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 explains why Peter Thiel made the first outside investment in Facebook.

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WANTING: Our Secret Economy of Desire

by Luke Arthur Burgis

History is the story of human desire. Economists measure it, politicians poll it, businesses feed it. The French philosopher René Girard fundamentally saw desire as mimetic—or imitative: we humans take our cues about what is wantable from other people. In other words, we imitate the desires of others. This leads to rivalry, competition, and even violence. But the good news, writes Burgis, is that we can channel it for good. This book shows us how.

The forces of mimetic desire have shaped human history. Burgis explains how these forces operate and how they affect our lives on a daily basis.

It’s possible to counteract the mimetic forces of the market and world around us by transforming blind wanting into intentional wanting—not by ridding ourselves of desire, but by desiring something greater.

“If you want people to build a ship, help them yearn for the vast and endless sea.”


The hidden forces that shape our world.
Business is not driven by profit or performance or any amount of social do-gooding. Business is driven by desire. It’s possible to counteract the mimetic forces of the market by turning blind wanting into intentional wanting—not by ridding ourselves of desire, but by desiring something greater.

The Author

Luke Arthur Burgis

Luke Arthur Burgis is an author, professor of business, and co-creator of three startups valued at more than $100 million.  His unique perspective on business stems from diverse experiences: working on Wall Street, founding companies in Silicon Valley, living around the world, and studying classical philosophy, theology, and literature.

He is the author of Wanting: Our Secret Economy of Desire, which draws upon diverse examples to explore the hidden forces around us that shape why we want things and outlines a process for breaking free from destructive desires. Mr. Burgis is also the co-author with Dr. Joshua Miller of Unrepeatable: Cultivating the Unique Calling of Every Person.

Luke is currently the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship at The Catholic University of America. He’s a graduate of the Stern School of Business at New York University and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.


How Wanting Serves


Luke Burgis drives deep awareness and offers simple solutions to navigating an often complex world. His background in entrepreneurship, business, and study of the human condition [...] addresses the wants of his audiences while providing concepts and tools to help serve their needs.

David Jack
Global Master Trainer, Reebok International

Luke's storytelling ability, presence, and sincerity are exceptional. A truly impactful communicator who is able to speak wisdom in a highly personal way.

Andreas Widmer
Director, Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship

Luke weaves a tapestry of personal stories and anecdotes that communicate what matters most in life. From Bob Dylan to Robert Frost to Mother Teresa, he reminds us that at the core, we are moved by persons--not programs or things or the latest technology.

Richard Gordin, Esq.
Partner, Snell & Wilmer

Luke combines real-world experience in the business world, deep theological thinking, and a clear passion for helping people discover their unique vocations. Using his own fascinating background as an illustration, he inspires others to pursue their personal callings in pursuit of the common good.

Tyler Castle
American Enterprise Institute


Press Inquiries & Contact Information

Press and media inquiries: grady@lukeburgis.com
Speaking inquiries: The Lavin Agency
Literary/Op-Ed inquiries: Levine Greenberg Rosten Agency