The instant New York Times bestseller! * One of Behavioral Scientist’s Notable Books of 2021
“Emily Oster dives into the data on parenting issues, cuts through the clutter, and gives families the bottom line to help them make better decisions.” –Good Morning America
“A targeted mini-MBA program designed to help moms and dads establish best practices for day-to-day operations." -The Washington Post
From the bestselling author of Expecting Better and Cribsheet, the next step in data driven parenting from economist Emily Oster.
In The Family Firm, Brown professor of economics and mom of two Emily Oster offers a classic business school framework for data-driven parents to think more deliberately about the key issues of the elementary years: school, health, extracurricular activities, and more.
Unlike the hourly challenges of infant parenting, the big questions in this age come up less frequently. But we live with the consequences of our decisions for much longer. What's the right kind of school and at what age should a particular kid start? How do you encourage a healthy diet? Should kids play a sport and how seriously? How do you think smartly about encouraging children's independence? Along with these bigger questions, Oster investigates how to navigate the complexity of day-to-day family logistics.
Making these decisions is less about finding the specific answer and more about taking the right approach. Parents of this age are often still working in baby mode, which is to say, under stress and on the fly. That is a classic management problem, and Oster takes a page from her time as a business school professor at the University of Chicago to show us that thoughtful business process can help smooth out tough family decisions.
The Family Firm is a smart and winning guide to how to think clearly--and with less ambient stress--about the key decisions of the elementary school years.
Parenting is a full-time job. It's time we start treating it like one.
Emily Oster is a professor of economics at Brown University and the author of Expecting Better, Cribsheet, and The Family Firm. She writes the newsletter ParentData and her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg. She has two children.
“A targeted mini-MBA program designed to help moms and dads establish best practices for day-to-day operations . . . Because this is an Oster book, there’s data scattered everywhere—on the development of reading skills by age, on the concussion risks of playing soccer, on the benefits of dipping Brussels sprouts in sweetened cream cheese. It’s all presented in the breezy, skeptical style that’s made Oster’s work a must-read for parents who don’t have the time to investigate Finnish studies about integrating extracurriculars into the school day.” —The Washington Post
“Emily Oster dives into the data on parenting issues, cuts through the clutter, and gives families the bottom line to help them make better decisions. Her books on pregnancy and toddlers skyrocketed her to parenting-world fame, and now she’s back, crunching the numbers on topics that keep parents with school-age kids up at night.” —Good Morning America
“Oster is a self-described data nerd, a delightful contrarian who dared question the status quo, shush the shamers and tell parents what made sense.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Oster draws on her experience as a business school professor to suggest that economic reasoning—the art of making decision-making given constraints—can tell us a lot about how to make some of these hard decisions a little better. . . . Some careful, economics-inspired thinking can help reduce the anxiety, tension, and stress. . . . For that alone, The Family Firm is worth picking up.” —Charles Fain Lehman, The Washington Free Beacon
“With Oster's help, rather than fear this next stage of parenting, readers can embrace (and even enjoy) the challenge.” —Booklist
“Oster offers a plethora of rational guidance for parents of kids between pre-K and middle school in this eminently practical guide.” —Publishers Weekly
“A guide . . . to chart a child’s path with less stress and more optimization for healthy habits and future success.” —TIME
“Merging a business approach with her trademark empowering voice, Emily dispenses the stress-less advice you actually want.” —Audrey Goodson Kingo, Working Mother
“Oster's prose flows well (as usual) lightly sprinkled with the dry wit that suffuses her other books.” —Salon
“Adds simplicity and reassurance to many age-old parenting debates.” —Jennifer Ashton Ryan, Pasadena
Praise for Cribsheet and Expecting Better:
“A revelation for curious mothers-to-be.” —New York Times
“Emily Oster is the non-judgmental girlfriend holding our hand and guiding us through pregnancy and motherhood. She has done the work to get us the hard facts in a soft, understandable way.” —Amy Schumer
“Gives moms-to-be a big helping of peace of mind!” —Harvey Karp M.D., bestselling author of The Happiest Baby on the Block
“It took someone as smart as Emily Oster to make it all this simple. She cuts through the thicket of anxiety and received wisdom, and gives us the facts. Expecting Better is both enlightening and calming. It almost makes me want to get pregnant.” —Pamela Druckerman, New York Times bestselling author of Bringing Up Bébé and Bébé Day by Day
“Parenting can be fraught. Cribsheet aims to help parents do better.” —The Economist
“Both refreshing and useful.” —LA Times
“The book is jampacked with information, but it's also a delightful read because Oster is such a good writer.” —NPR
“A huge relief . . . freeing.” —The Washington Post
“In my household, [Emily Oster] is the all-knowing Aunt we have never met. Parenting would be a lot more stressful without these books.” —Adam Ozimek, Forbes