Who is Ruben Mersch?
Ruben studied philosophy and biology in Ghent. After completing his studies, he entered the pharmaceutical industry as an IT project leader. Until the company that he worked for was taken over by large American pharmaceuticals group. It was suddenly all about turning disease into profit and ideals were replaced by the pursuit of profit margins. So he quit and decided to write his first book.
In Oogklepdenken, Waarom wij allemaal idioten zijn (Blinkers; why we are all idiots) he closely examines human thinking. We tend to believe that we are rational beings, but is that the case? This book searches for pitfalls in our reasoning and unveils the idiot in each and everyone one of us. An idiot that makes us susceptible to the half truths and complete lies we encounter on a daily basis. His book was crowned with the Zesde Vijs prize, which SKEPP awards each year for achievements in disseminating objective knowledge.
After this success, he became a columnist at De Standaard, where he exposes one fallacy every two weeks.
His second book was released in 2016: Waarom iedereen altijd gelijk heeft (Why everyone is always right). Why do discussions result in two sides; both convinced about being the source of all wisdom? Why do we so gladly entrench ourselves behind what we believe to be the truth? He tries to answer these questions using the insights of psychologists, anthropologists, biologists, philosophers and an eighteenth-century preacher with a passion for billiards.
He then goes in search of solutions. He delves into the scientific literature in search of clues towards transcending the polarisation of our day. How do you convert a difference of opinion into a constructive debate? The result of this quest was published in 2018 under the title Van mening verschillen, Een handleiding (Difference of opinion - A guide).
Since January 2019, he has worked as a correspondent for De Correspondent. This involves writing two articles a month, in which he places Big Pharma under the microscope.
As a speaker, his main aim is to not bore people. His presentations barely contain text and he uses paranormal octopuses, dishonest politicians, cockroaches and the low-hanging pants of hip-hop artists to clarify his ideas.
I can look back at a very successful conference. There were over 200 visitors and I received very enthusiastic reactions from many of them. Ruben's contribution certainly played a part in this. His presentation was fascinating, well put together and contained nice images. His story worked very well with other presentations during the day. I sat at the front of the hall, so could see that the audience was captivated by Ruben's presentation from start to finish. He was also very good during the improvised Q&A session afterwards.
The keynote by Ruben Mersch was excellent and met our expectations perfectly. He is a very fascinating narrator. I would recommend him to everyone.
The presentation by Ruben was inspirational and the audience was very enthusiastic about it.
Ruben’s lectures were a huge success in terms of quality as well as quantity (number of attendees).