alvin and heidi toffler
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Alvin and Heidi Toffler

BIOGRAPHY OF ALVIN AND HEIDI TOFFLER

THE PARTNERSHIP

Born in New York - he is 1928, she in 1929 - the Tofflers met at New York University where he was an English major and she was starting a graduate course in linguistics. But as radical students at the time, they decided against further graduate work, moved to the Midwest, married and spent the next five years as blue-collar workers on assembly lines while studying industrial mass production up close. Heidi became a union shop steward in her aluminum foundry. Alvin became a millwright and welder.

Their shop-floor experience led Alvin to a stint on a union-backed newspaper, a transfer to its Washington bureau, then three years as a correspondent covering Congress and the White House for a Pennsylvania daily, while Heidi worked at a specialized library devoted to business and behavioral science.

They returned to New York when Fortune invited Alvin to become its labor columnist, soon switching him to writing about business and management.

On leaving Fortune, Alvin Toffler was engaged by IBM to write a paper about the social and organizational impact of computers, leading to his contact with the earliest computer "gurus" and artificial intelligencers. Xerox asked him to write about its research laboratory and AT&T asked him for strategic advice. This led to a study of telecommunications that told its top management that the company would have to break up -more than a decade before the government forced it to do so.

In the mid-60s the Tofflers began work on what would become Future Shock and would lead to their subsequent career as authors and lecturers.

In 1996, with Tom Johnson, one of America's top business consultants, they co-founded Toffler Associates, an advisory firm designed to implement many of the ideas about which the Tofflers have written. The firm has worked with businesses, NGOs and governments in the U.S., South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore, Australia and other countries.

The Tofflers also write a monthly column that appears in many of the world's most important newspapers.