3 Books to Read in February

Tiger Mom’s latest venture; the effect of parenthood on parents; what to worry about at the dinner table

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"The Triple Package"

by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld; The Penguin Press

Amy Chua, author of the 2011 bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, about raising successful children, is at it again, this time writing with her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, a Yale law professor. Their topic: explaining why certain ethnic and religious groups are so much more successful than others. Why do Indian-Americans earn almost twice the national average, why are 20 of Forbes magazine’s top 50 richest Americans of the Jewish faith, and why are East Asians so heavily represented at top-tier schools? According to the authors, it's because their parents raised them with an emphasis on three traits that are currently unfashionable in America: a belief in their group's superiority, a sense of being outsiders in the overall culture, control of their impulses. The Triple Package offers a theory of success—and parenting—that is as absorbing as it is controversial.

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"All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting"

by Jennifer Senior; Ecco


Are parents happier than nonparents? Science says no, and the author agrees that at certain stages of a child’s life (for example, when she is a teenager fighting for her right to wear outrageous clothes), science definitely has a point. But measuring happiness is not an exact science, the author observes, and she sets out to interview parents of children of all ages, to explore the overall effect children have on their parents’ lives. 


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"The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"

by Elizabeth Kolbert; Henry Holt


All it takes to cause a major extinction (defined as one big enough to dramatically alter the diversity of life on earth) is “one weedy species” capable of invading ecosystems all over the planet.  This time, the weedy species is us, and our tendency to push the limits of the natural world has left us on the precipice of an extinction that some say could alter the course of life on earth. Kolbert followed botanists and marine biologists deep into rainforests and reefs to familiarize us with the world’s most endangered species and to ask us to appreciate the fragility and importance of the ecosystem in which we live. 


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Next: 13 Books to Curl Up With This Winter


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