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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
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Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011)

by Amy Chua

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Amy Chua succeeds in demonstrating how hard-work, perseverance, discipline and one’s track mind pursuit of one’s objectives pay off. It is true. We can see in people and in nations like Germany and South Korea. It is also true that many kids are raised today without proper guidance and stimulation to succeed. Parents are fearful of raising kids. Some are terrified. Everything that can go wrong to a person is blamed on their childhood and upbringing. I think Amy Chua loves her daughters and wants them to succeed. The methods she uses to achieve this aim is questionable and presents many drawbacks: is she raising her daughters to play the instruments and symphonies perfectly but is she instilling in them the imagination to ever create an instrument or a symphony themselves? China is not exactly leading the way when it comes to creativity or advancement of technologies. Amy Chua also defines success - very narrowly - is attending an Ivy League university and being an academic the ultimate success? What percentage of the world’s population have access to that? The ones who did not get in are unsuccessful? However, my main problem with the book is that fundamentally I think Amy Chua seems to be seeking fame and fortune, a celebrity status. ( )
  Acia | Apr 26, 2016 |
I don't really want to add my late-to-the-party analysis to the furor and hubbub over this book, but I have to say: I enjoyed reading it. I think if you read it as a memoir full of the parenting-related musings of a very smart and driven woman, it's fantastic. If you read it as a parenting manual, it's a little (sometimes a lot) terrifying, but at least thought-provoking.

I don't think I'll quite be a tiger mother, but I think I might be less afraid to demand excellence and perseverance from my children than I otherwise might have been. Some children really do thrive when they're pushed, and certainly even those with great potential can fall short of it through sheer laziness/willfulness/rebelliousness. See my determination not to study for spelling bees because it "wasn't fair" if I learned words by memorizing a list instead of reading -- obviously it was just less fun to memorize lists than it was to read books! Whether or not it's a parent's job to overcome that (by any means necessary?) is open for discussion.

Also, a much quicker read than I expected. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Narrated by the author. For all the controversy this book generated, I think what was missed is that she finally learned her way wasn't always the highway. Parenting is an inexact art and science anyway, and thankfully her daughters weren't driven to drink by her ways (yet, anyway). I did find her incredibly obstinate and oblivious, a driven overachiever who believes everyone should subscribe to her view of the world. Amy Chua reads the audiobook. (Surprised, anyone? She probably felt no one would capture her feelings exactly). Actually it works quite well. Her entrenched stubbornness is maddening and shrill in her own voice but at the same time, you can tell that in hindsight even she knows being a tiger mom wasn't that effective. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
This book as a selection for my face-to-face book club this month, and I was really intrigued when the members of the book club picked this as a selection. I suspect that is was because of the controversy that the book as stirred.

I must admit that the timing for reading this book was good for me because my husband and I had just gone to a showing of the documentary The Race to Nowhere, so my reading of this book is probably somewhat tempered by the viewing.

While I understand the controversy surrounding the book, especially the reactions to some of the harsher exchanges in the book between Chua and her daughters. Honestly, however, I expected it to be much more disturbing of a read than I anticipated, and I expected to find myself angrier with Chua's parenting approach much more than I was.

Overall, I found the book well-written, insightful, and often very poignant as Chua recalled raising her daughter's and carefully explained the differences she sees between Chinese Mothers and Western Parents. One of the more interesting aspects is her explanation of Chinese Mother as she carefully notes that a parent does not have to be either Chinese or a mother to be a Chinese Mother, but rather it's more of a philosophical stance or belief system about the role of the child and the parent and beliefs about education. This does, however, mean, that much of this philosophy is not informed by the Chinese culture for those Chinese Mothers who are indeed Chinese.

As I was reading this, I found myself reflecting on my own upbringing and my parents approach to various aspects of child-rearing, including their beliefs about the value of education. And, I reflected on my recent viewing of The Race to Nowwhere. The one thing that I keep thinking was that it's really all about balance and helping your children find a balance in life while still understanding that school should be a priority.

I must admit that I do see value in some of Chua's parenting strategies but others, including the inability for a child to pick the musical instrument that he or she would like to learn, a bit too harsh. For instance, we have a piano and a trombone, neither of which my son has been interesting in learning to play. Instead, he wanted to learn to play the guitar, so after some discussion with family and friends, we have decided to pursue this desire. I will admit that I still hope that he will want to tickle the ivory at some point, but unlike Chua, I am not going to force piano lessons on him.

What I do think is appealing about this book is that as you read you realize that Chua does really want the best for both of her girls, and she does come to learn that she cannot push each of them in the same way or in the same way that she was pushed. However, there are times that the book will make very angry as they view the way she talks to her daughters and the way she often manipulates them to get them to succeed in the way she wants them too. ( )
  slpwhitehead | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
...Amy Chua's unexceptional memoir about her dedication to raising children who excel...
added by atbradley | editThe Guardian, Terri Apter (Jan 29, 2011)
 
“There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids’ true interests,” Amy Chua writes. She ought to know, because hers is the big one: “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” a diabolically well-packaged, highly readable screed ostensibly about the art of obsessive parenting. In truth, Ms. Chua’s memoir is about one little narcissist’s book-length search for happiness. And for all its quotable outbursts from Mama Grisly (the nickname was inevitable), it will gratify the same people who made a hit out of the granola-hearted “Eat, Pray, Love.”
 
Parenting and child psychology take up most of the self-help book genre, stressing the point that every parent must develop their own creative and suitable ways to deal with their child.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother stands out from its genre contemporaries, as author Amy Chua delves right into the techniques she used to raise her own genius daughters, who are very lucky. Why? Because they're Chinese! Yes, the author aims at educating the unfortunate rest of the world on how to raise their kids to be more like the genius race that is the Chinese.

Chua believes that the Chinese race is superior because of the mothers’ tough parenting techniques: for example, the Chinese mother considers an A- grade a bad grade, never compliments her kids in public, and only allows them to participate in activities from which they’ll win a trophy or medal; and it must be gold.

The controversy that this book has caused has been mainly down to how the author compares the know-it-all 'Chinese mother' to the typical good-for-nothing 'Western mother'. That being said, the book itself is very captivating, divided into stories and anecdotes that are both educating and suspenseful, with organized profiles on her family. Her controversial theory, however, may jar with parents who do not fall in line with the author’s ideals.

It’s important to remember that everyone has their own parenting methods. So, if you come out with just one thing from this book, it may be that if having no social life, being forced into hobbies, and being under constant pressure to score the best grades is what it takes for a kid to be genius, then perhaps it’s not worth it after all.

It’s easier to read the book as an autobiography than as a self-help book; that way you can enjoy the mother’s thoughts on her daughters’ upbringing and the methods that she used. That way, the book won’t ruffle your feathers or come across as condescending to those who might be in the firing line of the straight-talking Chua.
 
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A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids.
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What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it.
I can't tell you how many Asian kids I've met who, while acknowledging how oppressively strict and brutally demanding their parents were, happily describe themselves as devoted to their parents and unbelievably grateful to them, seemingly without a trace of bitterness or resentment.

I'm not really sure why this is. Maybe it's brainwashing. Or maybe it's Stockholm syndrome. But here's one thing I'm sure of: Western children are definitely no happier than Chinese ones.
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Traces the rewards and pitfalls of a Chinese mother's exercise in extreme parenting, describing the exacting standards applied to grades, music lessons, and avoidance of Western cultural practices.

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