The Triple Package
How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
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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.
Currently a professor of law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country's foremost experts on constitutional law. He wrote his Princeton undergraduate thesis on Sigmund Freud and studied Shakespeare at Julliard. He is the author of "The Interpretation of Murder". He lives in Connecticut.
Yale law professor Amy Chua sparked controversy with her first book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, where she touted her strict style of parenting. Now she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, are out with a new book, The Triple Package. The couple talk about why they believe some cultural groups are better poised for success. More at NPR.org
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