Street Smart Vs. Intellectual

I get interesting answers when I ask Berliners how the city is doing, for example: “Poor but sexy – people here are quite happy with that.” With the implication, I guess, that there’s not much ambition. That was from the owner of a couple dozen bicycles for rent (a classic Berlin startup, run from a small basement and a café nearby). When I told him that I’m from NYC, he immediately said: “That’s where I want to go!”

When I speak to people from academia, especially from the US, they see things in a rosier light. In those quarters, both Berlin (it must be the allure of the working class spirit) and Paris (ah, the art of living…) get tremendous credit.

So, when it comes to street smart vs. intellectual, whose judgement would you trust?