Jim Hopkinson is an author, writer, and speaker living in New York City. His focus is on career development for the new economy, showing how new media, technology and branding are changing how people look at their career and lifestyle. Read more...
I had definitely heard the study quoted several times, although sometimes it is told with Yale as the school, and the year being 1953.
But here’s where it gets interesting.
I came across the blog of Sid Savara, who wrote a post called “Fact or Fiction? The Truth About The Harvard Written Goal Study.” It turns out he had written a similar article as the one you’re reading right now, but in his research, he discovered no evidence that this famous study ever happened! He couldn’t find any definitive sources, and noted a Fast Company magazine article called “If Your Goal Is Success, Don’t Consult These Gurus” that interviewed members of the 1953 Yale class, and were unable to find evidence to substantiate the story.
He also found an official stance from Yale: There was no relevant record, nor did anyone recall the purported study of the Class of 1953, or any other class.