Don Peppers was the oldest of five children raised in a small town in Missouri, and he's always had eclectic interests. He earned a degree in astronautical engineering at the US Air Force Academy and then received a masters in public affairs from Princeton, with a concentration in foreign policy. But he has never worked a day in either of these fields. After serving in the Air Force his first civilian job was as an economist at an oil company, and then he became director of accounting at a regional airline. At the airline he gravitated into the marketing field, and eventually went to work at a series of advertising agencies, where he gained a reputation as a successful "rainmaker," concentrating on winning new clients. He wrote about some of his successful (and unsuccessful) pitches in his book Life's a Pitch: Then You Buy. His collaboration with Martha Rogers, a former advertising professor, began in 1990, and their first book together, The One to One Future, was published 3 years later. Since then they have co-authored eight more books together, the most recent being Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage.
Don and Martha founded a management consulting firm, Peppers & Rogers Group, which now has consultants and offices on five continents and specializes in helping companies improve their customer-facing processes, from sales and marketing issues to customer service, communications, social media, and employee culture. They like to say their mission is "to make the world safe for customers."