The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America [NOOK Book]

Overview

"That certain groups do much better in America than othersas measured by income, occupational status, test scores, and so onis 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 successin immigrant groups, it typically dissipates by the third ...
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The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America

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Overview

"That certain groups do much better in America than othersas measured by income, occupational status, test scores, and so onis 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 successin immigrant groups, it typically dissipates by the third generationpuncturing the notion of innate group differences and undermining the whole concept of 'model minorities.'"
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. The Triple Package is open to anyone. America itself was once a Triple Package culture. It’s been losing that edge for a long time now. Even as headlines proclaim the death of upward mobility in America, the truth is that the oldfashioned American Dream is very much alive—butsome groups have a cultural edge, which enables them to take advantage of opportunity far more than others.
 

•   Americans are taught that everyone is equal, that no group is superior to another. But remarkably, all of America’s most successful groups believe (even

if they don’t say so aloud) that they’re exceptional, chosen, superior in some way.

•   Americans are taught that self-esteem—feeling good about yourself—is the key to a successful life. But in all of America’s most successful groups,

people tend to feel insecure, inadequate, that they have to prove themselves.

•   America today spreads a message of immediate gratification, living for the moment. But all of America’s most successful groups cultivate heightened discipline and impulse control.
 

But the Triple Package has a dark underside too. Each of its elements carries distinctive pathologies; when taken to an extreme, they can have truly toxic effects. Should people strive for the Triple Package? Should America? Ultimately, the authors conclude that the Triple Package is a ladder that should be climbed and then kicked away, drawing on its power but breaking free from its constraints.

Provocative and profound, The Triple Package will transform the way we think about success and achievement.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/16/2013
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.)
From the Publisher
Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed):
“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. 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….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.”

Kirkus Reviews:
“Husband and wife professors at Yale Law School explore why some cultural groups in the United States are generally more successful than others. Chua and Rubenfeld argue that each of these groups is endowed with a “triple package” of values that together make for a potent engine driving members to high rates of success….[and] that the U.S. was originally a triple-package nation. However, while Americans still view their country as exceptional, in the last 30 years, the other two parts of the package have gone out the window, replaced by a popular culture that values egalitarianism, self-esteem and instant gratification, creating a vacuum for more motivated groups to fill. On a highly touchy subject, the authors tread carefully, backing their assertions with copious notes. Though coolly and cogently argued, this book is bound to be the spark for many potentially heated discussions.”

National Review Online:
“Thinkers like Chua and Rubenfeld do us a service by reaching beyond the limits of what we can quantify.”
 
J.D. Vance, National Review Online:
“Their book is a sometimes funny, sometimes academic, and always interesting study of the cultural traits that make some groups outperform others in America. . . . the book asks a very important question: why are some of us doing so much better (or worse) than others? . . . I’m not sure that Chua and Rubenfeld have all the right answers. But I do know that by focusing on people—and the cultures that support and affect them—they’re asking the right questions. That’s more than I can say for most of the social policy experts occupying the airwaves today.”
 
Logan Beirne, FoxNews.com:
“Filled with surprising statistics and sociological research. . . .From the nation’s start, Washington and the Founders believed that hard work and sacrifice meant success for the future. This was the start of the American dream. ‘Triple Package’ contends that success is driven not by inborn biology, but is instead propelled by qualities that can be cultivated by all Americans. The book serves as an opportunity to discuss what has helped drive America’s triumphs in the past – and how we might harness this knowledge for our future.
 
Elle:
“The book meticulously documents that a variety of subgroups—Chinese, Mormons, Jews, Iranians, Indians, and Nigerians, among others—are higher-achieving than the average American; its 182 pages of text come with more than 100 pages of supporting notes. In analyzing how these groups, all of which identify as outsiders in some way, have done so well, the authors suggest that all Americans might profit from emulating these ‘model minorities.’”
 
David B. Green, Haaretz (Israel):
“Their book is not racist. For one thing, they are drawing a correlation between success and certain psychological attitudes, not congenital characteristics. They also go out of their way to say that the Triple Package, or the material success it can help people attain, is no guarantee of happiness, and they give plenty of examples of the psychological damage it can do. Even more significantly, there’s no doubt that attitudes – and performance – can and do change over time. . . .As a reader, I enjoyed the extensively sourced statistics and anecdotes that provide the basis for Chua and Rubenfeld’s argument, and was not especially troubled by the fact that “The Triple Package” is not an academic book. For me, its main value is found in the final chapter, in which the authors examine where America has gone wrong.
 
Business Traveller (UK):
“The titles of these forces explain what they are clearly enough, although the detail is intriguing. As you'd expect, it's the individuals who have emerged from these groups that provide the best stories, however. . . .Interestingly, the authors are nuanced on what constitutes "success" and point out that there is a dark underside to the ‘advantages’ that those in these groups ‘enjoy’. . . .It's hard to argue with the quantative and qualitative data amassed here… By and large, successful people are very ambitious, and don't mind you knowing the fact (they also often invite you to celebrate their success). The authors are very good in their descriptions of this sort of ego. It is also an enjoyable read, and one which really should not be criticised for the wrong reasons. I think many will nod in agreement. . . .a dose of common sense, rather like Amy Chua's previous book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”
 
Kavaree Bamzai, India Today:
“[the book] is implicitly critical of America's instant gratification disorder, and highlights the death of upward mobility among Americans. . . . The Triple Package is both a self-affirming anthem for those who need it as well as an anthropological exercise to understand what is going wrong with post-millenial America.”
 
Will Pavia, The Times (UK):
The Triple Package is backed up with reams of research and qualifications. They tiptoe mirthlessly over cultural egg shells yet still manage to stir up controversy."
 
Katie Roiphe, Financial Times (UK):
“Chua and Rubenfeld’s explosive new meditation on success, The Triple Package, has already begun to enrage people, even those who, by their own admission, haven’t read it but have simply heard about how shocking it is.”
 
The Independent (UK):
“The book is not racist – it is well-written; seductive.”
 
Matthew Syed, The Times (UK), Book of the Week:
“One of the most controversial books of recent years ... the authors are to be commended for dealing with a controversial subject, and for revealing some deep truths. It deserves a wide audience.”
 
Emma Brockes, The Guardian (UK):
“A lot to find interesting ... They draw on eye-opening studies of the influence of stereotypes and expectations on various ethnic and cultural groups ... The authors’ willingness to pursue an intellectual inquiry that others wouldn’t is bracing.”
 
Jenni Russell, Sunday Times (UK):
Provocative ... If you care at all about the social pressures underpinning success and failure, or relish fresh perspectives on how societies really work, you will want to read this.”
 
Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph (UK):
“The authors have already been accused of racism, mostly by people who haven’t read the book ... Powerful, passionate and very entertaining.”
 

Library Journal
02/01/2014
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
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-08
Husband and wife professors at Yale Law School explore why some cultural groups in the United States are generally more successful than others. Chua made waves in 2011 with her controversial best-selling book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which contrasted the high-expectation stance of a certain kind of Chinese mother with that of the relatively relaxed style of most other mothers in America. This book explores the reasons why some groups, such as those of Asian heritage, are succeeding disproportionately to their numbers in the population at large. (Yes, tiger mothering has something to do with it.) Why do Asian-Americans dominate admissions at the Ivy League and other top universities? Why are so many Nobel Prize winners Jewish? Why are there so many Mormon CEOs? Why are Nigerian-born Americans overrepresented among doctorates and MDs? Chua and Rubenfeld (The Death Instinct, 2010, etc.) argue that each of these groups is endowed with a "triple package" of values that together make for a potent engine driving members to high rates of success: Each views their group as special (think of the Jewish idea of "the chosen people"); each has instilled in them an insecurity about their worthiness that can only be palliated by achievement; and each is taught the values of impulse control and hard work. The authors claim that the U.S. was originally a triple-package nation. However, while Americans still view their country as exceptional, in the last 30 years, the other two parts of the package have gone out the window, replaced by a popular culture that values egalitarianism, self-esteem and instant gratification, creating a vacuum for more motivated groups to fill. On a highly touchy subject, the authors tread carefully, backing their assertions with copious notes. Though coolly and cogently argued, this book is bound to be the spark for many potentially heated discussions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101610138
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 97,151
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Amy Chua

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld are professors at Yale Law School. Chua, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011, is the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which unleashed a firestorm debate about the cultural value of self-discipline, as well as the bestselling World on Fire. Rubenfeld examined the political dangers of “living in the moment” in Freedom and Time; he is also the author of the international bestseller The Interpretation of Murder.
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Read an Excerpt

If there’s one group in the United States today that’s hitting it out of the park with conventional success, it’s Mormons. Just fifty years ago, many Americans had barely heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and regarded Mormons as a fringe group. Now Mormons are one of the most successful groups in America. Overwhelmingly, Mormon success has been of the most mainstream, conventional, apple-pie, 1950s variety. You don’t find a lot of Mormons breaking the mold or dropping out of college to form their own high-tech start-ups. What you find is corporate, financial, and political success, which makes perfect sense given the nature of the Mormon chip on the shoulder. Long regarded as a polygamous, almost crackpot, sect, Mormons seem determined to prove they’re more American than other Americans.

Whereas Protestants make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population, America’s five million to six million Mormons comprise just 1.7 percent. Yet a stunning number have risen to the top of America’s corporate and political spheres. Baptists are America’s largest Christian denomination, with a population of forty million to fifty million, about eight times the size of the Mormon population. The roster of living Baptist corporate powerhouses is not, however, eight times the size of the Mormon list. On the contrary, available data indicate it’s much smaller.

Here’s another data point: In February 2012, Goldman Sachs announced the addition of three hundred more employees to the thirteen hundred already working in the firm’s third largest metropolitan center of operations (after New York/New Jersey and London). Where is this sixteen-hundred-employee headquarters? In Salt Lake City, Utah. By reputation, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school is one of the nation’s best and most prestigious. In 2010, Wharton placed thirty-one of its graduates with Goldman—exactly the same number as did Brigham Young University’s less well-known Marriott School of Management.

The real testament to Mormons’ extraordinary capacity to earn and amass wealth, however, is the LDS Church itself. The amount of American land owned by the Mormon church is larger than the State of Delaware. The entire Church of England, with its grand history, had assets of about $6.9 billion as of 2008. The Vatican claimed $5 billion in assets as of 2002. By comparison, the Church of the Latter-day Saints is believed to have owned $25 billion to $30 billion in assets as of 1997, with present revenues of $5 billion to $6 billion a year. As one study puts it, “Per capita, no other religion comes close to such figures.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2014

    a topic worth discussing but I disagree with their conclusion. t

    a topic worth discussing but I disagree with their conclusion. the immigrant mistake is assuming there is only one path to the American Dream: good graes, good college, Fortune 500 job. Americans have learned from mergers and layoffs that this path guarantees nothing but stress. The true American Dream is the pursuit of what makes you happy. Memorizing what I can look up on my smartphone is not the way. Immigrants are playing musical chairs to someone else's tune and the music will end. Stop encouraging your kids to follow someone else's idea of security. The best example of a successful child of immigrants is Tony Hsieh, who has shown that you can give great customer service and pay your workers a fair wage in a supportive environment. Creativity and innovation are the keys to true freedom and happiness, and there are plenty of chairs at the table for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    Sarah

    She goes back you come too

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    The Triple Package by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld

    Well written and detailed on the groups discussed. The three concepts featured make sense. As I read it, i stopped often to recall my background knowledge. It reminded me of observations long forgotten. Ihighly recommend "The Triple Package".

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Very interesting analysis

    But it will be controversial no doubt.

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    Posted March 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

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