When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Strauss Zelnick: Pray.

TG: What gives you energy?
SZ: Exercise.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
SZ: Trying to do the next right thing and taking responsibility for how it turns out.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
SZ: How to Win Friends and Influence People—I read it a few decades ago and it made a hugely positive impact on both my professional and personal life.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
SZ: My wife sleeps with me, luckily. My phone is banished to the closet.

TG: How do you deal with email?
SZ: I read and answer it the day it’s received, without fail. I have an empty inbox at the end of the day.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
SZ: Call someone I care about.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
SZ: Most weeks, by Friday, I need a few extra hours of sleep. But I never feel burned out.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
SZ: I fail often, sadly. What I try to do: acknowledge the error; take personal responsibility; try to make things right; apologize when I’m wrong; learn from my mistakes; then leave it behind and move on.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
SZ: “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” —Henry Ford

Strauss Zelnick is the founder of ZMC and the Chairman and CEO of Take-Two, one of the world’s largest interactive entertainment companies. Strauss has been married forever, has three children, and is passionate about fitness and athletics.


  • Educated at Wesleyan University, Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, Strauss Zelnick began his career at Columbia Pictures. A former president of Twentieth Century Fox and chief executive of BMG Entertainment, he today heads media investment group ZelnickMedia.