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A great pop-culture myth: New York City is the toughest place in the country to find success. “If I can make it there, I’d make it anywhere” implies that other places are easier.

Nonsense. Finding success in New York is easy compared to finding it elsewhere.

How many people have built brilliant careers in acting or high fashion in a small mill town or mining village? How many journalists break big national stories while staying in Midwestern suburbs? How much transcontinental wealth and power can lawyers and financial experts amass in a rural community?

Now, I know that New York offers resistance and competition. Success isn’t easy.

And some people have reached the top without being in New York: Sam Walton with Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Arkansas; Bill Gates with Microsoft in Renton, Washington; Warren Buffett with Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska.

And several top industries keep their power centers far from New York. If you want to be the next Steve Jobs, you go to Silicon Valley, not Manhattan. America’s biggest energy company, Exxon Mobil, operates out of Texas, not Fifth Avenue.

But New York offers more opportunities for success — including top-of-the-nation wealth and fame — in more fields than just about anywhere else. I don’t like that fact (I’m in Los Angeles), but I can’t deny it.

If you think becoming a nationally influential figure is hard in New York, try doing it in the boondocks.

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