What Message Does Cincinnati Send?

I've linked to Paul Graham before. In Cities and Ambition, he says:

Great cities attract ambitious people. You can sense it when you walk around one. In a hundred subtle ways, the city sends you a message: you could do more; you should try harder.

How much does it matter what message a city sends? Empirically, the answer seems to be: a lot. You might think that if you had enough strength of mind to do great things, you'd be able to transcend your environment. Where you live should make at most a couple percent difference. But if you look at the historical evidence, it seems to matter more than that. Most people who did great things were clumped together in a few places where that sort of thing was done at the time.

No matter how determined you are, it's hard not to be influenced by the people around you. It's not so much that you do whatever a city expects of you, but that you get discouraged when no one around you cares about the same things you do.
I wonder what message Cincinnati sends?

2 comments:

Cedrock said...

Ambition? Ptooi! We spit on your ambition. Go back to New York, New Yorky!

either that or:

Ambition? Have another beer. Still feeling ambitious? Can we tempt you with these delicious pork products?

Pablo said...

Hmm, I must say that Cincinnati does not do a very good job.