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Tiger Mom’s New Book Triple Package Explains Why We Suck So Much

Amy Chua, who wrote Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother, is back with a new book called Triple Package, which seems to be called as such because she attempts to offend people on three fronts.  Oh sorry.  It’s called that because in order to have success, you need the triple package of feeling superior, being insecure, and having impulse control.  It turns out that she’s offending people on more than three fronts, anyway.

The book lists the eight superior groups in the world.  Do you belong to one?  More than one?  That would make you doubly superior:

  • Jewish
  • Indian
  • Chinese
  • Iranian
  • Lebanese-American
  • Nigerian
  • Cuban (but only exiles.  Apparently remaining in Cuba makes you not superior)
  • Mormons

I know what you’re thinking right now.  You’re thinking, “I had a book that could have put something good into the world, but it was rejected by every agent, and THAT woman gets another chance to offend all of us?  Those are the sorts of books that hit bookshelves?”

And the short answer would be yes.  I believe that the US, in looking at alternative fuel options, is trying to generate power with our ire.  Amy Chua is an ire-generating machine.  All she needs to say by this point is “I have a book idea…” and she doesn’t even need to write it.  The mere fact that she is thinking of a new thesis is enough to enrage.  Because she is a superior rage inducer.  Because she has that triple package.

In the same way that I didn’t need to read the Bell Curve once I heard the premise, I equally do not need to read the Triple Package, regardless that it’s “coolly and cogently argued” according to Kirkus Reviews.  I have a limited amount of hours on this earth, and I don’t want to spend any of them with this book.  Just as I spent zero hours with her other book.  Life is too short to spend it with manufactured controversy.

I am disappointed when I think about all the books that won’t get published this year: the ones that people will shop around, trying to find a home.  They’re good books that would put good information into the world.  But apparently good doesn’t sell; offensiveness does.


1 nicoleandmaggie { 01.06.14 at 2:40 pm }

Wow, really? Yes, the Bell Curve sounds like an excellent comparison. Or rather, an apt comparison. It’s the opposite of excellent.

2 Sarah { 01.06.14 at 2:56 pm }

No, I don’t need to read this one either. At this point, she’s just coasting on her laurels, and her 15 minutes of fame need to end. But plenty of one hit wonders have ridden the wave far longer than merited. And yeah, bad news, sex, violence and other appeals to our base instincts seem to grab the public’s attention than good old fashioned stories and well intentioned writing. How can we change this?

Can I ask if you’re still smarting from the message of Battle Hymn, though? I don’t agree with every point in that book, but I do think it rightly threw some criticism on how many Americans approach parenting, and raised some interesting cultural questions about the purpose of childhood. To me, the backlash signaled some serious discomfort with how effective we are educating our kids and preparing them for adulthood. I don’t need to read Chua’s new book, but I thought Battle Hymn did add to the discussion of parenting in America, even if her parenting style isn’t for us.

3 Delenn { 01.06.14 at 2:57 pm }

What a waste of paper. I wish our society would devote more time to trying to get affordable/safe child care and education for all, instead of always snipping at each other about parenting styles.

4 Katherine { 01.06.14 at 3:27 pm }

Well, I agree that publishers (like tv producers) love controversy, and i can see how you would just refuse to play into their game — and just ignore the book.

That having been said, I did happen to read Chua’s first book, and did not see what the big deal was. There was a lot of sarcasm in the book that I imagine many people took literally. And I think the majority of people who criticize her have not read her book, and are just basing their opinion on the excerpts they have read in the silly/pursposfully provocative WSJ article, etc. This, to be honest, I find disturbing: Ignoring the book and the publisher’s bait and the controversy, I get. But vocally expressing an opinion just because someone else said I should be enraged — critisizing without having bothered to gather the facts myself — that just befuddles me.

I will not be rushing out to buy chua’s new book, for i did not find the first one profound in any way. But it was a rather entertaining read, so if i happen upon the new book in a library or on someone’s nightstand or something, i will probably give it a look.

5 Pepper { 01.06.14 at 5:10 pm }

Wow, I really suck. I don’t belong to a single one of those superior groups. Good thing this is not a book I will ever read.


6 nicoleandmaggie { 01.06.14 at 9:30 pm }

The problem is that these are out-dated racist theories (the 1920s called and want their sociology back, also the 1960s…something about the model minority myth) and they perpetuate negative stereotypes that actually hurt people. Even if the book isn’t like the article about it and it’s just press-releasing like that in order to drum up sales and publicity, it’s harmful.

The Bell Curve was and still is harmful. And racist.

7 Rach { 01.06.14 at 10:18 pm }

I’ve never heard of any of this, so I did some research before responding here…

While I haven’t read the books…what alarms me is the constant attention on the ethnicity or religion of the people/groups she’s referring to. She’s not saying that people raised with a strong idea of how money works, and a strong work ethic will be most successful in America – she’s tagging them as a specific religion/ethnicity…essentially a stereotype. It doesn’t matter if the stereotype is flattering or insulting, the fact is you can’t take a blanket and throw it over millions of people, and say they all fit. Just doesn’t work that way and it’s really frustrating to see someone who’s spreading this 1940s propaganda getting so much attention. It’s like taking 100 steps back, rather than forward, in the battle for equality.

8 jjiraffe { 01.06.14 at 11:11 pm }

Ugh! That sounds just awful in every sort of way. Does amyone think stereotyping like this ever does any good? (And it does reminds me of that shitty Bell Curve book, like you said.)

Yep: couldn’t agree more that it is just so gross that controversy like this sells, while other books could put good information out there and go nowhere.


9 Tiara { 01.07.14 at 6:25 am }

Like I need another book to make me feel inferior! Not a book I’ll waste my time on, that’s for sure!

10 Mr Thompson and Me { 01.07.14 at 9:54 am }

I look at that list of superior groups and it sounds like a whole lot of judgement to me. That’s what the world needs less of.

Less judgement. More kindness.

11 Elizabeth { 01.08.14 at 1:24 pm }

While I agree that the book is likely offensive, and I don’t plan to read it either… it seems a bit unwise, honestly, to come down on it that harshly and publicly without having read this title or her previous book.

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