Alkon grew up in Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. She identifies as a weak atheist. Alkon was born to a Jewish family Alkon credits her isolation as the catalyst that cultivated her early fondness for reading.
At some point, Alkon moved to New York City, where she dispensed advice on a street corner in SoHo as one of three women who called themselves "The Advice Ladies." This was not an occupation, merely a hobby, and their setup was minimal, using only folding chairs and a handmade sign advertising "Free Advice from a Panel of Experts". She co-authored a book, Free Advice - The Advice Ladies on Love, Dating, Sex, and Relationships with her fellow "Advice Ladies," Caroline Johnson and Marlowe Minnick. Her next book, a solo project entitled I See Rude People: One Woman’s Battle to Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society, was released in November, 2009, and was published by McGraw Hill.
Before billing herself as the "advice goddess," Alkon wrote Ask Amy Alkon, an advice column published solely in the New York Daily News.
In 2004, the Biography Channel featured Alkon in a series of one-minute shorts called "The Advice Minute With Amy Alkon." There were 11 in total and during these segments, which ran between the Biography Channel's regular programs, Alkon dispensed advice on the streets of New York, just as she had done with her cohorts years earlier.
In 2011, Alkon was threatened with a defamation suit with damages of half a million US dollars by a TSA agent who Alkon alleges forced the side of her gloved hand into Alkon's vagina four times through her underwear. The agent, Thedala Magee, claimed that describing such an act as 'rape' constituted defamation, and that Alkon had described her as a 'bad person' for behaving in such a manner. She was defended by First Amendment attorney, Marc Randazza. "No free woman should endure what your client did to Ms. Alkon," Randazza wrote in a letter defending Alkon. "Fortunately, Ms. Alkon is capable of recognizing injustice, and for the good of us all, she had the courage to speak out on this matter of public concern of the highest order. After Magee's assault on Ms. Alkon's vagina and dignity, Ms. Alkon exercised her First Amendment right to recount this incident to others in person and through her blog. This was not only her right -- it was her responsibility."
In a second incident, in November 2012, Alkon complained that a TSA agent "ran her hands, most disgustingly, all over my body, grazing my labia and touching my breasts and inside my turtleneck on my bare skin." She protested that it was unnecessary to search her at all, since she had been in New York City for the National Book Awards and had had lunch with her agent.
In her daily life, and in her blog, Alkon has a number of campaigns. In her article, "Hello, Psycho" (entitled after the opening salutation of one of her respondents), she describes her anti-SUV campaign, which consists of placing small cards on the windshields of SUVs. The cards (which are her own composition) refer to the driver as a "Road-Hogging, Gas-Guzzling, Air-Fouling Vulgarian" and pointedly suggest that the driver is compensating for "an extremely small penis" by driving "such a monstrosity."
Other issues she has written/spoken of are unruly children, the behaviour of which she attributes to bad parenting, inconsiderate cellphone users, and copyright violators. She always carries four days' supply of salami with her, in case someone serves her some pasta, which she does not eat.