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University of Michigan

The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know

University of Michigan via Coursera


This engaging course is designed to help you achieve the success that you desire. Drawing on decades of scientific research, you will learn what the most successful people do differently than others, why IQ is not the most significant predictor of success (and can sometimes backfire), and why many commonly held beliefs hold people back from achieving their goals.

Although this course is based on the science of success, you will learn many practical ideas that you can apply to your own life immediately, particularly in three main areas:

• Getting better results at work (and school)
• Achieving career success (however you define success)
• Enjoying a meaningful, happy, and healthy life

By the time you finish this course you will know more than most people know about what predicts success in life. One of the most important lessons you’ll learn is that success is earned day-by-day through small wins - small, achievable actions that together can help you achieve your goals sooner and exceed even your own expectations. Therefore, you will have an opportunity to complete a detailed action plan through which you can turn what you learned into specific steps for achieving your most treasured life goals.


  • Introduction to the Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know
    • This course is designed to help you achieve the success in life that you desire and deserve. This module sets the foundation for the course and introduces you to the course objectives, as well as to four strategies that successful people use to achieve their life goals. In the first video, you’ll learn about the goals of the course and how a scientifically-based approach to success can help you achieve your life goals. In the second video, you’ll have the opportunity to think carefully about what success means to you, particularly in the areas of achieving better and more meaningful results at work, achieving the career success that you desire, and enjoying a happy, healthy life. In the third video, you’ll learn about the most common myths about success that can distract you from achieving your life goals, as well as what researchers have found really predicts success in life. Happy learning!
  • The Power of Beliefs
    • In this module, you’ll learn how some beliefs can hold you back from achieving your goals, while others – such as having a growth mindset and positive core self-evaluations - can propel you forward toward your goals. You will also learn how having a growth mindset can protect people against the harmful effects of bias and prejudice and why people with positive core self-evaluations tend to earn significantly more money, regardless of their grades in school and family background. By the end of this module, you’ll have specific strategies for creating beliefs that will help you set high goals and succeed in achieving them.
  • The Power of Expertise
    • In this module, you’ll learn about the importance of having an expertise that is meaningful to you and contributes to others. In the first video, you’ll learn about the role that expertise played in Pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s successful emergency landing of a United Airlines flight with 155 people on board into the Hudson River after both engines failed. You’ll learn how Sullenberger developed his expertise and how you can apply these lessons to your own pursuit of expertise. In the second video, you’ll learn about what sets experts apart from non-experts, as well as the essential role that mental representations and chunks play in the development of expertise. You’ll also learn what birds, squirrels, and elite London cab drivers have in common and what this means for you. Hint: It has to do with how the brain develops in experts. In the third video, you’ll learn a step-by-step strategy for engaging in the same type of practice that experts use to develop their expertise.
  • The Power of Self-Motivation
    • In this module, you’ll learn about two types of self-motivation that predict success: Conscientiousness and Grit. The first video focuses on conscientiousness – what it is, how it can pay off for you in school and at work, and the benefits conscientiousness has on your health. You’ll also discover researchers have learned about success from a famous series of studies about children, marshmallows, and delayed gratification. The second video focuses on grit – what it is, how it differs from conscientiousness, how it leads to success, what specific techniques you can use to become grittier, and how to avoid some of the downsides to being gritty. You will also have the opportunity to assess your own conscientiousness and grit.
  • The Power of Relationships
    • In this module, you’ll learn about the power of developing mutually supportive relationships in predicting success and well-being in life. You’ll learn what social capital is, why it is a competitive advantage, and how it contributes to your success, as well as to the success of organizations and societies. You’ll learn to avoid several myths associated with relationship building, as well as four skills that are essential to developing relationships and social capital: developing self-awareness, creating your brand, being an energizer, and building your network of relationships. You’ll also have an opportunity to think about your brand, as well as map out and assess the effectiveness of your own network based on four criteria: size, structure, diversity, and strength of relationships.
  • The Power of a Plan: Creating Your Action Plan
    • By the time you reach this module, you will know more than most people know about what predicts success in life. You will now have the opportunity to turn what you know into actions that will help you achieve your life goals. You will develop an action plan that will have three parts: The heart (identifying what is most important to you in life), head (identifying the one area that you will work on in the short-term to move you toward achieving your goals), and hands (creating the steps you will take in the short-term to make progress in that specific area). You’ll learn about the power of small wins in achieving your life goals, as well as the importance of resilience and self-compassion when faced with setbacks.
  • Your Personalized Action Plan
    • Once you have watched all the videos, successfully completed the four quizzes, and created your personalized action plan, you will have successfully completed the course! You can use the Personalized Action Plan Template (found in the submissions area of the assignment) to create your action plan. Your action plan will be reviewed and graded by another course participant. If needed, you can resubmit your action plan until you achieve a passing grade. Of course, you should continue to refine your action plan throughout the different stages of your life. I wish you the very best on your journey to the life you desire and deserve.

Taught by

Paula Caproni


4.7 rating, based on 21 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 2712 ratings

Start your review of The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know

  • This is another course that deserves a place in the Class Central top50 all time. It has the potential of changing your life for the better. The course not only gives you scientific insights on what are the main characteristics of successful people…
  • "The Science of Success" was a very good course to understand the common trait of successful people. Among the four major categories, I found the section on "The Power of Relationship," especially on personal branding, very interesting. Whether yo…
  • It's a very inspiring course in which we learn advices and elements who leads to success in life, work and carreer.
  • A good class. Many good practical tips. This adds to another great class from the UoM school of business. I took this class a while ago, still, remember recommending it to many young students to take it and explore the ideas discussed in this class.
  • Profile image for Jayabrata Das
    Jayabrata Das
    One thing is for sure, you will know more about success and how to increase your chances of becoming successful after finishing this course. The course materials are well-organized and the lectures explained them well. The quiz and assignments are g…
  • The Science of Success is a well-rounded course. In many ways, it is similar to the popular MOOC "Learning How to Learn". It is short, interesting, and comprehensive.
    The course consists of lectures that cover the keys to success that have emerged through a comprehensive review of successful people.
    Students are introduced to concepts like importance of a positive mindset, significance of perseverance and what separates experts from non-experts among other topics.The best thing about the course is that it guides you on developing an ACTION PLAN for identifying and achieving goals that matter to you.
    I have benefitted highly from taking this course and I would recommend it to everyone.
  • Giacomo Peracini
    Good course, interesting. Two main problems:
    - not so much material
    - THE BOOK: every week they try to sell you the book. Ok guys, we understand that, there is no need to put every week the link to buy it.

    Btw, teacher is really good. The only negative thing about it is that they take aways slides while they are speaking about it, sometimes when she has not finished to talk about it.
  • Taking The Science of Success course felt like a stepping stone. My takeaway from this course is that no matter where I am in life, I want to be an energizer and help spread positive energy. The journey can be difficult, it is going to be more meaningful if I can help spread positive energy on my way.
  • Excellent course. I totally enjoyed it. Perfect explanations, lots of examples and case studies. Learned a new, practical thing about the mindset of successful people, and how to apply it in my own life, with each lesson. Can't recommend it enough.
  • Carmen Cruz
    Eqsy course that goes through all the mayor research in what predicts success, with a project to improve your life at the end.

    I wish it would have been more in depth and there had been more activities but it was fine as it was.
  • This course can help everyone know what success truly means and all the necessary keys to reach it and make a self development in life.
  • Anonymous
    I think this the base of all the learning that i am gone learn on my life how easily and calmly mam explain the the one of the most complex thing on earth brain and how it work and i also like the gesture of teacher they just filled me with a lot of positive and confidence that anybody can be a genius and also can learn anything thank you for this wonderful experience
  • Anonymous
    I have just completed this course which is really insightful and helpful to access personal awareness as well as the grits of growth and fixed mindsets. Nonetheless, I have not received the completion certificate despite free certificate course.
  • Profile image for Anna D
    Anna D
    This is a useful course which offers new insight, and may assist you in your journey of personal development. It explores the traits of successful people, explaining the science behind it, and also provides suggestions on how to cultivate these cha…
  • Anonymous
    Useful and clear information. An d thank you. Pdf format give more useful onepls give to . Science and success lot of technology imporve ment in every area. Nano technology , micro. Etc going on.teachnolgy give awareness. Most easy to work. Technology without disturbing environment will be good
  • Anonymous
    Very engaging course, the material is enriching and inspiring.
    Taught me a lot of things, would recommend to anyone wanting to broaden his soft-skills and hear about data-driven insights about Leadership, Success.

    Thanks a lot Paula !
  • Very good class with excellent information for self improvement. The professor is well versed in this subject matter. The pace of the class is manageable with informative videos and readings.
  • Ajinkya Kolhe
    Good collection of important points required for Success. Things like mindset, networking, deliberate practice etc.. A good course with a few actionable insights one can immediatly start using.
  • It was great and it helped me to reflect about my own conception of success and the areas on which I must work for achieving my personal and professional goals.
  • Anonymous
    I’m almost done with this course and I really like it! The reviews are on point. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and received a lot of satisfaction!!

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