Amy Chua

Coauthor, The Triple Package
Author, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

How to succeed in an increasingly global
competitive economy.

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Biography

Top 100 Global Thinkers — Foreign Policy
100 Most Inlfuential People — TIME
2011 Brave Thinker — The Atlantic

Throughout her career as a best-selling author, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua has been exploring and explaining how culture contributes to success and failure, often with counterintuitive results. In her fourth and most recent book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, she and her husband and coauthor explain why some groups in America do better than others.

Culture and success. The key to their success, says Amy Chua, is the combination of three cultural traits: a superiority complex coupled with a sense of insecurity and the ability to control your impulses. Though we are taught that no group is superior to another, America’s most successful groups believe (even if they don’t say so out loud) that they are exceptional. Though we are taught that self-esteem is critical to success, Amy Chua claims that it’s the people who feel they have to prove themselves that most succeed. And while Americans increasingly seek instant gratification, success actually comes from self-discipline.

Culture and the family. Amy Chua is best known for her best-selling memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, her provocative book about culture and success at the level of the family — the costs and rewards of adopting her parents’ strict Chinese parenting style in raising her own daughters. Translated into 30 languages, Tiger Mother ignited a lively debate about the merits of modern American parenting.

Culture and global dominance. Amy’s first two books look at the international stage. The New York Times bestseller World on Fire is a must-read for understanding the dynamics of globalization and the future of free market democracy. Chua explains how a superficial approach to Western free market democracy can awaken ethnic revenge violence in countries where globalization has concentrated great wealth in the hands of a resented ethnic minority; Iraq is a classic example. Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance — and Why They Fall analyzes both ancient and modern globally dominant empires — including the United States — to understand the reasons for their success and the roots of their decline.

Credentials. Amy Chua is the John M. Duff Professor of Law at Yale Law School and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She worked for four years on international transactions throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America for a Wall Street firm. She has appeared on many television programs, written for first-tier publications, and addressed numerous government and policymaking institutions. In 2011, Amy was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, an Atlantic Monthly Brave Thinker, and one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers of 2011.

Books

The Triple Package

How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld

It may be taboo to say, but some groups in America do better than others. 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 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.

  • 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.

Penguin Books; Reissue edition (January 27, 2015)
Penguin Press HC, The (February 4, 2014)

Excerpt

Introduction — MSNBC

Reviews

The Triple PackageTimes Higher Education
'Tiger Mom' talks about what drives some cultural groups to the topThe Daily Pennsylvanian

Praise

“[C]ombustive… [Chua and Rubenfeld] have come up with the best universal theory of success I’ve seen.”
Financial Times

“[W]ell-written; seductive.”
The Independent (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.”
— Emma Brockes, The Guardian

“[S]cholarly, yet provocative.”
Boston Herald

“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.”

Publishers Weekly (STARRED and BOXED review)


“Thinkers like Chua and Rubenfeld do us a service by reaching beyond the limits of what we can quantify.”
National Review Online

“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.”
— Matthew Syed, The Times (UK), Book of the Week

“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.”
— Jenni Russell, Sunday Times (UK)

“Powerful, passionate and very entertaining.”
— Allison Pearson, Daily Telegraph (UK)

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

A Parenting Memoir

Amy Chua

An awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother's exercise in extreme parenting, revealing the rewards-and the costs-of raising her children the Chinese way.

All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. What Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother reveals is that the Chinese have a totally different idea of how to do that. Western parents try to respect their children's individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions and providing a nurturing environment. The Chinese believe that the best way to protect your children is by preparing them for the future and arming them with skills, strong work habits, and inner confidence. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother chronicles Chua's iron-willed decision to raise her daughters, Sophia and Lulu, her way-the Chinese way-and the remarkable results her choice inspires.

Chua demands as much of herself as she does of her daughters. And in her sacrifices-the exacting attention spent studying her daughters' performances, the office hours lost shuttling the girls to lessons-the depth of her love for her children becomes clear. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is an eye-opening exploration of the differences in Eastern and Western parenting- and the lessons parents and children everywhere teach one another.

Penguin Press HC, The (January 11, 2011)

Reviews

Terrible Swift Tongue – Sunday Book Review, The New York Times
Amy Chua is a wimpThe New York Times
Chinese-American family cultureThe Washington Post

Day of Empire

How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance — and Why They Fall

Amy Chua

The thesis of Day of Empire, like the thrust of her previous book [World on Fire], is provocative. Chua’s lively writing makes her case studies interesting in themselves. And her convincing presentation of their relevance to the contemporary scene adds meaning to this timely warning.
— James F. Hoge, Jr., editor of Foreign Affairs, reviewing for The Washington Post.

In a little over two centuries, America has grown from a regional power, to a great power, to a superpower, to what is today called a hyperpower. But can America retain its position as the world's dominant power, or has it already begun to decline?

Historians have debated the rise and fall of empires for centuries. To date, however, no one has studied the far rarer phenomenon of hyperpowers — those remarkably few societies that have amassed such extraordinary military and economic might that they essentially dominated the world.

Now, in this sweeping history of globally dominant empires, bestselling author Amy Chua explains how hyperpowers rise and why they fall.

In a series of brilliantly focused chapters, Chua examines history's hyperpowers — Persia, Rome, Tang China, the Mongols, the Dutch, the British, and the United States — and reveals the reasons behind their success, as well as the roots of their ultimate demise.

Chua's unprecedented study reveals a fascinating historical pattern. For all their differences, she argues, every one of these world-dominant powers was, at least by the standards of its time, extraordinarily pluralistic and tolerant. Each one succeeded by harnessing the skills and energies of individuals from very different backgrounds, and by attracting and exploiting highly talented groups that were excluded in other societies. Thus Rome allowed Africans, Spaniards, and Gauls alike to rise to the highest echelons of power, while the "barbarian" mongols conquered their vast domains only because they practiced and ethnic and religious tolerance unheard of in their time. In contrast, Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, while wielding great power, failed to attain global dominance as a direct result of their racial and religious intolerance.

But Chua also uncovers a great historical irony: In virtually every instance, multicultural tolerance eventually sowed the seeds of decline, and diversity became a liability, triggering conflict, hatred, and violence.

The United States is the quintessential example of a power that rose to global dominance through tolerance and diversity. The secret to America's success has always been its unsurpassed ability to attract enterprising immigrants. Today, however, concerns about outsourcing and uncontrolled illegal immigration are producing a backlash against our tradition of cultural openness. Has America finally reached a "tipping point"? Have we gone too far in the direction of diversity and tolerance to maintain cohesion and unity? Will we be overtaken by rising powers like China, the EU or even India?

Chua shows why American power may have already exceeded its limits — and why it may be in our interest to retreat from our go-it-alone approach and promote a new multilateralism in both domestic and foreign affairs.

Random House ( Oct. 30, 2007)

Review

The Distant HorizonForeign Affairs

Praise

"Scintillating history, breathtaking in scope and chock-full of insight. Amy Chua argues persuasively that the real key to acquiring and maintaining great power lies in the ability to attract and assimilate, rather than to coerce or intimidate."
— Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans       Are Seduced by War

"Amy Chua smartly condenses the complex histories of the Persian, Mughal, Dutch, and other empires into an irresistable argument: that empires expand through toleration and contract through close-mindedness. As with any shrewd and elaborate argument, the getting there is half the fun." — Robert D. Kaplan

"From ancient Achaemenid Persia to the modern United States, by way of Rome, Tang China and the Spanish, Dutch and British Empires, Amy Chua tells the story of the world's hyperpowers — that elite of empires which, in their heyday, were truly without equal. Not everyone will be persuaded by her ingenious thesis that religious and racial tolerance was a prerequisite for global dominance, but also the slow solvent of that cultural 'glue' which holds a great nation together. But few readers will fail to be impressed by the height of this book's ambition and by the breadth of scholarship on which it is based."
— Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History, Harvard University, and      author of Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order

World on Fire

How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability

Amy Chua

Three months on the BusinessWeek Best-Seller List.
A fundamentally new perspective on how to sustain globalization by finding ways to spread its benefits while curbing its destructive unintended consequences.

Every few years, a book is published about America's role in the world and the changing contest of global affairs that gets everyone thinking in a new way. Amy Chua's World On Fire will have exactly that kind of impact on the debate of how the world has changed in light of the events of last September.

Apostles of globalization, such as Thomas Friedman, believe that exporting free markets and democracy to other countries will increase peace and prosperity throughout the developing world; Amy Chua is the anti-Thomas Friedman. Her book wil be a dash of cold water in the face of globalists, techno-utopians, and liberal triumphalists as she shows that just the opposite has happened: When global markets open, ethnic conflict worsens and politics turns ugly and violent.

Drawing on examples from around the world — from Africa and Asia to Russia and Latin America — Chua examines how free markets do not spread wealth evenly throughout the whole of these societies. Instead they produce a new class of extremely wealthy plutocrats — individuals as rich as nations. Almost always members of a minority group — Chinese in the Philippines, Croatians in the former Yugoslavia, whites in Latin America, Indians in East Africa, Jews in post-communist Russia — these "market-dominant minorities" have become targets of violent hatred. Adding democracy to this volatile mix unleashes supressed ethnic hatreds and brings to power ethnonationalist governments that pursue aggressive policies of confiscation and revenge. Chua further shows how individual countries are often viewed as dominant minorities, explaining the phenomena of ethnic resentment in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the rising tide of anti-American sentiment around the world. This more than anything accounts for the visceral hatred of Americans that has been expressed in recent acts of terrorism.

Bold and original, World On Fire is a perceptive examination of the far-reaching effects of exporting capitalism with democracy and its potentially catastrophic results.

DoubleDay, 2002

Topics

Amy tailors each presentation to the needs of her audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest her range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Raising a Globally Competitive Workforce

The nation’s viability to compete rests on our future workforce. Leaders who will drive global, competitive agendas require competencies first learned at home. Parenting plays a key role in ensuring that the next generation performs with the drive, agility and determination required in a new economic paradigm.

A Chinese-American, Harvard educated lawyer, Yale professor, best-selling author, and parent of two, Amy Chua will draw on recent works as she shares insights on parenting in the United States and its effects on the workforce in an increasingly complex and globalized business environment.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

The Consequences of Globalization

Videos

Success in America | 92nd Street Y

Does Your Background Make You Successful? | Katie Couric Show

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Triple Package | NBC Today

Phi Theta Kappa 94th Annual Convention

Feedback

An association of independent schools:
Your thoughtfulness in your presentation for our particular group was apparent and we appreciate all that you did to engage the audience. As you saw and heard from the book signing line, our attendees were both inspired and motivated by your remarks. We also appreciate the time you took to spend with our staff and board members after your presentation and session — how very gracious of you!

A major US university:
The Amy Chua lecture went really splendidly. She arrived promptly, the speech was excellent, lots of Q & A. We had over 500 people attend. Our University President [...] and his wife attended. The bookstore sold a lot of books. It was a great night. Amy couldn't have been more gracious. She is amazing.

A science, technology & economic development nonprofit:
She is really nice and did an awesome presentation. Everyone loved it —Jane [McGonigal] was phenomenal as well. She had time to sit in some of the other sessions too. She is a gem and everyone loved her as well. I can’t say enough about either of them. Great presentations-very friendly and accommodating-so easy to work with. They are both excellent speakers and had jam packed rooms! Jane also did a great job with the panel discussion.

An association of international educators:
[Amy] was absolutely the hit of our conference. I can not count the number of people who approached me to tell me how highly they thought of her remarks. The animated and passionate delivery of her complex theories was spellbinding. You could literally have heard a pin drop in a room filled with slightly over 500 people. [...] This was truly a treat for an audience who is involved in the international arena through their work and most interested in the dynamics involved with issues of globalization. The buzz was that her name would be brought forward for invitation at an National Conference of our organisation.

A national association of schools:
From my perspective, Dr. Chua provided the perfect questioning and intelligent analysis of local issues raised by globalization. She was dynamic and poised and raised difficult questions with grace and rigor. One of my most trusted colleagues said to me later that her presentation was the most tough-minded of all that he heard at the conference. In short, she fulfilled her function in the fabric of the program and exceeded my expectations in every way. We were pleased to have her.

An elite women's preparatory school:
Amy's presentation was very well received. Our students found her to be very intelligent and extremely dynamic as a speaker--as did I, as well.

I appreciated the fact that she was fully engaged with our students and faculty during our dinner, and she made herself available for about 45 minutes after the program ended to talk to our students individually. My sense is that the female students, in particular, saw her as an excellent role model; someone who is a very high achiever, and yet is also friendly, accessible and humorous.

We were very pleased and honored to have had Amy Chua as our Ethics and Public Policy speaker.

A major corporation's learning conference for women leaders:
She was terrific - excellent. Rated 5 of 5! Thanks so much for your help.

A Town Hall lecture series:
I want to let you know that we finished the first half with great success. The audience absolutely loved hearing Professor Chua speak this morning at the lecture and afterward at the VIP luncheon where she answered questions with great aplomb.

My email inbox is already filled with great messages about how much the morning audience appreciated hearing from such a distinguished, brilliant young woman.

The Town Hall commitee looks forward to this evening with Professor Chua. We are enjoying her visit very much!