Ancient wisdom, contemporary challenges. Like Thomas Aquinas, Peter Thiel, and Elmore Leonard walked into a bar.


LAB Notes

My research on mimetic desire and culture.

Served up monthly.

Why do people want what they want?

Desire: it’s ubiquitous, social, contagious, and malleable. We unconsciously imitate the desires of others—and therefore we value jobs, spouses, brands, moral viewpoints, and even ourselves according to what other people want. This phenomenon has been exploited by internet trolls, politicians, and ad agencies, but it was never explained until the French thinker René Girard uncovered the mystery of mimetic desire. In his new book, Luke Burgis draws on his experience as an entrepreneur fluent in classical philosophy and theology to show how mimetic desire is the secret key to understanding why things seem to be going haywire; why our desires change direction and intensity so easily; and how we can channel our competing desires into building a better future.

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Hi, I’m Luke.

I spent eight years starting three companies in Silicon Valley followed by five years studying classic literature, philosophy, and theology in a quasi-monk-like existence in Rome. Then I mashed it all up.

I’m convinced that a form of spiritual entrepreneurship (which is more than “conscious”) is the only solution to what ails capitalism today. I think, write, and start stuff related to this.

I’m a voracious, insatiable reader and researcher, and the inspirations for and influences on what I think and write about come from all corners: from Bob Dylan’s lyrics to a theological treatise by Thomas Aquinas, a Charles Dickens novel to even a Coen Brothers film. I’m currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where I teach business and make a ruckus.

(That’s Don Quixote—my favorite character in my favorite novel—hanging above my couch.)