She first made a splash in 1980 with the publication of The Official Preppy Handbook, a guide to the etiquette, dress codes and mannerisms of the "preppy" sub-culture.
She is the author or co-author of nine other books, including, as co-author, 1003 Great Things About Kids (1998), 1003 Great Things About Getting Older (1997), and Going to Work (1988). Her latest book, 1003 Great Things About Friends, will be published this year.
Birnbach has served as an editor or contributor to several magazines, including Parade, New York, Rolling Stone, Self, TV Guide, and Mademoiselle.
Her work for television has included writing for programs such as Retaining Laughter, a cable TV series starring Jane Curtin and Martin Mull. She was a producer of the 1993 'People' 25th Anniversary Special.
Birnbach lives in New York with her husband and three children.