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Book Hack
WantingBy Luke Burgis

In a Nutshell

American entrepreneur Luke Burgis introduces the work of French historian and philosopher René Girard to a broader audience, using Girard's theory of mimetic desire to explain why humans want what we want.

Favorite Quote

The greatest developments in history are the result of someone wanting something that did not yet exist — and helping others want more than they thought was wantable.

Luke Burgis


We spend most of our lives pursuing our goals. And yet we often find ourselves still wanting even once they're achieved.

What is it about human desires that make them so difficult to satisfy?

Luke Burgis experienced the paradox of desire early in life.

Feeling unfulfilled despite a successful career on Wall Street, the entrepreneur left behind his busy life to spend three years studying philosophy and learning about the human condition.

In this book, Burgis uses philosopher René Girard's concept of mimetic desire to explore how we come to want what we want.

Through personal anecdotes as well as a deep well of historical, philosophical, and scientific knowledge, Wanting examines how our desires are influenced by the people around us and what we can do about it.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

  1. 1.
    We think we decide what we want, but our desires are based on others who model desire for us
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
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