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Dave Ross

Three characteristics that lead to success, according to Tiger Mom

Amy Chua (above) and her husband studied census data to find out why some groups appear more successful than others in the United States, and it led them to three key characteristics. (AP Photo/File) | Zoom
Amy Chua became a household name under her other moniker, The Tiger Mom, after she wrote the book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." In it she described how she was raising her daughters the way typical Chinese parents did - 'arming them with skills, strong work habits, and an inner confidence to best prepare them for the future.'

Now she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, have used census data to identify which ethnic and religious groups in America have been the most successful. They studied Nigerian Americans, Cuban Americans, Mormons, Jews, Indian Americans, Lebanese Americans, Chinese Americans, and others.

They found there are three key characteristics that lead to success: A sense of self-worth, a sense of insecurity that makes you work a little bit harder, and the discipline to resist instant gratification and to persevere against all obstacles.

Some critics have said they're arguing that certain groups who lack these characteristics are fundamentally inferior, but not according to Chua and Rubenfeld.

"It's just a fact out there, just a surprising fact, that in this tough economy (with) shrinking opportunity and rising inequality, there's this remarkable fact that some groups are doing better than others in terms of economic success," says Rubenfeld. "And we wrote this book to say, hey, let's look at those."

"The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America" is available now, and you can listen to Dave Ross' complete interview with Chua and Rubenfeld in this week's edition of the Rossfire podcast.

KIRO Radio's Dave Ross and's Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report., Staff report
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