Amy Chua

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Amy Chua
Chua in April 2012
Chua in April 2012
BornAmy Lynn Chua
(1962-10-26) October 26, 1962 (age 59)
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
OccupationLawyer, legal scholar, writer
EducationHarvard University (BA, JD)
SubjectInternational relations, political science, sociology, economics, parenting
Notable works
SpouseJed Rubenfeld
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese蔡美兒
Simplified Chinese蔡美儿[1]

Amy Lynn Chua (born October 26, 1962), also known as "the Tiger Mom",[2][3][4] is an American lawyer, legal scholar, and writer. She is the John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her expertise is in international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and the law.[5] She joined the Yale faculty in 2001 after teaching at Duke Law School for seven years. Prior to starting her teaching career, she was a corporate law associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She is also known for her parenting memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In 2011, she was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, one of The Atlantic's Brave Thinkers, and one of Foreign Policy's Global Thinkers.[6]

Family background[edit]

Chua was born in Champaign, Illinois, to ethnic Chinese parents with Hoklo ancestry who emigrated from the Philippines. Her parents raised her speaking Hokkien.[7] Her father, Leon O. Chua, is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.[8] His ancestral hometown is Quanzhou, Fujian.[9]

Chua's mother was born in China in 1936, before moving to the Philippines at the age of two.[7] She subsequently converted to Catholicism in high school and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, with a degree in chemical engineering, summa cum laude.[7]

Early life and education[edit]

Chua was raised Catholic and lived in West Lafayette, Indiana.[10] When she was 8 years old, her family moved to Berkeley, California.

Chua described herself as an "ugly kid" during her school days; she was bullied in school for her foreign accent (which she has since lost) and was the target of racial slurs from several classmates.[11] She went to El Cerrito High School, where she graduated as valedictorian of her class.[12] In college, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude with an A.B. in Economics in 1984 from Harvard College, where she was named an Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Scholar and a John Harvard Scholar.[13] She obtained her J.D. cum laude in 1987 from Harvard Law School,[14] where she was the first Asian American officer of the Harvard Law Review, serving as executive editor.[15][16]

After law school, Chua clerked for Chief Judge Patricia M. Wald on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Washington, D.C.[16]


Chua has written five books: two studies of international affairs, a parenting memoir, a book on ethnic-American culture and its correlation with socio-economic success within the United States, and a book about the role of tribal loyalties in American politics and its foreign policy.[17]

Her first book, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (2003), explores the ethnic conflict caused in many societies by disproportionate economic and political influence of "market dominant minorities" and the resulting resentment in the less affluent majority. World on Fire, which was a New York Times bestseller, selected by The Economist as one of the Best Books of 2003,[18] and named by Tony Giddens in The Guardian as one of the "Top Political Reads of 2003",[19] examines how globalization and democratization since 1989 have affected the relationship between market-dominant minorities and the wider population.

Her second book, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall (2007), examines seven major empires and posits that their success depended on their tolerance of minorities.

Chua's third book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, published in January 2011, is a memoir about her parenting journey using strict Confucianist child rearing techniques, which she claims is typical for Chinese immigrant parents.[20] Despite being sometimes interpreted as a how-to manual for parenting, the book has been critically viewed as an account "of how children can become rebellious and alienated when one-size-fits-all education philosophies are applied, regardless of their personality or aptitudes."[21] It was an international bestseller in the United States, South Korea, Poland, Israel, Germany, United Kingdom, and China, and has been translated into 30 languages.[22][23] The book also received a huge backlash and media attention and ignited global debate about different parenting techniques and cultural attitudes that foster such techniques.[24] The uproar provoked by the book included death threats and racial slurs directed at Chua, and calls for her arrest on child-abuse charges.[11]

Her fourth book, co-written with husband Jed Rubenfeld,[25] is The Triple Package: The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (published in February 2014).[26] The book received positive reviews from a number of sources. Lucy Kellaway, writing for Financial Times, called it "the best universal theory of success I've seen."[27] Emily Brockes, writing on behalf of The Guardian commended the book for "draw[ing] 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."[28]. The Guardian also published a satirical review-cum-summary written by John Crace, citing one of the Triple Package Traits – Impulse control is to "resist this book."[29]. The book was also roundly criticized because of cultural stereotyping and lack of consideration of additional factors such as intergenerational wealth transmission.[30][31][32] In 2014, Forbes writer Susan Adams criticised Chua's book The Triple Package for promoting racist overtones. Adams thinks that Chua's suggestion that certain cultural groups are more conventionally successful than others given Chua's "three-pronged prescription [of success]" is at best "pop psychology."[33] An empirical study by Joshua Hart and Christopher Chabris found that "There was little evidence for the Triple Package theory."[34]

In February 2018, Chua's fifth book was published. Titled Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, it covers the topic of how loyalty to groups often outweighs ideological considerations. She examines how a failure to realize this has played a role in both the failure of US foreign policy abroad and the rise of Donald Trump domestically. The book received overwhelming positive reviews from across the political spectrum. David Frum, writing for The New York Times, praised Chua for her willingness to approach "the no-go areas around which others usually tiptoe."[35] The Washington Post described the book as "compact, insightful, disquieting, yet ultimately hopeful,"[36] and Ezra Klein called the book "fascinating" on his podcast.[37]

The book received a few criticisms. The Guardian called it "a well-intentioned book that never quite comes together."[38] The Financial Times stated that it was "an important book," and supported Chua's argument "that America's liberal elite has contributed to Trump's rise by failing to acknowledge its own sense of tribalism"; it did, however, also state that it left the "crucial question" of how to create a "non-tribal world" unanswered.[39]

Alleged misconduct at Yale Law School[edit]

Chua has recommended a large number of clerks for the D.C. Circuit. Controversy has arisen from allegations that Chua "groomed" potential clerks for the job by advising them to dress and act a certain way, so as to secure employment.[40]

On September 20, 2018, The Guardian reported that Chua and another prominent Yale law professor had advised female law students at Yale that their physical attractiveness and femininity could play a role in securing a clerkship with Kavanaugh. Chua denied the allegations, pointing out that her own daughter was approved for such a position with him. Yale subsequently did not find cause to sanction Chua, and she resumed regular teaching in the 2019-20 school year.[41][42] She later told The Guardian that her classes were "among the most popular at the law school, especially for women and minorities," and that she was nominated for a Yale Law Women teaching award in 2019.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Chua and her daughters at the 2011 Time 100 gala

Chua lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and is married to Yale Law School professor Jed Rubenfeld. She has two daughters, Sophia and Louisa ("Lulu").[7] The former appeared in the New Yorker as a Harvard member of Kappa Alpha Theta and ROTC. She said she was unprepared for the spotlight when Tiger Mother was released, and her membership in the latter two groups were part of a way to find normalcy.[44] Sophia graduated from Yale Law School in 2018; she majored in philosophy and South Asian Studies for her undergraduate studies.[45] On June 10, 2019, the Associated Press reported that Sophia would clerk for Justice Brett Kavanaugh.[46] Sophia married Timothy Mitchell at the family home on the 25th September 2021 and now lives in Tacoma. Lulu graduated from Harvard College, where she studied History[47] and was president of the Sab Club.[48] She is currently a student at Harvard Law School.[49]


  • World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. 2002. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0385512848
  • Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall. 2007. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385512848
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. 2011. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0143120582
  • The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. 2014. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-1594205460
  • Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations. 2018. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0399562853


  1. ^ Chabris, Christopher; Hart, Joshua (April 8, 2018). 别迷信虎妈的成功学 [How Not to Explain Success]. The New York Times (in Chinese). Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  2. ^ "Tiger Mom's New Book Stirs Up Culture Wars". Yahoo Shine. January 7, 2014.
  3. ^ "Tiger Mom Says Some Nationalities and Religions Are Superior to Others". January 6, 2014.
  4. ^ "Daughter of 'tiger mom' Chua picked as Kavanaugh law clerk". AP NEWS. 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  5. ^ "Amy Chua - Yale Law School". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  6. ^ Chua, Amy. "About Amy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-16. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d Chua, Amy (2011). Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Penguin Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-1594202841.
  8. ^ Chua, Leon O. (September 1971). "Memristor - The Missing Circuit Element". IEEE Transactions on Circuits Theory (IEEE) 18 (5): 507–519.
  9. ^ @amychua (2014-05-12). "Had Mother's Day dinner @ the studio of "Gunpowder Artist" Cai Guo-Qiang, who is from my ancestral hometown Quanzhou!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Maslin, Janet (January 19, 2011). "Amy Chua's 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' – Review". The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b Kira Cochrane (7 February 2014). "The truth about the Tiger Mother's family". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Another, Younger Side of 'Tiger Mother' Amy Chua". El Cerrito, CA Patch. 2011-02-07. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  13. ^ "Amy Chua". Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  14. ^ "Amy Chua". UW Faculty Web Server. University of Washington. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  15. ^ "H4A 2014 Summit:What Really Defines and Drives Success? with Amy Chua, Vivian Louie and Jeff Yang". 2014-11-03. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  16. ^ a b "Yale Law School | Faculty | Curriculum Vitae". Archived from the original on December 11, 2007.
  17. ^ Political Tribes by Amy Chua.
  18. ^ "Home entertainment". The Economist. December 4, 2003.
  19. ^ "Top political reads of the year". The Guardian. London. December 24, 2003.
  20. ^ Hodson, Heather (January 15, 2011). "Amy Chua: 'I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!'". The Guardian. London.
  21. ^ Carey, Tanith (2016-01-17). "Whatever happened to the original tiger mum's children?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  22. ^ Zeiss Stange, Mary (9 Jan 2013). The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. SAGE Publications. p. 183. ISBN 978-1452270685.
  23. ^ Chua, Amy. "The Book". Archived from the original on 2011-04-24. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  24. ^ Rauhala, Emily (14 August 2014). "'Tiger Mother': Are Chinese Moms Really So Different?". Time. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  25. ^ Cochrane, Kira (7 February 2014). "The truth about the Tiger Mother's family". The Guardian.
  26. ^ Chua, Amy; Rubenfeld, Jed (4 February 2014). The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America. Penguin Press. ISBN 978-1594205460.
  27. ^ Kellaway, Lucy. "Lessons in success from Eton and the Tiger Mother". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 October 2014 – via
  28. ^ Brockes, Emily (2014-02-05). "The Triple Package: What Really Determines Success – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  29. ^ "The Triple Package by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld – digested read". The Guardian. February 16, 2014.
  30. ^ "Tiger Mom's New Book Stirs Up Culture Wars". Yahoo Shine. January 7, 2014.
  31. ^ Hafiz, Yasmine (2014-01-06). "Amy Chua In 'The Triple Package' Claims Jews and Mormons Produce More Successful People". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  32. ^ Flood, Alison (8 January 2014). "'Tiger mother' returns with provocative theory of 'cultural group' success". The Guardian.
  33. ^ "Tiger Mom Says Some Nationalities and Religions Are Superior to Others". January 6, 2014.
  34. ^ Hart, Joshua; Chabris, Christopher F. (2016). "Does a "Triple Package" of traits predict success?". Personality and Individual Differences. 94: 216–222. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.041.
  35. ^ Frum, David (2018-03-01). "The Battle Over What It Means to Be American". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-03-13.
  36. ^ Rauch, Jonathan (2018-02-16). "Have our tribes become more important than our country?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  37. ^ Klein, Ezra (2018-02-26). "Podcast of February 26, 2018". The Ezra Klein Show.
  38. ^ Anthony, Andrew (2018-02-25). "Political Tribes review – an unreliable guide to the American Dream". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-04.
  39. ^ Tett, Gillian (2018-02-21). "Us and them: how America divided into tribes". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-03-04 – via
  40. ^ Edelman, Adam; Hunt, Kasie (September 20, 2018). "Yale Law dean: Reports that professor groomed female clerks for Kavanaugh 'of enormous concern'". NBC News. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  41. ^ "Courses | Yale Law School Course Information and Selection Site". Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  42. ^ Kirchgaessner, Stephanie; Glenza, Jessica (September 20, 2018). "'No accident' Brett Kavanaugh's female law clerks 'looked like models', Yale professor told students". The Guardian. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  43. ^ Kirchgaessner, Stephanie (2020-08-26). "Prominent Yale law professor suspended after sexual harassment inquiry". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-09-11.
  44. ^ Marantz, Andrew, "Ink: The Tiger Cub Speaks," The New Yorker, Feb. 10, 2014, p.20, 22.
  45. ^ "Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld". Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  46. ^ "Daughter of 'tiger mom' Chua picked as Kavanaugh law clerk". AP NEWS. 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  47. ^ "My Parents' Work-Life Balance: When Your Mom is "Tiger Mother" Amy Chua". 22 January 2018.
  48. ^ "With New Name, Sab Club Elects First Class of Men | News | the Harvard Crimson".
  49. ^ "Supreme Court Clerk Hiring Watch: The Return of the Tiger Cub".

Further reading[edit]

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