June 2, 2008 6:52 AM Subscribe
posted by decoherence (87 comments total)
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Another Paul Graham essay, Cities and Ambition
. This one's one of his better ones though. His claim: each city sends its inhabitants a distinct message about how they should live their lives. New York City sends the message that you should be richer. Cambridge sends the message that you should be smarter. Berkeley sends the message that you should live better. Consequently, the city you live in has a profound effect on what you strive for, what you value, and how you channel your ambitions. Place matters; choose wisely.
I think his claim is without a doubt true, but to what extent? How much
does place matter, and for whom? Everyone? Or just people in certain fields?
His point about writers and artists in Paris at the early part of the 20th century strikes me as astute, and also a bit scary: if you're not in the right city at the right time, you could miss your chance at greatness. There's an interesting chicken and egg problem here -- did Paris make the artists or did the artists make Paris?
And what sort of message does your town or city send you?