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Study of the Day: Ambition May Bring Success, but Not Happiness

New research from Notre Dame suggests that the enviable careers of go-getters may be incompatible with life satisfaction and longevity.

by Hans Villarica
Publication: The Atlantic

April 5, 2012


PROBLEM: People who are ambitious tend to attend the best universities and go on to have prestigious careers with high salaries. But do they necessarily lead happier and healthier lives as well?

METHODOLOGY: University of Notre Dame management professor Timothy Judge used data from the Terman life-cycle study to track 717 high-ability individuals over seven decades. He measured the participants' ambition from childhood to the beginning of their careers. The educational backgrounds of the subjects ranged from finishing with high school diplomas to attending some of the world's best universities -- Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern, Berkeley, and Oxford.

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