That insecurity should be a critical lever of success is another anathema, flouting the entire orthodoxy of contemporary popular and therapeutic psychology…. Note that there’s a deep tension between insecurity and a superiority complex. It’s odd to think of people being simultaneously insecure but also convinced of their divine election or superiority.
– Professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld of Yale Law School, in their forthcoming book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (affiliate link).
(The 8 superior
ethnic cultural groups are listed below. Did yours make the cut?)
Professor Amy Chua, of course, is no stranger to controversy, especially of the racial, ethnic, or cultural variety. Back in 2011, we extensively covered the uproar over her bestselling parenting memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (affiliate link), in which she argued for the superiority of the “Chinese mother” approach to parenting. (You can’t argue with success; Chua’s olest daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, is currently a student at Harvard.)
Now the Tiger Mom is back, this time joined by her husband, Professor Jed Rubenfeld (who previously served as a foil to his high-strung wife). Their book The Triple Package comes out on February 4. It has received favorable notices from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, but as noted in Morning Docket, the book got attacked over the weekend in the New York Post (an estimable outlet for book reviews).
Here’s a summary of The Triple Package’s argument, from its Amazon page:
It may be taboo to say, but some groups in America do better than others. 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.
Why do some groups rise? Drawing on groundbreaking original research and startling statistics, The Triple Package uncovers the secret to their success. A superiority complex, insecurity, impulse control — these are the elements of the Triple Package, the rare and potent cultural constellation that drives disproportionate group success.
And which 8 groups possess these 3 elements in abundance? Per Chuafeld:
- Cuban exiles
Congratulations. Interestingly enough, a number of these groups have enjoyed significant success in the legal field, far out of proportion to their representation in the general population.
Going back to the quotation above, many non-lawyers might agree with Chuafeld’s claim that “[i]t’s odd to think of people being simultaneously insecure but also convinced of their divine election or superiority.” But anyone who has been to law school will have a one-word response: gunners.
UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): You can learn more about The Triple Package over at its website. That site makes clear, by the way, that Chua and Rubenfeld’s thesis is focused on cultural factors, not on racial or ethnic ones. Here’s a book excerpt (emphases added):
That certain groups do much better in America than others — as measured by income, occupational status, test scores, and so on — is difficult to talk about. In large part this is because the topic feels racially charged. The irony is that the facts actually debunk racial stereotypes. There are black and Hispanic subgroups in the United States far outperforming many white and Asian subgroups. Moreover, there’s a demonstrable arc to group success — in immigrant groups, it typically dissipates by the third generation — puncturing the notion of innate group differences and undermining the whole concept of ‘model minorities.”
It sounds like a fascinating and provocative book; we look forward to reading it.
The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America [Amazon (affiliate link)]
The Triple Package [official website]
Tiger Mom: Some cultural groups are superior [New York Post via Morning Docket]