Jeroen van Baar – round table discussion



This workshop will be a lecture of half an hour and after that a round table discussion.


The achievement generation

Today’s twenty-somethings are determined to make the most of now. We are willing – and able – to go

further than ever before to get what we feel we deserve in life. We aim for top-tier education, the best

possible job, a perfect relationship, amazing traveling experiences, the coolest parties, a great resume

and a Facebook profile that summarizes the awesomeness of our lives. We don’t just want to be the

best we can be, we want to be the best there can be. But does this performance-driven approach also

maximize life satisfaction? And how does it influence society?


In his recent book De prestatiegeneratie (The achievement generation), Jeroen van Baar searches for the

origins of his eagerness to excel. He doesn’t just analyze himself but his entire generation, from the high

potentials that crowd the labor market to the hipsters that inhabit Amsterdam. Why is everyone trying

to optimize their lives? Drawing upon interviews, anecdotes and science, Jeroen argues that we should

find value in mediocrity, if we want to be happy with our lives.


Jeroen van Baar (class of 2011) did his master’s in Neuroscience & Cognition at Utrecht University and is

now a PhD student in decision neuroscience at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior

in Nijmegen. He lives in Utrecht.

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