Yale Law School professors Chua (the Tiger Mom herself) and husband Rubenfeld argue that the triumph of certain cultural groups in America--e.g., Mormons in business and the highly paid Chinese Americans and Jews--results from three principles: members of such groups believe the group is exceptional, still feel they must prove themselves, and work for future goals instead of immediate satisfaction. Controversial.[Page 86]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Most Americans have observed that some ethnic or religious groups seem disproportionately successful; they wonder why. Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) and Rubenfeld (The Interpretation of Murder), professors at Yale Law School and wife and husband, researched the question. They focused on several groups--Mormons, Jews, Indians, Nigerians, Chinese, Iranians, Lebanese, and Cubans--and came up with a general theory. They provide empirical evidence that each group is economically successful above the average of most Americans and likewise, in most cases, hold status positions well above the norm. The traits these groups share seem to be threefold, as per the title. They tend to have a "superiority complex," seeing themselves as special in some way, e.g., by possessing an ancient heritage or considering themselves chosen by God. Second, their place in larger society is insecure owing to either recent immigration, historic prejudice, or outright discrimination. Third, their culture inculcates hard work along with discipline in what Chua and Rubenfeld call "impulse control." Interestingly, the final chapter broadens the thesis to the United States as a whole and questions the country's ongoing utility. VERDICT This is popular sociology at its best: well researched, heavily noted, and clearly written. Not for specialists, it is recommended to all curious general readers and is likely to promote debate.--David Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia[Page 87]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In their provocative new book, Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) and Rubenfeld (The Interpretation of Murder)--Yale Law professors and spouses--show why certain groups in the U.S. perform better than others. Studying the more material measures of success-- income, occupational status, and test scores--the authors found, for example, that Mormons occupy leading positions in politics and business; the Ivy League admission rates of West Indian and African immigrant groups far exceed those of non-immigrant American blacks (a group left behind by these measures); and Indian and Jewish Americans have the highest incomes. According to the authors, three traits breed success: a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control. Only when this "Triple Package" comes together does it "generate drive, grit, and systematic disproportionate group success." Supported by statistics and original research, the authors also analyze each trait as they explore the experience of other rising cultural groups: Chinese-Americans, Iranians, Cubans, and others. This comprehensive, lucid sociological study 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. Agents: Tina Bennett, William Morris Endeavor (Chua), Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor (Rubenfeld). (Feb.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC