What drives success
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What Drives Success

Summary
Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld's New York Times opinion based on The Triple Package is summarized.  Their ideas are then framed by
This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory is positioned relative to the natural sciences.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
CAS theory
and reviewed. 


What Drives Success?
In Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld's New York Times Opinion piece titled 'What Drives Success?' based on their book The Triple Package, they argue that three shared traits have supported the success of immigrant groups with members who far exceed the average achievement of the US is the United States of America.   population overall.  The traits are:
  1. Superiority complex - based on a deep belief in their exceptionality. 
  2. Insecurity - Ruben Rumbaut's study of 5,000 immigrant children shows they feel that they or what they have done is never good enough. 
  3. Impulse control is an emotion, the ability to trade current for future use of resources.  Hunter-gatherers are likely to benefit from immediate use of resources, since they have little opportunity to store them.  Otherwise the resources, including men & women to reproduce with, may be lost, stolen or degrade.  Since the intense drive for men to breed with any available woman can lead to costly disputes and lack of focus on strategic activities, self-control is promoted by parents and other powerful group leaders.  But the frontal cortex can promote willpower to increase self-control.  Genes also allocate more resources early in the life-cycle to avoid compounding failure to leverage resources to reproduce, with agent accidents and deaths.  

Initially each rising ethnic group feels insecure.  This insecurity is drummed into the children.  "Ninety nine percent is not good enough.  You will end up on the streets."  The children develop a motivation to achieve because of an acute case of obligation to redeem for their parents' sacrifices. 

In comparison they suggest white parents focus on encouraging their children to improve their social skills. 

Chua and Rubenfeld argue that anyone can cultivate the three traits, but it takes grit is required to defer an immediate reward for a larger delayed reward.  Such self-control is associated with the frontal cortex.  Contemplating the immediate reward activates the mesolimbic dopamine pathway - limbic targets.  Contemplating the delayed rewards activates the mesocortical dopamine pathway - frontal cortex targets. 
to succeed.  They use Supreme Court associate justice Sonia Sotomayor as an example.  In effect extraordinary people can use the mechanism to overcome the odds stacked against them. 

Hence Chua and Rubenfeld support James Heckman's argument that
Salman Khan argues that the evolved global education system is inefficient and organized around constraining and corralling students into accepting dubious ratings that lead to mundane roles.  He highlights a radical and already proven alternative which offers effective self-paced deep learning processes supported by technology and freed up attention of teams of teachers.  Building on his personal experience of helping overcome the unjustified failing grade of a relative Khan:
  • Iteratively learns how to teach: Starting with Nadia, Leveraging short videos focused on content, Converging on mastery, With the help of neuroscience, and filling in dependent gaps; resulting in a different approach to the mainstream method. 
  • Assesses the broken US education system: Set in its ways, Designed for the 1800s, Inducing holes that are hidden by tests, Tests which ignore creativity.  The resulting teaching process is so inefficient it needs to be supplemented with homework.  Instead teachers were encouraging their pupils to use his tools at home so they could mentor them while they attended school, an inversion that significantly improves the economics. 
  • Enters the real world: Builds a scalable service, Working with a real classroom, Trying stealth learning, At Khan Academy full time,  In the curriculum at Los Altos, Supporting life-long learning. 
  • Develops The One World Schoolhouse: Back to the future with a one room school, a robust teaching team, and creativity enabled; so with some catalysis even the poorest can become educated and earn credentials for current jobs. 
  • Wishes he could also correct: Summer holidays, Transcript based assessments, College education;
  • Concludes it is now possible to provide the infrastructure for creativity to emerge and to support risk taking. 

Following our summary of his arguments RSS frames them from the perspective of complex adaptive system (CAS) theory.  Disruption is a powerful force for change but if its force is used to support the current teachers to adopt new processes can it overcome the extended phenotypic alignment and evolutionary amplifiers sustaining the current educational network? 

education
dollars for the underprivileged are best spent on early childhood intervention, beginning at preschool age, when kids are most formable. 

Chua and Rubenfeld see the three traits in action in the founding of the US.  The revolutionaries:
  • Had an outsized belief in US exceptionality. 
  • Were insecure being threatened by all of the great European powers.  
  • Inherited the puritan belief in impulse control. 
But then, Chua and Rubenfeld state, "prosperity and power had their predictable effect, eroding the insecurity and self-restraint that led to them."  In consequence they argue that un-won wars, financial crashes and the rise of China will have the beneficial effect of increasing US insecurity.  "Those who talk of America's 'decline' miss this critical point.  America has always been at its best when it has tried to overcome adversity and prove its worth on the world stage.  For better or worse, it has that opportunity again today."   

This page introduces the complex adaptive system (CAS) theory frame.  The theory is positioned relative to the natural sciences.  It catalogs the laws and strategies which underpin the operation of systems that are based on the interaction of emergent agents. 
John Holland's framework for representing complexity is outlined.  Links to other key aspects of CAS theory discussed at the site are presented. 
CAS theory
can place the three traits within the US federal system.  It suggests:
Chua and Rubenfeld's opinion piece helps explain the oft told rags-to-riches stories associated with certain US immigrant groups.  Placed within the broader evolving US system it seems unlikely to be enough to support the advance of such groups in the proximate future. 




























































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  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
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