The Triple Package – Amy Chua’s provocative formula for group success

This event took place on:
Thursday, February 13, 7:00 - 8:30pm
The Triple Package -- Amy Chua's provocative formula for group success

KPCCRadio (via YouTube)

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.

A superiority complex…


Impulse control…

According to “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, her husband and fellow Yale Law School professor, these are the elements of the Triple Package, the rare and potent cultural constellation that drives disproportionate group success. They took an in-depth look at how some cultures consistently outperform others and found there are groups in America that simply do better. 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. But already reaction to their new book, THE TRIPLE PACKAGE: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, is heated and the authors have been accused of racist overtones in their writing.

In challenging conventional wisdom, they explain why some groups rise and others struggle. Even as headlines proclaim the death of upward mobility in America, according to the team’s findings, the truth is that the old-fashioned American dream is very much alive—but some groups have a cultural edge, which enables them to take advantage of opportunity far more than others.

But the Triple Package – a superiority complex, insecurity and impulse control - has a dark underside too. Each of its elements carries distinctive pathologies and when taken to an extreme, can have toxic effects. The authors conclude that it’s a ladder that should be climbed and then kicked away, drawing on its power but breaking free from its constraints.

Are Chua and Rubenfeld right? They sat down in the Crawford Family Forum with KPCC’s Patt Morrison for an eye-opening discussion.


Patt Morrison: KPCC host; columnist for the Los Angeles Times. 


Amy Chua, J.D.: John M. Duff Professor of Law at Yale Law School; author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which unleashed a firestorm debate about the cultural value of self-discipline, and World on Fire; in 2011, one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. @amychua

Jed Rubenfeld, J.D.: Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law; author of Freedom and Time, in which he examined the political dangers of “living in the moment,” and The Interpretation of Murder.

Books were available for purchase in the lobby, courtesy of Skylight Books

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