In a New York Times piece published Sunday, Yale Law School professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld suggested that the American dream is alive and well for Mormons, Jews and specific groups of immigrants due to three shared traits: a superiority complex, insecurity and impulse control.
"It's odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure," Chua and Rubenfeld wrote. "Yet it's precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself. Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment."
One of the three traits on its own will not produce the same results that the three combined traits will, but the traits must be kept in check to prevent dark undersides from emerging, the authors wrote in their forthcoming book, "The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America."