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Wanting  By  cover art

Wanting

By: Luke Burgis
Narrated by: Luke Burgis, Sean Patrick Hopkins
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Publisher's summary

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

"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 best-selling author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife)

"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.... 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 best-selling co-author of Lives of the Stoics and The Daily Stoic)

©2021 Luke Burgis (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Dear Listener,

What do I hope you will take away from Wanting?
"I started writing this book at a coffee shop in Washington, DC. I finished it during lockdown at my childhood home in Michigan, where I was taking care of my parents. Who would’ve thought that our desires would be so radically altered in just a few weeks? New things became important. Fight-or-flight mode kicked in. Many desires took a back seat to more immediate needs—survival, protection, financial security. Now we’re emerging from the pandemic with new perspectives and, with them, new desires. Understanding the forces shaping those desires is more important than ever. How do we know what we truly want? How do we make sense of radical changes in direction? How can we insure ourselves against disillusionment? I wrote this book because my own desires were subject to wild fluctuations in my early life—and it took me a long time to understand why. My hope for this book is that it will help you understand yourself, and our society, better. We have a chance to break free from destructive cycles of conflict and rivalry in our world. It starts with becoming aware of one powerful force that has been hidden since the foundation of the world." –Luke Burgis, author of Wanting

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