HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Madeline Levine

Psychologist and Expert in Child, Adolescent, and Parenting Issues


  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
  • Challenging a Broken Paradigm: Helping Parents Encourage Real Success for Their Children
  • Moving Forward: Helping Parents Prepare Their Children for Success in the 21st Century
  • A Return to the Basics: Child Development and Common Sense
  • Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success
  • Ready or Not: Preparing Our Kids to Thrive in an Uncertain and Rapidly Changing World



Madeline Levine, M.A., Ph.D. is a psychologist with over 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, and educator. Her book The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids explores the reasons why teenagers from affluent families are experiencing epidemic rates of emotional problems. Backed by cutting edge research, Levine proposes solutions that are both practical and credible. Levine's book, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success (Harper), is a toolbox for parents, providing information, relevant research, and a series of exercises to help parents clarify a definition of success that is in line with their own values as well as their children's interests and abilities. Her most recent book Ready or Not: Effective Parenting in an Uncertain World (Harper) focuses on the skill set that kids will need going forward given an uncertain world, rapidly advancing technology and artificial intelligence and the high levels of anxiety that accompany such accelerated, unpredictable change. A popular speaker at schools and corporations across the country, Levine sheds light on our sometimes detrimental definitions of success when it comes to today's children.

Levine graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of New York at Buffalo, where she received both a B.A. in English and a Masters degree in Education. She then attended Columbia University School of Social Work. Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology were received from the California School of Professional Psychology in Berkeley, California.

Levine began her career as an elementary and junior high school teacher in the South Bronx of New York before moving to California and earning her degrees in psychology. She had a large clinical practice with an emphasis on child and adolescent problems and parenting issues. She has taught child development classes to graduate students at the University of California Medical Center/ San Francisco. For many years, Dr. Levine has been a consultant to various Bay Area schools, from pre-school through high school, as well as to schools, both public and private, throughout the country. Levine is the co-founder of the Challenge Success project at the Stanford University School of Education that was created with a mission to inform, inspire, and equip youth, parents and schools to adopt practices that expand options for youth success.

Her two previous books, Viewing Violence and See No Evil both received critical acclaim. Viewing Violence was awarded a Silver Honor by Parent's Choice, the only non-profit consumer's guide to media for, and about, children. It has been used in undergraduate college courses in a number of universities including Harvard.

Levine has appeared on many television and radio programs including, The Early Show, Dan Rather's CBS Evening News, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, BBC, and NPR. She has also been both a guest speaker and a keynote speaker at prestigious universities including Stanford University, University of California at Los Angeles, and Emory University. She is sought after as both a consultant and a speaker on issues related to adolescence and parenting.

Levine lives in Kentfield, California with her husband of 30 years. She is the proud mother of three sons.


Photo by Michael Schwartz

Praise for Madeline Levine:

"Madeline Levine is a fabulous presenter – entertaining, personable, a wealth of knowledge including leading research and anecdotes to make her point, and a straight shooter.  She can deliver a hard message in a way that can be received."
-- Margaret Morse, The Hockaday School

"Madeline Levine was an engaging speaker with an inspiring message. Students, parents, and teachers were all talking after she was here about how much they had learned and how much she had made them think deeply about success and parenting. We were very glad to have sponsored her visit."
-- Mary Riser, Head of School, James River Day School

"Our staff raved about her presentation. Many informed me it was the best opening day in the last 21 years."
-- Janet Stutz, Consolidated School District 181

"Working with Madeline was amazing! She is so down to earth, practical, and enlightening! I could listen to her every day..and learn something new each time! I have had many parent messages affirming their experience of the presentation. I wouldn't improve anything!
-- Selina McGuire, Loyola Academy

"Dr. Levine's presentation at Trinity School was stellar. Her views on child development resonated with parents and educators alike, and gave the audience substantive advice on raising happy and healthy children in the 21st Century."
-- Liz Ball, Trinity School

"Working with Madeline was fantastic. She was an outstanding speaker and the event was a huge success... Madeline was a fantastic speaker - she was able to connect with the audience on both an entertaining and personal level. Her message was well received and there is still a buzz in the community."
-- Ian Kennedy, Collingwood School

Praise for Ready or Not:

“When I wanted to understand what was going on with the students I had taught at Yale—dazed survivors of the achievement machine—I turned to the work of Madeline Levine. . . . Levine has been our leading voice against the culture of overparenting and status obsession. In Ready or Not, she once again brings her unique combination of wisdom, clinical experience, and profound compassion . . .  to bear on the daunting task of raising young adults in the twenty-first century.”
--William Deresiewicz, author of the New York Times bestseller Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life

“Informed by a lifetime of clinical practice, wide-ranging research, and a powerful moral sensibility, Madeline Levine’s latest book paints a compelling picture of the challenges parents and educators face in an uncertain world. But her greatest contribution is her wise and compassionate advice for all of us committed to helping kids thrive in the 21st century. Ready or Not is one of the most important books I’ve read in a very long time.”
--Tony Wagner, bestselling author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators

"[Levine] imparts a strong and convincing message: Parents must let their children develop their independence in order to greet their futures with confidence and the skills necessary to survive. Rock-solid advice for harried parents in a world that shows no signs of slowing down.
--Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Teach Your Children Well:

"Levine really comes into her own . . . when she moves beyond child development to concentrate instead on parent development, exploring why we do the misguided things we do, and asking how we must (as we must) change ourselves and behave differently."
-- Judith Warner, New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)

"A fantastic, on-point, desperately needed book! If you have children or care about children or care about the future of this country and the world, read this book."
-- Dr. Ned Hallowell, author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness

"A modern guide for the perplexed! First Levine captures a culture which puts competition and social status ahead of character. Then, with a gentle, firm remarkably clear head, she tells parents precisely what to do to bring good sense and respect for children back to parenting."
-- Wendy Mogel, PhD, author of The Blessing of a B Minus and The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

"Madeline Levine's voice is a welcome antidote to the Tiger-Momming of America. But Teach Your Children Well is much more than a diagnosis of how we've gone astray. It is packed with smart and savvy advice for raising independent, productive, and well-adjusted young people. Read this book -- your kids will thank you."
-- Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"With keen insight and telling examples, Levine offers suggestions for adopting a more balanced idea of success that requires changing deeply ingrained habits but is well worth the effort."
-- David Elkind, PhD, author of The Hurried Child

"For the sake of the adults of tomorrow, I hope that Teach Your Children Well becomes a must-read and must-discuss book for parents today."
-- Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD, MS Ed, author of Letting Go with Love and Confidence and Building Resilience in Children and Teens

"An excellent new book."
-- Forbes

"Here's one potentially bright and shiny opportunity for optimism (at least if you take her advice) thanks to one busy and one hope's wise clinical psychologist. . . . Her insights are fresh . . . look no further for your Beach Book, here it is!"
-- Psychology Today

Praise for The Price of Privilege:

"Levine's fresh and important ideas about parenting in the age of affluence will help parents teach their children what they most need to learn-how to manage their emotions and impulses, form healthy relationships, think for themselves and become useful, well-adjusted and moral people."
-- Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia

"With up-to-date scientific research, compelling clinical cases, and a refined sense of empathy, Levine teaches us about the difficult challenges faced by affluent families and provides useful strategies for helping them towards more fulfilling lives."
-- Tim Kasser, Ph.D., author of The High Price of Materialism

"This remarkably thoughtful and readable book describes the possible deleterious impacts of material advantage on both children and families with much warmth, concern, and depth. The author offers many rich examples, beautifully illustrating how the complex tasks of parenting and child development may become compromised by parental intrusion, overprotection, and subtle dilutions of family life. Especially welcome is the author's rejection of stereotypes, moral judgments and and over-simplifying explanations."
-- Stuart Hauser, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

"The Price of Privilege is an engaging and thoughtful look at the challenges faced by contemporary affluent families. It focuses on the serious problems children are running into, and the ways in which we as parents impact both the behavior of our children and the likelihood of their completing a successful adolescence."
-- Lynn E. Ponton, M.D., author of The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do

"A timely and important book that exposes the worm in the apple of affluence. Levine does an amazing job of illuminating the havoc wreaked on children in a materialistic culture while extending kindness and compassion to privileged but struggling parents. With wisdom and insight, she proposes a path that will lead to greater authenticity and connection for everyone."
-- Jean Kilbourne, author of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

"An insightful and helpful book. . . . It should be on every parent's summer reading list."
-- San Francisco Chronicle Magazine

"Seminal. . . . All parents should consider this book a must-read, whether they're having problems with their children or not."
-- Washington Post

"She treats her subjects as well as her subject with compassion and understanding."
-- Chicago Tribune

"This book has resonated in affluent communities all over the country. [Levine is] clearly on to something."
-- Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"[Madeline Levine's] ideas may be uncomfortable for parents to read, but they're a wonderful wake-up call."
-- Bay Area Insider

"Levine's writing is...refelective and interesting. A constructive therapist, she offers practical guidelines and parenting strategies for those strugling with troubled teens. The advice is useful to any parent of any income level and includes ways to foster healthy autonomy, impulse control and sense of self."
-- Scientific American

"Writing with clarity and understanding of the culture of affluence and its pitfalls for parents, the author reminds readers of the universal needs of children, privileged or not, for connection and discipline from parents and defines the meaning of those terms.
-- Library Journal

"In this insightful book, Levine eschews the temptation to dismiss problems of privileged teens as overindulgence."
-- Book List