The Underground Novel -The Meaning of the Hustle – Part 1 – Focus on the Real

The Good Advice about Meaning- When Choices Abound, Focus on the Real


The Novel in Short: After graduating from university with a degree in business, Dustin has a problem. He needs to figure out a way to break through the confines the world has built for him. The confines of middling employment opportunities, family expectations, and the small imaginations of others. Luckily, he’s not alone. With his monkey sidekick, Dustin braves the hazards of the real world, demonstrating his own unique brand of hippy entrepreneurship.


You can read more than 30 completed chapters right here:


Generally Good Business Advice:

In the (post)modern era, meaning is a hot commodity. You just have to know your consumer.


Generally Good Advice on Meaning:

When choices abound, focus on the Real.




Strangely, there seems to be a great market in meaning nowadays. It has something to do with the void left by the arrival of the postmodern.


Oh, don’t get me wrong. I love the possibilities postmodernism has brought.


Venture capitalism. Crowd funding. Portfolio careers. Social networking. Social marketing. On-demand products…more please. Now it’s more than a decade past 2004, the time this story takes place, and I wonder if we’ve gone too far.


For me, no. Do it dirty or don’t do it at all.   


But for many people, the arrival of the postmodern and its many possibilities has created a kind of dull flatness — at worst, a feeling of being rootless and overwhelmed. Information abounds, yet authority seems further away than ever.


Wisdom seems impossible.


Every choice also seems like a non-choice:


Pizza Hut, Dominoes, or Papa Johns

Crest or Colgate

DC or Marvel

Netflix, HBO, or Youtube

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Linkedin, Pinterest…(Okay, I just got tired of typing.)

Groupons, Coupons, Soupons, or Loupons. (Okay, I made some of those up.)

Choices, upon choices, upon choices. People go crazy.


Information, but no authority….What is Real and what is fake?


Choices, but no real choice.


They lose faith in modern progress and the idea that science has a linear path to the good life for all of us. Instead, we are in a purgatory of frivolous minutiae, doomed to watch charming cat videos on youtube, live in a deluge of (un)reality TV and no-talent celebrities, and receive text messages from our forty-year-old colleagues with heart emojis asking if we like his clever new sweater LOL ❤❤❤.  


What is Real? What is permanent?


The world is jagged and random again, like times before the modern. We are all either heading toward eternal riches…or the world will end tomorrow, as if by some divine but man-made providence we are being judged by forces beyond us — the possibility of becoming untethered to modernity becomes Real and scary.  


So, we turn back to the pre-modern. Back to faith, back to cults, back to divine interventions and conspiracy theories. We grasp for authority of any kind to tell us what is Real.


Priests find new roles in the vacuum of meaning created by arbitrary choice and freedom.*


*If this seems like something cribbed from the talks of Roger the homeless philosopher, well then, you’ve caught me.


What is Real? Read on and find out, my precious consumer of meaning.  


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