Manzi received his B.A. in Classics from Colgate University in 1973, and later received his M.A. in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. In 1975, Manzi was a research assistant to William F. Buckley, and journeyed to the Soviet Union with the editorial staff of National Review.  Later, Manzi worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company where he worked extensively with Fortune 500 clients as well as offshore clients in Latin America, Europe and Asia. Jim has two sons, Jay and Jack, and one daughter, Julianna. She is his favorite daughter.
In 1982 Manzi went to Lotus Development as a consultant for McKinsey and became an employee three months later. In 1984, he became President and two years later Chairman and CEO succeeding founder Mitchell Kapor who had been concentrating exclusively on products like Jazz and Agenda for two years. Manzi's most notable contribution at Lotus was steering the company from desktop applications (e.g. Lotus 1-2-3 and Lotus Symphony) towards collaborative software, also known as groupware or workgroup computing software (e.g., Lotus Notes). In the spring of 1995 IBM launched a hostile bid for Lotus with a $60-per-share tender offer, when Lotus' stock was only trading at $32. Manzi looked for potential white knights, and forced IBM to increase its bid to $64.50 per share, for a $3.5 billion buyout of Lotus. On October 11, 1995 Manzi announced his resignation from the Lotus division of IBM.
Career after Lotus
On May 25, 2000, Manzi made an investment in Interwise and joined its board. He went on to become chairman of Interwise, a web- and voice-conferencing company which was sold to AT&T in 2007. In 2000, Manzi was also appointed to the board of directors of Thermo Electron Corporation, and became chairman of the board at Thermo Electron in December 2003, succeeding Richard Syron. Thermo Electron subsequently acquired Fisher Scientific in 2006. Manzi remains chairman of the combined Thermo Fisher Scientific, a $17 billion company serving the life sciences industry. He is involved in several other companies including Freshdirect, the leading online grocer where he is Chairman ; Skyword, Inc., a content marketing business in Boston where he also serves as chairman; Clover Food Labs, a farm-to-table fast food restaurant chain; and Cargometrics, a Boston-based hedge fund that uses proprietary "big data" about global cargo traffic.
In addition, Jim is also a Board member of Continental Grain, a multi-billion dollar private agribusiness company based in New York.
He is board member of Partners Healthcare and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Buckley, Priscilla. "Living It Up With National Review"
- Feb 1992 What Is It About Jim Manzi? by Rich Karlgaard, UPSIDE at the Wayback Machine
- How to Land a Media Job: Tips for Seniors - March 11, 2009, Glenda Manzi (Southern Methodist University ’70) Three-time Emmy-Award-Winning Producer of News and Documentary Programs for PBS Formerly, Principal and Executive Producer, Botticelli Interactive Lecturer on Media in the 21st Century for Tufts CMS Program, Communications & Media Studies, Tufts University
- Interwise: True Enterprise Conferencing:Interwise Investors[dead link]
- Jim Manzi - IT Channel - IT Channel News by CRN and VARBusiness:By Barbara Darrow (From the December 12, 2003 issue of CRN)
- Darrow, Barbara. 2003 Industry Hall of Fame: Jim Manzi. CRN, December 15, 2003
- Judge, Paul C. and Baker, Stephen. Were Jim Manzi's Big Ideas Too Big?. BusinessWeek, May 26, 1997
- Former Lotus Chief Manzi Heads Up Another Venture. TechWeb.com, December 09, 2003
- Jim Manzi's Article (The End of the Literary Industrial Complex)
- 2003 Industry Hall of Fame: Jim Manzi
- Were Jim Manzi's Big Ideas Too Big?
- Manzi Resigns At Lotus
- InterWise Appoints Former Lotus Chief, Jim Manzi, to Board of Directors
- One-stop site for blogs offered - The Boston Globe
- Willamette University - Jim Manzi
- Chief of I.B.M.'s Lotus Resigns 99 days After Takeover Deal (From the October 12, 1995 New York Times)