Book: The Triple Package

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The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America

Amy Chua, the John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law, 
and Jed Rubenfeld, the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law

(Penguin Press)

In this book Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld ask: Why do some groups rise? Drawing on original research, “The Triple Package” uncovers the reason for the success of these groups. According to the authors, a superiority complex, insecurity, and impulse control are the three elements of the triple package, the set of cultural traits that drives disproportionate group success. The triple package, the authors contend, is open to anyone. America itself was once a triple package culture, they maintain, but it’s been losing that edge for a long time. 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, the authors maintain.

However, according to the authors, the triple package has a dark underside. Each of its elements carries distinctive pathologies; when taken to an extreme, they can have toxic effects. Should people strive for the triple package, they ask? 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.

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