Lisa Birnbach

Cultural Commentator and Author of The Official Preppy Handbook and True Prep

  • About Lisa Birnbach

    Lisa Birnbach has been an influential social and cultural observer since the publication of her first book, The Official Preppy Handbook. In her twenty or so books, numerous magazine articles, and her career as a television and radio personality, she is called upon to comment on the zeitgeist of the moment. She is celebrated for her keen eye, sharp wit, and sense of humor.

    From the unspoken lives of preppies, to what college students really care about, what it takes to be a successful employee at a Fortune 500 company, and personal manners in the digital age, Birnbach has interviewed thousands of people and digested and assessed the world in which we live.

    Birnbach’s talk, “My Life As A Woman” begins with funny time capsule stories of growing up in Manhattan in the 1960s while wearing a uniform, tie shoes, and curtseying as the rest of the world was shedding its rules. And it quickly talks about how her generation benefited from the women’s movement which had come of age by the time she arrived at college. Discussing women in corporate America, marriage and motherhood, Lisa takes us to Sex in the City, Oprah, and the Kardashians to Lean-In and beyond.

    All of this told with the warmth of someone who once described herself as looking like her “daughters’ older brother.” Lisa has survived terminal unpopularity, severe nearsightedness, divorce, and breast cancer. She’s like all of us but maybe a teensy bit funnier.

  • Speaking Topics

    My Life as a Woman

    This talk begins with funny time capsule stories of growing up in Manhattan in the 1960s while wearing a uniform, tie shoes, and curtseying as the rest of the world was shedding its rules. And it quickly talks about how Birnbach's generation benefited from the women’s movement which had come of age by the time she arrived at college. Discussing women in corporate America, marriage and motherhood, Lisa takes us to Sex in the City, Oprah, and the Kardashians to Lean-In and beyond.

    Eitquette for the 21st Century

    These are brutal times for the well-mannered. Nice people have to put up with loud cell phone users, people who don’t write thank you notes, or even respond to printed invitations with RSVP engraved on them. Like the canon of literature, common manners have gone underground. Is it suddenly okay to wear a hoodie to a business meeting? No, Mark it is not. Is it proper to send a condolence note on Facebook? In this lecture, Birnbach discusses the shifting sands of correct behavior in the digital era.

    Style as Communicator

    In this lecture, Birnbach discusses the "language of style." Once only conversant in preppy attire, she's branched out to try speaking “Cocktail dress," “Festive attire," “Black Tie” and “casual” in many places around the globe.

    Student Mother

    Unlike some mothers, who know absolutely the right way to do every thing, and know the right experts to trust, Birnbach considers herself a rank beginner. With three children of her own, she continues to do experiments on them. Some of have worked well; some not so much. In this lecture, Birnbach acts as the confessor; the audience as the confessional.

    The Preppy Macher*

    Birnbach has spent endless hours of her life instructing WASPs how to be "Waspier." From this restricted club to that Junior League, she's decoded the way of life of the Episcopal gentry in this country, and everyone is keen to hear the details. Some want in as outsiders, and the insiders want to see if she's got it right. Growing up Jewish and preppy in Manhattan was not only not an oxymoron. It was common, invisible. (*Birnbach never even learned the word “macher” until graduation from her Ivy League college and spent time with comedians.) Readers these days think it’s “fascinating” that a Jewess would write “that book.” Birnbach is happy to explain.

  • Video

  • Praise for Lisa Birnbach

    While our guests were treated to an array of diversions including a wonderful shopping boutique and an exquisite lunch, the highlight of the afternoon was clearly Ms. Birnbach's speech which was both funny and nostalgic.  Many of our guests have commented since the Luncheon how much they enjoyed her speech and were delighted with the opportunity to meet her.  We cannot thank her enough for her participation.

    Tom Gabriel, Greenwich United Way
  • Books by Lisa Birnbach

  • Media About Lisa Birnbach

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and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Lisa Birnbach travels from New York, NY