Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother rose to controversial fame on its simple, racist thesis that “Chinese mothers are superior.” Now Chua has teamed up with her husband to controversially explore racism in another book, this one about why certain “national-origin groups” are more successful than others. Tobar gratifyingly dismantles this drek, which he calls “sloppy” and “shallow.” It’s a fun ride.
De Botton retains credentials both as an approachable modern “philosopher” (by publishing yet another slight volume about a narrow subject) and one of the world’s most condescending assholes (that subtitle, blech). Jack wrangles with him well, taking him to task for Gladwellian simplifications and obfuscations, ultimately finding it propagandish and far from thorough.
I’m not sure exactly how useful parenting books are to childless people—probably about as much use as my set of Perfect Pushups are to me. Still, the review is a bit interesting. It seems Senior’s book takes a semi-historical view of parenting, tracking the time when children went “from being our employees to our bosses” as she writes. I take exception to the notion that parents are happier than people without children, but Senior does caveat that they are also more miserable. Plus, I find the title intriguing. Not enough to, you know, read the book, but intriguing.