This book, which is actually a memoir of Chua's own experience of trying to put into practice her own beliefs of child rearing, presents a sharp challenge to the generally accepted philosophy of child rearing in the west. Chua argues that, instead of constantly praising a child for the slightest success, parents should only expect absolute perfection from their children and nothing less. Note what she says to define her beliefs about child rearing:
Chinese parents demand perfect grades because they believe that their child can get them. If their child does not get them, the Chinese parent assumes it's because the child didn't work hard enough.
Whilst some may agree that there is a certain amount of truth in such a statement, at the same time, Chua does not stop at this controversial statement, and instead chooses to go further, saying at one stage:
The solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child.
The bulk of the book relates Chua's own experience of trying to bring up her two daughters by this philosophy, and is an honest if somewhat disturbing account of her successes and failures. Whilst this method did produce results in the case of her daughters, at the same time the extremes to which Chua went should hopefully make us question the price of success. Thus the thesis of the story is that we in the west have got it wrong when it comes to raising children and that we should adopt much tougher tactics.