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.