Hustle hustle hustle (Part 1)

This is Part 1 of a 3-part series. Below, I pose a set of questions to make you think about the nature and prevalence of hustling. In Part 2, I examine these questions. In Part 3, I aim to replace the vocabulary of hustling with that of the conversation.

1.) Word Association: What comes to mind when I say “hustling?” What connotations would you attach to “hustling,” as when you hear the sentence, “You’ve gotta hustle”? My guess is that you had a mixed reaction. What would explain this? What about hustling seems praiseworthy, what blameworthy?

2.) Prevalence: According to Google Ngram Viewer, the use of the word “hustle” peaks around 1920 and then has yet to peak after 2000. In fact, the period from 2000 – present slopes upward dramatically, rising higher and higher. What would explain the prevalence of “hustling” after 2000?

3.) Thought Experiment: Imagine the kind of world in which hustling is at home. Under what material, social, and economic conditions does “hustling” come into being and become common sense?

4.) Explanation: What might explain the collective belief that hustling is at once desirable, necessary, inevitable, and misguided? If hustling is a “necessary evil,” why might this be?


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