An excerpt from Chicago: City on the Make, a 12,000 word lyrical essay by Nelson Algren originally published in 1951:

Chicago. City on the make. A tangle of hustlers, gangsters, and corrupt politicians. A city of nobodies nobody knows, the ginsoaks, stew bums, and shell-shocked veterans who lurk in the alleys and linger in the weedy wastes underneath the ‘L’ tracks, and a town that sells out its dreams and disappoints its dreamers, but Once you’ve become a part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies, but never a lovely so real.

I love Chicago—imperfections and all. Some are surprised to learn that 37signals, a software company, is based in Chicago rather than San Francisco or New York. Yes, we’re a company of remote workers. We’re even writing a book called REMOTE: Office Not Required. But I believe our Getting Real approach and REWORK perspective just would not exist without Chicago’s “real-ness” in our blood.
What do you love about your city or town? Does the surrounding culture affect how you approach life or work? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.
PS. Come experience Chicago first-hand by attending The Switch Workshop on Friday, April 12. We’re hosting at the 37signals office. Right in the heart of Chicago.