In the tradition of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, Christopher Cox’s The Deadline Effect is a wise and counterintuitive book that explores the power of deadlines as uniquely effective tools of motivation and empowerment.
Perfectionists and procrastinators alike agree—it’s natural to dread a deadline. Whether your goal is to complete a masterpiece or just check off an overwhelming to-do list, the ticking clock signals despair. Christopher Cox knows the panic of the looming deadline all too well—as a magazine editor, he has spent years overseeing writers and journalists who couldn’t meet a deadline to save their lives. After putting in a few too many late nights in the newsroom, he became determined to learn the secret of managing deadlines. He set off to observe nine different organizations as they approached a high-pressure deadline. Along the way, Cox made an ever greater discovery: these experts didn’t just meet their big deadlines—they became more focused, productive, and creative in the process.
In The Deadline Effect, Cox shares the strategies these teams used to guarantee success while staying on schedule: a restaurant opening for the first time, a ski resort covering an entire mountain in snow, a farm growing enough lilies in time for Easter, and more. Cox explains how readers can understand the psychological underpinnings of expectations and time, the dynamics of teams and customers, and techniques for using deadlines to make better, more assured decisions.
About the Author
Christopher Cox has written about politics, business, books, and science for The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Harper’s, Wired, and Slate. In 2020, he was named a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. He was formerly the chief editor of Harper’s Magazine and executive editor of GQ, where he worked on stories that won the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN Literary Award for Journalism, and multiple National Magazine Awards. Cox was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and went to college at Harvard University and graduate school at the University of Cambridge. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Georgia, and their two daughters, Carson and Alice.
"The Deadline Effect is filled with case studies that are smart, fun to read, and filled with drama. And most important, there are real lessons here: about how to work more creatively and efficiently, and how the ticking clock of a deadline often pushes us to do our best work." —Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power Of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
"Christopher Cox is highly lucid and a quick learner, who also happens to be skilled at explaining big ideas through stories. The examples are wildly various and creative, and each features high stakes: will the Easter lilies be ready to ship on time? Will the new restaurant open on schedule? Will the box store be prepared for the crush of Black Friday? A wry and literate how-to, a counterphobic look at the deadlines we fear yet couldn’t live without." —Ted Conover, Professor and Director, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of NYU
"In the eternal battle between human beings and the clock, Christopher Cox’s The Deadline Effect offers a compulsively readable truce. In these seven vivid profiles of organizations under extreme stress, The Deadline Effect addresses a common conundrum with unusual insight. They say if you want something done, give it to the busiest person in the office but if you want to know how it gets done, give it to Christopher Cox." —Sloane Crosley, author of Look Alive Out There