Great cities attract ambitious people, and there’s always a sense that you could do better in these cities.

Different cities are ambitious in different ways though. New York is about money, Cambridge is about intelligence, and Silicon Valley is about power.

History shows that where you live has a big impact on you, and great things tend to happen in clusters. It’s wise to take advantage of this and use it to your advantage.

A city speaks to you mostly by accident—in things you see through windows, in conversations you overhear. It's not something you have to seek out, but something you can't turn off.

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.

Because ambitions are to some extent incompatible and admiration is a zero-sum game, each city tends to focus on one type of ambition.

It’s tough to know what a city is like without living there, so your best bet is probably to try a bunch of places while you’re young.