Larry Summer vs. the Tiger Mom

In a session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, the organizers pitted Larry Summers against Prof. Chua, perhaps better known as The Tiger Mom.

Surprisingly for an academic who has won almost all the glittering prizes, Larry Summers challenged the idea—cherished by Ms. Chua and her admirers—that academic success as a route to a rewarding career should be the sum of a child's ambitions. "Which two freshmen at Harvard have arguably been most transformative of the world in the last 25 years?" he asked. "You can make a reasonable case for Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, neither of whom graduated." If they had been the product of a Tiger Mom upbringing, he added, their mothers would probably have been none too pleased with their performance.

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