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

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

by Amy Chua, Jed Rubenfeld


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594205460
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

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.”

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Triple Package 5

Chapter 2 Who's Successful in America? 29

Chapter 3 The Superiority Complex 59

Chapter 4 Insecurity 85

Chapter 5 Impulse Control 117

Chapter 6 The Underside of the Triple Package 145

Chapter 7 IQ, Institutions, And Upward Mobility 167

Chapter 8 America 199

Acknowledgments 227

Notes 231

Index 309

What People are Saying About This

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,
“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.
“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.”

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The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
MsBookWorm2 More than 1 year ago
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".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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bobinbc More than 1 year ago
But it will be controversial no doubt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She goes back you come too