Amy Chua

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Amy Chua
Chua Speaking at Harvard in 2016
Born (1962-10-26) October 26, 1962 (age 54)
Champaign, Illinois, United States
Occupation The John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard College (A.B.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Subject Intentional relations, political science, sociology, economics, parenting
Spouse Jed Rubenfeld
Children Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld
Louisa Chua-Rubenfeld

Amy L. Chua (traditional Chinese: 蔡美兒; simplified Chinese: 蔡美儿; pinyin: Cài Měi'ér; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chhòa Bí Lî, born October 26, 1962) is an American lawyer and author. She is the John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. 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 specializes in the study of international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and the law and is noted 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 Monthly’s Brave Thinkers, and one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers.[1]


Early life[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.[2] Her father, Leon O. Chua, is an electrical engineering and computer sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[3] His ancestral hometown is Quanzhou, Fujian.[4] Chua's mother was born in China in 1936, before relocating to the Philippines at the age of 2.[2] She subsequently converted to Catholicism in high school and graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, with a degree in chemical engineering, magna cum laude.[2] Chua's parents lived in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation in World War II and were liberated by Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his troops.[5]

Chua was raised as a Roman Catholic and lived in West Lafayette, Indiana.[6] 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.[7] Chua went to El Cerrito High School and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa 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. She obtained her J.D. cum laude in 1987 from Harvard Law School,[8] where she was the first Asian American officer of the Harvard Law Review, serving as executive editor.[9][10] 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.[10]


Chua has written four books: two studies of international affairs, a parenting memoir, and her most recent on ethnic-American culture and its correlation with socio-economic success within the United States.

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,[11] and named by Tony Giddens in The Guardian as one of the "Top Political Reads of 2003",[12] 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 describes as being typical for Chinese immigrant parents.[13] Although the book is often portrayed as a how-to manual for parenting, Chua herself describes it as "a complex account of how children can become rebellious and alienated when one-size-fits-all education philosophies are applied, regardless of their personality or aptitudes."[14] The book was an international bestseller in the United States, South Korea, Poland, Israel, Germany, United Kingdom, and China, and has been translated into 30 languages.[15][16] 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.[17] Furthermore, the book provoked uproar after the release where Chua received death threats, racial slurs, and calls for her arrest on child-abuse charges.[7] The book continues to be highly influential. In January 2016, David Cameron praised "Tiger Mothers", stating "It is what the Tiger Mothers' battle hymn is all about: work, try hard, believe you can succeed, get up and try again."[18]

Her latest book, co-written with husband Jed Rubenfeld, is The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America (published in February 2014).[19] 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."[20] 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."[21] The book was also criticized because of what some described as cultural stereotyping.[22][23][24] An empirical study by Joshua Hart and Christopher F. Chabris found that "There was little evidence for the Triple Package theory."[25]

Chua also appears in author JD Vance's memoir and bestseller, Hillbilly Elegy. Chua's student at Yale, Vance wrote that she gave him "the best advice anyone has ever given me." Vance wrote in his acknowledgments, "Besides Tina, the person who deserves the most credit for this book's existence is Amy Chua, my Yale contracts professor, who convinced me that both my life and the conclusions I drew from it were worth putting down on paper."[26] Vance credits Chua as the "authorial grandmother" of Hillbilly Elegy. [27]

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"); Louisa is currently studying History at Harvard College, while Sophia graduated in 2015 and is currently attending Yale Law School[28] and was commissioned as an officer in the US military;[29] Chua, whose husband is Jewish, has stated that her children can speak Mandarin Chinese (Chua herself speaks Hokkien),[2] and they have been "raised Jewish".[14][30] Her daughters have stated that they would raise their children the same way they were raised, though with more allowance for their children's individuality.[14]

Chua is the eldest of four sisters: Michelle, Katrin, and Cindy. Katrin is a physician and a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine.[31] Cindy, who has Down syndrome, holds two International Special Olympics gold medals in swimming.[31][32]



  1. ^ Chua, Amy. "About Amy". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Chua, Amy (2011). Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Penguin Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-59420-284-1. 
  3. ^ Chua, Leon O. (September 1971). "Memristor - The Missing Circuit Element". IEEE Transactions on Circuits Theory (IEEE) 18 (5): 507–519.
  4. ^ "Had Mother's Day dinner @ the studio of "Gunpowder Artist" Cai Guo-Qiang, who is from my ancestral hometown Quanzhou!". Twitter. May 12, 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ Walsh, Colleen (November 12, 2012). "Memories and beginnings". Harvard Gazette. 
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (January 19, 2011). "Amy Chua's 'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother' - Review". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b Kira Cochrane (7 February 2014). "The truth about the Tiger Mother's family". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  8. ^ "Amy Lynn Chua, Attorney". Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ "H4A 2014 Summit:What Really Defines and Drives Success? with Amy Chua, Vivian Louie and Jeff Yang". Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Yale Law School | Faculty | Curriculum Vitae
  11. ^ "Home entertainment". The Economist. December 4, 2003. 
  12. ^ "Top political reads of the year". The Guardian. London. December 24, 2003. 
  13. ^ Hodson, Heather (January 15, 2011). "Amy Chua: 'I'm going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!'". The Guardian. London. 
  14. ^ a b c Carey, Tanith. "Whatever happened to the original tiger mum's children?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  15. ^ Zeiss Stange, Mary (9 Jan 2013). The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. SAGE Publications. p. 183. ISBN 9781452270685. 
  16. ^ Chua, Amy. "The Book". Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Emily Rauhala (14 August 2014) 'Tiger Mother': Are Chinese Moms Really So Different? Time. Retrieved 8 March 2014
  18. ^ Martin, Daniel (11 January 2016). "I want every teacher to be a Tiger Mum, says Cameron.". Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2016. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Kellaway, Lucy. "Lessons in success from Eton and the Tiger Mother". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  21. ^ Brockes, Emily. "The Triple Package: What Really Determines Success – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  22. ^ "Tiger Mom's New Book Stirs Up Culture Wars". Yahoo Shine. January 7, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Amy Chua In 'The Triple Package' Claims Jews and Mormons Produce More Successful People". The Huffington Post. January 6, 2014. 
  24. ^ "'Tiger mother' returns with provocative theory of 'cultural group' success". January 8, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Does a "Triple Package" of traits predict success?". ScienceDirect. 
  26. ^ Vance, J.D. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Harper. p. 259. 
  27. ^ "'Hillbilly Elegy' made J.D. Vance the voice of the Rust Belt. But does he want that job?". Washington Post. 
  28. ^ "Whatever happened to the original tiger mum's children?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  29. ^ "Graduating to a life in service". Harvard Gazette. Retrieved 2016-05-06. 
  30. ^ I Am Amazed by Amy Chua — Chris Abraham
  31. ^ a b Hong, Terry (January 9, 2011). "'Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,' by Amy Chua". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  32. ^ Special Olympians Come To Berkeley For Summer Games - News Story - KTVU San Francisco

External links[edit]