Best of Both Worlds podcast: Decision-making with Emily Oster

Raising kids involves a lot of decisions. While this is true for the baby years, it can be even trickier as kids get older, because they are so different. A theoretically great school might not be a good match for your kid. Qualifying for a prestigious sports team or arts group might be an honor, but also might not fit with other components of the family schedule. And how much screen time should kids get anyway?

Emily Oster is the author of several books on data and childrearing, including Expecting Better and Crib Sheet. Sarah and I were delighted to welcome her back to Best of Both Worlds to talk about her new book (out next week!) called The Family Firm. In this book, she talks about a framework for making decisions that are best for your family.

For anyone who’s been through an MBA program, some of the language will sound similar! We look at how we’re framing the question. We look at alternatives. We look at data. We think through values, and we make sure to revisit decisions a little while later. There may be no best answer for everyone, but there often is a way to make sure most people are relatively happy.

Emily has become known to a much bigger audience this year through her work on Covid and the data surrounding the pandemic and kids. She and Sarah talk a lot about that as well, so please give this fascinating interview a listen!

5 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Decision-making with Emily Oster

  1. I love Emily Oster so am glad she was on the podcast again! And yay for Sarah’s love of the week – math! That was my major in college. Emily’s work highlights the practical ways to use math, especially when it comes to weighing risks objectively. I pre-ordered Emily’s book and can’t wait to read it.

  2. I love Emily Oster’s work. I recommend her books and newsletter to anyone who with listen to me. Her calm, evidence-based approach always feels spot on. Plus when I talk to my son-of-an-economist, Lawyer, MBA husband about some kid related issue all I have to say to get him on board is “Emily says…” It probably helps that E. Oster’s mother was one of hubby’s professors in business school.

  3. Laura, I love your work and have benefited greatly from your time management advice. I purchased Emily’s book after hearing you speak about her on a prior episode and am loving it so far. I had a question- in the intro to this episode, you and Sarah talk about the interview containing content on screen time, but I didn’t hear that in the interview. Did I miss (or misunderstand) something? Thank you for all you do!

    1. @Dawn – sorry about that! We recorded the intro/outro and interview at separate times and I probably had something else in mind. She does talk about screen time some in the book…

      1. No worries at all. I am always interested in perspectives and data around kid screen time and loved hearing you and Sarah share in the intro.
        Thank you so much for your podcast (one of my favorites!) and for including fascinating guests whose work I would likely never know about if it weren’t for you.

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