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Free Live Event: Insight Conversation with Luke Burgis, author of "Wanting"



Have you ever wondered why you want what you want? Do you sometimes struggle to even know what it is you actually want?  

Often the conflicted nature of our behavior and the struggle to make good decisions has less to do with discipline, and more to do with the lack of clarity that comes from the confusing world of desire within us. If you want to experience greater clarity in your life, it’s important to first recognize that many of your desires are not your own. 

Join Steven Lawson in conversation with Luke Burgis, as they explore the core ideas of Burgis’s new book, “Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life.” 

We will cover...

- What is mimetic desire and why it matters?

- How the desires of others impact our personal goals and vision.

- How to become anti-mimetic and live in accordance with your deeper purpose.

- The connection between desire, monks, and personal productivity.




About Wanting

A groundbreaking exploration of why we want what we want, and a toolkit for freeing ourselves from chasing unfulfilling desires.

Gravity affects every aspect of our physical being, but there’s a psychological force just as powerful―yet almost nobody has heard of it. It’s responsible for bringing groups of people together and pulling them apart, making certain goals attractive to some and not to others, and fueling cycles of anxiety and conflict. In Wanting, Luke Burgis draws on the work of French polymath René Girard to bring this hidden force to light and reveals how it shapes our lives and societies.

According to Girard, humans don’t desire anything independently. Human desire is mimetic―we imitate what other people want. This affects the way we choose partners, friends, careers, clothes, and vacation destinations. Mimetic desire is responsible for the formation of our very identities. It explains the enduring relevancy of Shakespeare’s plays, why Peter Thiel decided to be the first investor in Facebook, and why our world is growing more divided as it becomes more connected.

Wanting also shows that conflict does not arise because of our differences―it comes from our sameness. Because we learn to want what other people want, we often end up competing for the same things. Ignoring our large similarities, we cling to our perceived differences.

Drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur, teacher, and student of classical philosophy and theology, Burgis shares tactics that help turn blind wanting into intentional wanting--not by trying to rid ourselves of desire, but by desiring differently. It’s possible to be more in control of the things we want, to achieve more independence from trends and bubbles, and to find more meaning in our work and lives.

The future will be shaped by our desires. Wanting shows us how to desire a better one.

“This book makes a startling case that many of our goals are merely reflections of what we think others want. It’s a spellbinding read, and it will leave you rethinking your own motivations for months and maybe even years later.” --Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

"[A] fascinating treatise that desire is often misdirected. ... Through thoughtful anecdotes, Burgis makes a case that 'the transformation of desire happens when we become less concerned about the fulfillment of our own desires and more concerned about the fulfillment of others’ desires'." --Publishers Weekly

“One of the secrets to happiness is learning how to balance what we have with what we want. In Wanting, Luke Burgis masterfully shows us how to understand and manage our desires, and thus achieve more meaning and purpose in our lives and work.” --Arthur C. Brooks, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School

"Is societal desire and your own desire driven by unconscious mimicking of models? Wanting, Luke Burgis's deep exploration of the human psyche, takes you on a personal and historical journey through the lens of desire. Reading this book, you just might find that your past choices veered toward unconscious decision making. And, your view of history will become richer. This book is a personal journey worth taking." --Julie Wainwright, Founder & CEO of The RealReal

"Luke Burgis’ Wanting is a brilliant exploration of the hidden and powerful dynamics of desire operating in our age of social media memes, commercial rivalry, and rising partisan scapegoating and violence. By helping us understand the destructive power of mimetic desire he offers a way to extricate ourselves and our communities from its harmful grip to form a more human, empathetic, and value-based world that seeks to build up people rather than products. It’s a call to discernment and a deeper fulfillment that lights a path beyond the darkness of our current world." --Stephen Hanselman, New York Times bestselling co-author of Lives of the Stoics and The Daily Stoic


About Luke Burgis

Luke Burgis has founded and led multiple companies. He’s currently entrepreneur-in-residence and director of programs at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at the Catholic University of America, where he also teaches business and develops new education initiatives. He's also the founder and director of Fourth Wall Ventures, an incubator for people and companies that contribute to the formation of a healthy human ecology. He graduated from NYU Stern School of Business and later from a pontifical university in Rome, where he studied theology. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Claire.

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