The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years

Emily Oster. Penguin Press, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-984881-75-5
Economics professor Oster (Cribsheet) offers a plethora of rational guidance for parents of kids between pre-K and middle school in this eminently practical guide. Logistics, she writes, are “the hallmark of this period of parenting,” and to that end, she applies organizational tools from the business world to family life. Offering charts, graphs, and hard data, Oster covers such topics as the right age to start kindergarten (she discusses “redshirting,” in which parents delay their start), public versus private school (consider feasibility above all), and nutrition (with a chart that estimates how different foods will impact a child’s body mass index). For big choices, her recommendations come down to her four F’s: “Frame the Question, Fact-Find, Final Decision, and Follow-Up.” While Oster’s methods aren’t for everyone—in one anecdote, she uses Google Calendar to schedule a meeting with her eight-year-old daughter about her school schedule, presenting “an agenda and draft schedule in advance”—those who persevere are likely to find the structure to be a useful framework. Business-minded parents willing to stick with the no-kidding-around approach will find this a handy resource for the preteen years. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/02/2021
Release date: 08/03/2021
Genre: Lifestyle
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