Why are Jews so successful? This article will tell you what does—and does not—account for the extraordinary worldly success of the Jews.
Jews comprise a tiny percentage of the world population, about 0.2%, yet they hold enormous wealth and power. 10 of the top 50 billionaires are Jews—which is highly disproportionate representation. Also, think of all the Jewish entrepreneurs, hedge fund managers, and Hollywood moguls. There is no question that Jews are what Yale law professor Amy Chua would call a “market dominant minority.”
How do you define success?
For our purpose, we are going to define success as monetary wealth. I fully realize that money isn’t everything. There are other factors that determine one’s happiness: family, health, job, home, and faith all play a bigger role in a person’s happiness than money alone. But happiness is not tangible like money, and money does contribute to a happy life, all other things being equal.
Not all Jews are wealthy
Before we begin, let’ get one thing out of the way. Not all Jews are successful. The vast majority of Jews are middle class. They get up and head to their wage slave jobs every morning just like everyone else.
Still, there is no denying that there is a segment of Jews who are wildly successful. There is a reason for it.
It is not Jewish spirituality
There’s a misconception that there is something special about the Jewish religion—Judaism—that attracts success. The thinking is that Judaism’s rules might contain principles that will lead to worldly success. For example, I read an article about young Koreans who are reading the Talmud in the hopes that it contains the principles of success. There is even a book by a conservative rabbi that purports to teach you the Jewish rules for success.
The idea that the Jewish religion is inherently successful is nonsense. Most successful Jews are atheists who don’t practice any faith. They are no more likely to open the Talmud than they are to read the New Testament. Strictly religious Jews, on the other hand, tend to be poor. Both in the US and Israel, many super Orthodox Jews are on welfare—hardly the kind of success one would like to achieve.
While we are at it, we can also dismiss the idea that adhering to kosher laws or being able to read Hebrew makes Jews successful.
Jews are blessed by God
Another idea is that Jews are not successful because they observe Judaism, but simply they are part of God’s chosen race. This argument borrows on dispensationalist theology—the idea that God has always been primarily concerned with the Jews. In dispensationalism, the Church is merely a parenthesis until God gets back to his real love—Israel by earthly descent. In the meantime, because God loves the Jews so much, he blesses them with worldly prosperity.
This theory is based on bad theology. God always had the Kingdom of God has the ultimate goal. Ancient Israel was the Kingdom in seed form. The Church is the reality. In orthodox Christian theology, the Church is the “Israel of God.” This makes Christians, not unbelieving Jews, the chosen people.
It also presupposes that worldly success is proof of God’s blessing. But if you you are familiar with the lives of the saints, you know that it is often the saints who are persecuted the most. And if you have any doubts, just look at the life of Christ.
If Corey Feldman’s Memoir is true, Hollywood is filled with very wealthy Jewish men who are also pedophiles. I don’t think God is blessing pederasts just because they are Jewish.
So if it isn’t Judaism or being members of the “chosen race” that makes Jews successful, what is it? I believe it can be attributed to four things: 1. Tribal connections, 2. Entrepreneurial mindset, 3. Theatricality, 4. High Intelligence.
1. Tribal Connections
If you happen to be born Jewish, you are born into the best network in the world. Jews help each other. For example, I think one of the reasons that there are so many Jewish actors is that there are so many Jewish directors and producers who prefer to hire Jewish actors.
I was talking to a Jewish attorney who was telling me about how he started his firm. He said that the first few years were tough but that the synagogue made sure that he had a steady stream of business. In other words, other Jews gave him their legal work to ensure that he didn’t go under.
Another example comes from a friend of mine. She too is an attorney and she was thinking about applying for a very prestigious, hard-to-get job. With her credentials, she had very little chance of getting the position. However, she was an acquaintance of very powerful Jewish man who could have certainly gotten her the position through his connections. She was conflicted because she felt it was slightly underhanded to get the position by pulling strings. In the end, she decided against it, but the point is that she had this option—an option that most people don’t have.
Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg didn’t get to be an executive at Facebook by following the advice in her book. She got there through Jewish connections. Sandberg was born to a well-to-do Jewish family and went to Harvard. While at Harvard, she was mentored by Larry Summers, another Jew. Through Summers, Sandberg was able to get a prestigious gig at the World Bank. Later, she met Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, another Jew, at a Christmas party. That led to her getting hired at Facebook.
In other words, Jews take care of their own. That doesn’t mean they will support the lazy, only that they will try to help. And there are no strings attached. You don’t have to go to the synagogue or follow the kosher laws to receive help. You just have to be a fellow Jew.
Jewish tribal connections are why you should never listen to a Jew who lectures you about “white privilege.” White privilege is mostly a matter of being born into a two-parent family, but pretty much stops there. It is measly in comparison to the very real Jewish privilege.
Christians, on the other hand, do not support other Christians in the same way. Christians are extremely charitable, but their charity goes to help the “far away” poor—people in other countries or in the inner city who are often not even Christian. However, if you have started a business or if you are unemployed, you’ll get little tangible support from other Christians apart from the “I’ll pray for you” line.
And Christians wonder why they do not have more influence.
Now, there is nothing stopping Christians from taking care of their own. In fact, that is the biblical model. It is just that it doesn’t happen in practice.
2. Entrepreneurial mindset
Tribal connections are not the sole reason that Jews are extraordinarily successful. The most successful Jews also have a good head for business. This may be a function of the materialism of Jews. Even believing Jews think of this life as being all there is—most religious Jews do not look forward to a resurrection.
Many Jews are very savvy about money and marketing Perhaps this is something that they learn growing up. It enables them to see business opportunities and take risks that others would pass up.
For example, there are lots of Jewish authors of cookbooks and other “how to” books. I think that Gentiles could have written those books but thought, “who’d bother reading my book?” Jews seem to be more apt to put themselves out there. They are not always successful, but if you never take a swing, you will never hit the ball.
People like to be entertained and they will pay good money for it. Jewish culture seems to inherently grasp this. This accounts for Jewish dominance of Hollywood comedy, and literature. Some of the best comic book characters are the product of Jewish writers.
You can see some of this same flair for the dramatic in the black community with their dominance in music.
4. High Intelligence
Most of the wild success of Jews comes from the segment of Ashkenazi Jews. Ashkenazi Jews have an average IQ of 112 whereas the average white Americans or Europeans have an IQ of 100. That means there are some disproportionality smart Ashkenazi Jews out there.
Intelligence is not a guarantee of success, but when it is combined with other skills, it can be a gigantic help. I would bet that highly successful Jews like Larry Ellison or Jeff Bezos have genius or near genius IQs.
What portion of Jewish success is attributable to Tribal Connections versus the other factors? I don’t know. For talentless individuals, like Seth Rogen, Tribal Connections probably account for the majority of their success. For someone like Jeff Bezos, there is no question that his success comes from a high degree of entrepreneurial mindset and high intelligence.
The good news is that if you are a Gentile, there is nothing stopping you from emulating the last three. And maybe it is time that Christians start helping each other too.
Read More: Are You A Producer Or A Consumer?
1. WASPS and the Elite absolutely network like tribal Jews, low rent and middle class christians do not
2. christianity considers money evil, theres no way around it, judaism in both religion and culture does not
3. jews, chinese and indians all work together as a family to amass wealth, theres no kicking kids out at 18 to start over from nothing, jews can often live at home and even be supported as long as they are in education or starting outin a business or career, or jews work in a family business and take it over
4. jews, at least through most of history this may have changed in recent generations, dont particularly drink. the prediliction of non-jews for alcohol does them no favors
Michael Sebastian says
The only place where I may be inclined to differ slightly is that I think the bond between Jews is tighter than the one which binds elite WASPs. Still, I agree with every point you made.
Michael, quite interesting article. I beleve The Bible. The Jews are
Gods chosen people. The apple of
His eye. They are blessed by Him. God makes promises He never breaks. Never. That is the no. One reason. Period.
Old Broad says
*The love of* money is the root of all evil. I.e., don’t worship Mammon instead of God. Money is power, money is a tool that can be used for good or for evil. Don’t make it into your idol. (End of sermonette.)
M.W. Peak says
The opposite of the entrepreneurial mindset, I would say, is one of laziness and apathy and that is what I see crushes so many men, even if they have a tribe, theatrics, and intelligence.
M.W. Peak says
When I see poor Christians (at least in the Protestant south), I see the tribalism, but it is taken to such an extreme, that those who have the entrepreneurial mindset tend to be successful and their success is siphoned off by those who don’t, all in the name of tribal loyalty.
Basically, the lazy depend on the tribe to support them and loyalty is heralded as everything. This is what has become of southern family values.
Though he kind of looks like it, I don’t think Bezos is jewish.
Which part of the South do you live in? I’m located in Middle TN.
M.W. Peak says
Ah ok. I’m creating a tribe of men in my area and was going to extend an invitation to you if you lived near me. Enjoying your blog by the way.
M.W. Peak says
Thanks. I’ll be checking out The Gentlemen’s Club.
We can’t help each other..because that would be “recist”
Lex Corvus says
As far as I can tell, Jeff Bezos probably isn’t Jewish. Many of the richest entrepreneurs definitely are, though: Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page (half), Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, etc. Maybe switch to one of them as your main example?
“10 of the top 50 billionaires are Jews”
Those who are Manichean Illuminists on the inside and who are Jews on the outside should not be counted among real Jews. Thus the Rothschilds should not be counted among real Jews.
M.W. Peak says
I recently took some online IQ tests and averaged about 115. Now, I’m not sure how accurate the tests might be or how important IQ actually is, but it provoked in me a deep question. How many men have all the aspects mentioned for the success, including decent IQ, but lack either confidence or faith to apply these traits? I’ve seen too many.
If there is an evil, it is the way modernity crushes a man’s spirit and breaks his will, smothering all that God has gifted him with.
People that call themselves Christians have to drop this idea that the ethnic Jews of today are God’s chosen people. God’s chosen people are those that believe in Jesus Christ. Israel is now the new testament church. The Jews rejected, not only their Savior, they rejected God. So for this reason, the benefits of what the world has to offer is all they get before being sentenced to eternal hell.
David Spear says
I lived as an Agnostic most of my life, and went to an Episcopal Church with my wife for 39 years because it was quite important to her. But something made me return to Judaism after her Passing. Yes, I then did feel an immediate, extremely strong Tribal Connection. All Jews in the world are automatically citizens of Israel if they wish.
But I want to emphasize that this is in no way exclusive. There are many blacks, gays, poor, interfaith families, and agnostics that come to synagogue. And they are all very welcome provided they respect other members. They are not welcome because they are different, but because they are caring, loving people. We stress “Creating profound connections”. And we welcome them permanently to the tribe if they wish to convert. While my experience with other synagogues and denominations beside Reform are limited, I believe that most all synagogues would agree with this.
I also agree that most Jews have high intelligence. I have been tested with quite high intelligence. When I was young in an average semi-Jewish family, it was assumed that all Jewish children go to college. But when I wasn’t successful in college, I felt no censorship of me. I eventually did find a decent job where I stayed until retirement and pension.
As far as Entrepreneurial Mindset and Theatricality, I am not so sure. For instance, there are many Jewish doctors who certainly don’t share these characteristics. And poor people are welcome at synagogue as long as they are coming for more than a food handout. Indeed, I feel honored when they trust me enough to indicate that they are poor.
Great article. So true. My father told us that when we reached the age of eighteen we had to leave the house. I made it out just fine but my sister ended up having to drop out of school because she couldn’t afford to not work full time. It totally threw everything off for her and she was never able to return. To school. I never understood the significance or the logic of kicking your kids out at a certain age. Would it not be more wise to make sure they were at a stage where they could fend for themselves and not have to work a dead end job? I have Jewish friends and all of them are successful. One of them hardly works but when he needs money he is able to put together a game plan and come up with the funds he needs. It totally amazes me. Sometimes, he does it all while lounging pool side with a drink in hand. One if my sisters married a Jewish man and he is a doctor. His brother is a lawyer. You get the picture. Great people and fun to be around.
I agree entirely with every word
Tomas Teixeira says
Marlo D says
I’m in a relationship with a Jewish man and have been for the past year and a half. Strangely he is broke though and in a lot of debt. He has a good income, is very smart and has a great job in which he got though his mother’s friend who is a director at the company. He actually never really had the qualifications for his job and although he graduated college, he majored in something completely different. He didn’t have the work experience either but got the job because of his family connections. He doesn’t go into work very much (or do much at all for the job) ironically and still collects a decent paycheck. However he manages to spend it as fast as it comes in. A big part of this is because he is not at work very much, and not doing much work and when you are not working, you tend to spend more. He also has 2 children from his previous marriage and a decent sized home. He is wanting me to marry him but I am hesitant because of the debt situation and the mindset he has. He is expecting me to give up everything I have to move in with him and his kids and help him somewhat financially in a lot of ways. His family is very nice and he is very family oriented which I like but also to a fault. I feel his mother and family do not help him by handing him his job. His mother is also somewhat over involved, although a very nice lady, I feel she doesn’t do him any favors by helping him as much as she does at his age. He does not have an entrepreneur mindset, lacks drive, and seems content with what he is doing, even though he is spending more than he is making. He is very smart but has anxiety issues (OCD and phobias mainly). He has never been a drinker but smoked marijuana heavily when he was younger. He no longer does this. I believe although his family connections have helped him, they are also harming his growth in a lot of ways.
Chris Brennan says
Marlo, PLEASE don’t be so foolish.