Law Professors

These traits explain success for eight cultural groups, says 'tiger mom' law prof


A Yale law professor and self-described tiger mom is now in the middle of a new debate as a result of her upcoming book naming eight cultural groups that have succeeded because of a “triple package” of traits.

Amy Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, both Yale law professors, co-wrote the book, report Above the Law, the New York Post, Today Books, the New York Observer and Forbes.

The three traits are: a superiority complex, insecurity and impulse control, say Chua and Rubenfeld. Their book is The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.

“It may be taboo to say, but some groups in America do better than others,” according to the book’s website. “Mormons have recently risen to astonishing business success. Cubans in Miami climbed from poverty to prosperity in a generation. Nigerians earn doctorates at stunningly high rates. Indian and Chinese Americans have much higher incomes than other Americans; Jews may have the highest of all.”

Those six groups have achieved success, the book says, along with Iranians and Lebanese-Americans, because of the “triple package” traits. The write-up says the book draws its conclusions from “groundbreaking original research and startling statistics.”

America was once a triple-package culture, the write-up says, but now Americans are taught that no group is superior, high self-esteem is important to success, and immediate gratification is needed for happiness.

Chua found herself in the middle of controversy in 2011 when she wrote that Chinese moms succeed because of their strict parenting style.

Publishers Weekly called the book a “comprehensive, lucid sociological study [that] balances its findings with a probing look at the downsides of the triple package—the burden of carrying a family’s expectations, and deep insecurities that come at a psychological price.”

The New York Post, on the other hand, panned the book as “a series of shock-arguments wrapped in self-help tropes, and it’s meant to do what racist arguments do: scare people.”

Today Books highlighted some of the Twitter criticism, including this tweet: “Dear Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld, the 1920s called and want their theories back.” Meanwhile, the New York Observer came up with purported groups that didn’t make the list, including women named Shawn and Eastern Studies majors who spent a semester in Japan.

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