lives in Chicago with his wife, Cheryl who works at a competitive PR agency and his son, Noah, who plays tennis and loves aviation. He spends much of his time in Los Angeles, where his daughter, Emily works in casting for film and television. When he isn't working or writing, he likes to run. And has completed marathons in both cities.