The “Official” Jeff Cox Bio
JEFF COX has been called “a master of conveying business concepts through an interesting story.” He is the creative writer of eight business books, all fiction, that have sold in the millions of copies worldwide. He has mainly worked in collaboration with business executives and leading consultants. He has been an independent writer and author since 1981.
And the Short Story of My Life
Writing has been my day job all of my career. I began writing professionally at Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove Public Relations (now Ketchum Public Relations) in 1974 as an assistant account executive and within six years, when I was still in my twenties, I was a vice president.
Ketchum was a fantastic learning experience. In my seven years there, I got to do all kinds of things at a young age, and I took full advantage of it. I wrote scripts, produced films and videos, managed publicity events, wrote speeches for executives of big corporations; and of course I worked on all the more mundane items of PR: press releases, brochures, newsletters, that kind of thing. Ketchum in those days was very much a sink-or-swim environment. I quickly became a swimmer and they kept promoting me and giving me more money.
The only problem was that working at a PR agency was not my life’s dream. I really wanted to be a novelist — or at least take a shot at it. So in the spring of 1981, having saved enough to last me not quite a year, I resigned from Ketchum, took my writing table (same one as in the photo) and my typewriter, and moved in with a friend who rented a spare bedroom to me for cheap. My intent was to write a fantasy-adventure novel along the lines of Robert Howard’s Conan the Barbarian series — and finish it before my checking account balance went to zero.
But my clients would not let me escape so easily. The phone began to ring, and I began accepting freelance work. Even Ketchum was handing me freelance assignments. Suddenly I was making more money than I ever had, but the novel I wanted to write had to be set aside. And thus my career path took on aspects of Odysseus voyaging home after the Trojan War.
In 1982, while doing a freelance project, I encountered an Israeli physicist turned business entrepreneur named Eli Goldratt. The project was to take Eli’s concepts and distill them into a short, easy to read summary. A copy was shown to Eli, and he was impressed. In 1983, we began working on a book that ultimately would be called The Goal. What was especially unusual about The Goal was that I wrote it as a novel, rather than a conventional business text. And even though it was fiction with characters, a plot, and all the other atributes of a novel, The Goal was accurate with respect to the business concepts depicted.
The Goal was hugely successful, with millions of copies sold (prior to his death, Goldratt had claimed 10 million copies worldwide). That was followed by Zapp, an imaginative story told in a spare simple style, that I wrote for William Byham, a founder and president of HR training leader DDI. Zapp too was a big hit, selling in the millions worldwide. And so my career as an author of creative business books came to be.
But the years passed. The sort of novel I had so very much wanted to write never got written. Until now. It’s an action, sci-fi thiller titled ETERNAVIX, and I’ve published it under the pen name of Alex Kaine. Take a look if you’re so inclined …