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Julie Lythcott-Haims    

Former Dean at Stanford University & Bestselling Author of "How to Raise an Adult"

Julie Lythcott-Haims is the author of the New York Times best-selling book How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (2015) and Real American: A Memoir (2017). She is deeply interested in what prevents people from living meaningful, fulfilling lives. How to Raise an Adult emerged from Julie’s decade as Stanford University’s Dean of Freshmen, where she was known for her fierce advocacy for young adults and her fierce critique of the growing trend of parental involvement in the day-to-day lives of college students. She received the university’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for creating “the” atmosphere that defines the undergraduate experience, and toward the end of her tenure as dean she began speaking and writing widely on the harm of helicopter parenting.

How to Raise an Adult has been published in over two dozen countries and gave rise to a TED talk that became one of the top TED Talks of 2016 with over three million views, and counting, as well as a sequel which will be out in 2020. In a different vein, the memoir Real American details Julie’s personal battle with the low self-esteem that American racism routinely inflicts on people of color.

The child of an African-American father and a white British mother, Julie shows how microaggressions in addition to blunt-force insults can puncture a person’s inner life with a thousand sharp cuts. Real American expresses also, through Julie’s path to self-acceptance, the healing power of community in overcoming the hurtful isolation of being incessantly considered “the other.” Julie Lythcott-Haims received her bachelors degree at Stanford University, her law degree at Harvard Law School, and her MFA in writing from the California College of the Arts. She lives in Silicon Valley with her partner of thirty years, their two teenagers, and her mother. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Speech Topics


Real American

People say Julie Lythcott-Haims is a “secular preacher” because her oratory opens hearts and inspires action.

She can:

  • Give a stirring keynote speech: "How I learned to Love My Black and Biracial Self in a Country where Black Lives Weren’t Meant to Matter,” followed by Q&A
  • Deliver a 30-40 minute oration, performing selections from her prose poetry memoir and rendering the problem of whiteness and the treatment of Black boys and men with the anguish of a Black mother
  • Be in conversation with someone from your community on race, identity, and the issues we face in our country today, including a short reading from her memoir, followed by Q&A

How to Raise an Adult

Based on her New York Times bestselling book by the same name, in this talk Julie draws on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims inspires audiences to examine their behaviors and join the growing movement to allow children to develop the resourcefulness, resilience, and inner determination necessary for success.

Throw Out the Checklisted Childhood

The prime audience for this talk is teenagers and young adults living in environments where grades and scores and other external measures of achievement appear to be the primary measure of a human’s worth. Julie takes her audience through an alternative set of goals – be kind; try hard; learn to think and do for yourself; have a wider mindset about colleges; and study what you love – that lead to true success.

Want To Make A Difference? Become Your Self

Julie began her career as a litigator in Silicon Valley. She then became a Stanford dean, and now she’s a writer. From her own life trajectory and from working with tens of thousands of our nations best and brightest young adults, Julie has a clear sense of how we become the humans we want to be, and of what gets in our way. Julie’s style of storytelling moves people. They feel she “gets” them. They laugh, they contemplate, and sometimes they even get emotional. After the talk they're motivated to invest in their own growth and development.

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