Lisa Birnbach

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Lisa Regine Birnbach
Born1957/1958 (age 60–61)[1]
NationalityUnited States
EducationB.A. Brown University
Spouse(s)Steven Haft (divorced)
Parent(s)Naomi Salit Birnbach
Maks Birnbach
RelativesNorman Salit (grandfather)

Lisa R. Birnbach is an author best known for co-authoring The Official Preppy Handbook, which spent 38 weeks at number one on the New York Times bestseller list in 1980.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Birnbach was born to a Jewish family[4] on the Upper East Side of New York,[5] the daughter of Naomi (née Salit) and Maks Birnbach.[6] Her father immigrated from Germany to Israel prior to World War II where he was a member of the Irgun and then later immigrated to the United States[7] where he worked as a diamond importer; her mother worked for the Jewish Museum.[6] Her maternal grandfather, Norman Salit, was a rabbi and served as president of the Synagogue Council of America.[6] She attended the Birch Wathen Lenox School from 1962 to 1971 and the Riverdale Country School (class of 1974).[5][6] She went on to study at Barnard College for freshman year, before transferring to Brown University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Semiotics in 1978.[5]


After graduation, Birnbach toured Europe and worked for an advertising agency. From April 1979, Birnbach worked as a staff writer at The Village Voice, where she co-wrote the Scenes column. Since The Official Preppy Handbook Lisa has written an additional 15 books, for newspapers such as the New York Times, and for magazines such as Glamour, Parade, Rolling Stone, and TV Guide. She was the deputy editor of Spy magazine.[3][8]

Birnbach worked as a technical consultant on the movie Dead Poets Society. She has co–hosted Good Night America and was a correspondent on The Early Show, hosting the segment, “Yikes! I'm a Grownup!” She is co–creator and co–host of ABC's Zero Hour, co–writer of the off–Broadway revue, Loose Lips, and until 2007, she hosted the comedy radio program, The Lisa Birnbach Show.[3]

In 2010, she wrote True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World with Chip Kidd.[9][10] She appeared on the Colbert Report on 13 September 2010.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Birnbach resides in Manhattan.[1] She was married to film producer Steven Haft[6][12] known for the production of Jakob the Liar and Dead Poets Society. They have three children and have since divorced.[1]

Trump Sexual Assault Allegations[edit]

In June 2019, Birnbach stated that her friend, E. Jean Carroll, had recounted to her in 1996 that Carroll had been sexually assaulted by Donald J. Trump.[13]


  • Birnbach, Lisa, ed. (1980). The official preppy handbook. New York: Workman.
  • Lisa Birnbach’s College Book (1984)
  • Going to Work (1988)
  • Loose Lips (1995)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Getting Older (1999)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Teachers (2000)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Friends (2000)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Kids (2000)
  • Barbie Live (2000)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Moms (2002)
  • 1,003 Great Things About America (2002)
  • 1,003 Great Things to Smile About (2004)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Being a Woman (2005)
  • 1,003 Great Things About Being Jewish (2006)
  • 40% Off is the New Black: Reasons Why Less is More (2009)
  • True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World (2011)
  • Birnbach, Lisa (12 May 2014). "Early bird". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. 90 (12): 36.


  1. ^ a b c Minzsheimer, Bob (2 September 2010). "Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd". USA Today. Birnbach, 52, editor and co-author...
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (30 August 2010). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Preppily Perplexed? A New Guidebook". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c "Lisa Birnbach". Random House Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  4. ^ Diamond, Jason (5 October 2010). "Jewcy Interviews: Lisa Birnbach, Author of "True Prep"". Jewcy.
  5. ^ a b c Lehrer, Linda J. (April 1981). "The World According to Prep". Brown Alumni Monthly. pp. 36–41. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Lisa Birnbach, Author to Marry in September". The New York Times. 19 July 1987.
  7. ^ Bernstein, Fred A. (9 February 2011). The Jewish Mothers' Hall of Fame. Doubleday; 1st edition. ASIN B004JN1CRE.
  8. ^ "Lisa Birnbach bio". Huffington Post.
  9. ^ Birnbach, Lisa; Chip Kidd (2010). True prep: it's a whole new old world. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0375712011.
  10. ^ Rich, Motoko (4 April 2010). "Rejoice, Muffy and Biff: The Preppy Primer Is Getting an Update". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Stephen Colbert (Cast Member) (25 April 2013). "Lisa Birnbach". The Colbert Report. Episode 6114. Comedy Central. 30 Minutes minutes in. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  12. ^ Knutsen, Elise (29 November 2011). "Preppy Handbook Author Sells Upper Crust UES Spread". New York Observer.
  13. ^ Bennett, Jessica; Twohey, Megan; Alter, Alexandra (27 June 2019). "Why E. Jean Carroll, 'the Anti-Victim,' Spoke Up About Trump". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 June 2019.

External links[edit]