In 1972 Richard got Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating from Pace University. Also, he continued his studies and in 1977 attained Master of Arts degree at New York University.
Richard began his career as a parent-child columnist at New York Times Magazine in 1973, worked on the fashion pages and eventually edited the paper’s weekly science supplement. He held the post till 1976, when Richard started to work as an assistant style editor. Flaste served as an assistant style editor till 1980, when he became a deputy director of science news. Since 1988 he held the position of deputy editor of New York Times Magazine. Some of Flaste’s projects include his 1994 collaboration with Jane Brody on "Jane Brody's Good Seafood Book" and his contribution to the psychology field with Edward L. Deci - "Why We Do What We Do: The Dynamics of Personal Autonomy".
On December 25, 1966 Richard got married with Dale Judith Napolin. The couple has two children: Rebecca and Jordan.