How we are motivated to imitate wanting what others desire—Girard’s theory primed for the social media age. A Penguin Classic René Girard eludes easy categories, bridging the fields of literary criticism, anthropology, sociology, history, religion and theology. Influencing such writers as J. M. Coetzee and Milan Kundera, his insight into contagious violence looks ever more prophetic and relevant seven years after his death. In many ways he is the thinker for our modern world of social media and herd behavior. In this newly selected collection of writings, Cynthia L. Haven has created an approachable anthology of his work, addressing Girard’s thoughts on the nature of desire, human imitation and rivalry, the causes of conflict and violence, the deep structure of religion and cultural subjects like opera and theatre. Girard spoke in language that was engaging, accessible and often controversial. A long-time friend and colleague, Haven shines a spotlight on his role as a public intellectual and profound theorist, inviting a new generation to his corpus.