Emily Oster

Ali on the Run Show Episode 473: Emily Oster, Economist, Author, Professor, Runner

“Running has served many purposes over my whole life. But in this particular set of moments now — where so much of what I’m doing is not exactly about metrics, but about data and trying to achieve or accomplish something — I realized that trying to meet some particular bar or some standard with running was not the relationship I wanted to have with that activity. I want running to be something I do for me… It’s supposed to be fun.”

If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with Emily Oster. She’s an economist and professor of economics at Brown University, but among the child-rearing set, she’s best known as the author of Expecting Better, Cribsheet, and The Family Firm. And while the media loves to call Emily a “parenting expert,” Emily’s actual goal is to use a data-driven approach to help parents feel more relaxed about their decisions. And while Emily swears by research and numbers in most aspects of her life, there’s one area where she opts to ditch the data: on the run. Emily is a lifelong runner, and on this episode she talks about how she got into running, how she finds time to run as a busy mom of two, and how her relationship with running has evolved over the past few years.

SPONSOR: Shokz — Visit shokz.com/ontherun for 15% off wireless headphones.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How was Emily’s run today? (5:30)
  • How Emily became an author who tackles hot parenting topics from a data-driven perspective (9:15)
  • Why Emily wants to create a world with more relaxed pregnant women and parents (14:00)
  • Why Emily started diving into pandemic-related data in March 2020 (20:00)
  • On tackling tough topics, and having thick skin (23:30)
  • What are Emily’s work-life boundaries like these days? (28:00)
  • Emily’s approach to running (34:00)
  • How Emily got into running, and what her family and childhood were like (36:45)
  • Emily’s advice for aspiring early morning runners (49:00)
  • Emily’s advice for parents who are having a tough time right now, and advice for device-addicted runners (57:30)

Check out:

“Emily Oster: Through the Looking Glass,” via Tracksmith

Shake-N-Wake Vibrating Alarm

“Anxious? You are not alone.”

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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