“The rejected stone is now the cornerstone / Sort of like the master builder when I make my way home.”  — Guru, Gang Starr

David Lat and Amy Chua at Yale Law this week.

Recently, I had the opportunity to review The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, the bestselling book by the wife-and-husband team of Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, both professors at Yale Law School. You may be familiar with Chua, who first gained fame as a “Tiger Mom” because of her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The basic premise for The Triple Package is that certain groups have had disproportionate success in our country and the “Triple Package” is the reason for this success. Chua and Rubenfeld believe the three dominant predictive traits for achievement in America are:

  1. A superiority complex.
  2. Insecurity.
  3. Impulse control.

The book’s premise is, no doubt, controversial. This is partly because the book attempts to answer “a complicated socioeconomic and cultural question.” Regardless of how you feel about the book, if read in context it can promote much needed discussions regarding racial issues in our society. In addition, minorities in the law can use particular parts of this thesis to better understand how they can become successful in their own careers. If nothing else, The Triple Package can be a guide for what character pathologies minorities should guard against while pursuing their own versions of success.

Anytime you talk about achievement in socioeconomic and cultural terms, it is sure to be provocative. But this doesn’t mean that particular influences, traits, and systematic factors aren’t critical to one’s success.

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