There’s a seductive force that leads entrepreneurs to battle for the approval of Shark Tank judges; that makes 1% of books account for 80% of total book sales; and that helped Peter Thiel make the first outside investment in Facebook. It turns out that why we passionately pursue some things and don’t care about others is more complicated than we ever realized—and its story has never been told, until now.
A groundbreaking exploration of why we want what we want, and a toolkit for freeing ourselves from chasing unfulfilling desires
As an undergraduate studying philosophy at Stanford, Peter Thiel met French polymath René Girard and was introduced to his theory of “mimetic desire”—the idea that most human wanting comes from imitating the desires of others. Each of us is surrounded by people who generate, shape, and manipulate our desires at every turn.
The consequences of mimetic desire are startling. Because people learn to want what other people want, they are easily drawn into rivalries and conflict. But mimetic desire does not have to be in control. We are free to choose. And those who understand mimetic desire have a tremendous advantage over those who don’t—they can use it for good or for ill.
Drawing on his experience as an entrepreneur and teacher with a background in classical philosophy, Luke Burgis shows how to counteract the mimetic forces of the market by turning blind wanting into intentional wanting—not by trying to rid ourselves of desire, but by desiring differently. Burgis shows how to achieve more independence from trends and bubbles, how to feel more in control of the things we want, and ultimately how to find more meaning in our work and life by grounding them in desires that will never fade away.
Internal conflict is almost always a greater threat than external competition. Discover the causes of conflict and transform them into a force of unity.
Please note that due to the number of emails that we receive, we cannot respond to every one.
My notes as a creator in an algorithmic world—learning when to ride and when to drive.