Monday, September 8, 2014

The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America by Amy Chua, Jed Rubenfeld Review

""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."

Out of morbid curiosity, I wonder how many people Amy Chua pissed off. I know the number is probably high. There are some people in Times who probably hate her (if your see the implied parts), the Daughters of the "Tiger Mothers", those people on Goodreads who rated this book and all of her other books poorly, and well... Good Ol' Me. Truth be told, I do agree with some of the points she made in this book with an awfully long title. However, I simply wish that Amy Chua (and her husband, the second author, but it feels like it was mostly her who wrote the book) would simply be kind enough to those who are being stereotyped by her book. They try, yes, but they haven't tried hard enough.

Okay, let's talk about this so-called "Triple Package." There is InsecuritySuperiority, and Impulse Control. Already, you can probably see why these authors upset a lot of people. And after reading this book with a super long title, I can see how brilliant J.K. Rowling is. Superiority is pretty much Voldemort, obviously. Insecurity is Voldemort, Harry Potter, and a lot of people including Ron. Impulse Control is there, but I'm not going to point out anything or anyone. I'm just not going to point fingers. Anyway, J.K. Rowling perfectly portrays what happens if we let these characteristics get the best of us. Sadly, the authors do not focus on what happens to the consequences of our actions. They only tell us how to use it, yes, but they don't describe when we use too much.

There is a time to stop before you go too far.

I'm going to tell you something. Unlike Amy Chua's Tiger Mother book, The Triple Package with a long subtitle is boring. The writing is boring. (It is like tear out your eyes boring). The statistics are interesting, but? Together, the writing and the statistics makes this book a contradiction. Let me show you how (but there is no details). The statistics remain plain and generic while the writing goes in and tells you a bunch of specific things. Most of them are probably guesses (educated guesses, if you want to be nice). But if the statistics don't go into the specifics, how can it hold the "truth" (or guesses) in the writing.

Furthermore, the writing and the words may try to be nice to its readers, but in one way or another, it is burning bridges faster than I can light a damn match. What did they say about (Insert some racial or religious group here)? The authors certainly forgot about pride. Human pride. Hubris. 

One last word: The reviewer of this book (The Triple Package with a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious title) notes that Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is shorter than the subtitle. But that isn't the last word. That was the joke. Sorry, I'll move on. Ahem. The reviewer of this book (The Triple Package) does not wish to insult anyone, but knows that many insults are within this review. (Contradiction?)

Rating: Two out of Five

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