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How Watching TV Can Help An Entrepreneur

Steve Sipress and Gene Simmons

Steve Sipress and Gene Simmons

In last week’s post, I listed a few of my favorite “personal development” books that have helped me and my clients (and millions of others) over the years. I received such a positive response that I will be listing my recommended reading resources in other important areas in future columns in this space.

But today I’m going to provide another list for you.

If you’ve watched any television at all over the past few weeks, then there’s no doubt you’ve been bombarded by promotions about the new fall lineup of shows. It’s mind-boggling how many choices Americans have nowadays, thanks to hundreds of cable channels streaming thousands of shows into people’s homes 24/7.

Although I never mindlessly plop myself down on the couch in front of the “boob tube,” I do watch TV to relax and unwind at the end of a day, and sometimes have it on in the background while I work in my home office.

But I have Tivo on all three TVs in our home, so I never have to waste time channel-surfing or watching something I don’t really want to.

Here are some of the “must-see TV” shows I program my system to record.

Biography, Titans and The Entrepreneurs, all on CNBC — profiles of rags-to-riches entrepreneurial successes.

Shark Tank on ABC — Is it your dream to come up with an idea, start a business and then convince multimillionaire and billionaire investors to reward you with a big payday plus their help to take it to the next level? That’s exactly the opportunity several entrepreneurs get every week on this intense and entertaining show, as they try to maintain their cool and answer the probing questions of five “sharks” who hold their futures in their hands. Great insight into the keys to building a mega-successful business.

Family Jewels on A&E — lots of “reality TV” fluff, but also gives insight into daily life of sharp, driven, focused entrepreneur Gene Simmons (“I didn’t build a band — I built a brand”).

Mad Men on AMC — extremely realistic look at the inner workings of an advertising agency in the 1960’s (most still function the same way today), presented in an entertaining soap-opera style.

The Turnaround King on The National Geographic Channel — a brand-new show featuring sales expert Grant Cardone as he delivers no-nonsense advice to struggling business owners.

Donald J. Trump’s Fabulous World of Golf on The Golf Channel — inside look at a growing golf course empire, plus scenes of one of the world’s highest-profile entrepreneurs in his private life and other business dealings.

Pawn Stars on The History Channel — behind-the-scenes look at a very successful family-owned business

Pitchmen on The Discovery Channel — inventors line up to try to convince infomercial icon Anthony Sullivan (former partner of the late, great Billy Mays) to sell their product to insomniacs nationwide and make their dreams come true. Fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the big-money world of direct selling via the world’s No. 1 medium.

Undercover Boss on CBS — Corporate executives come down from their ivory towers to discover how their businesses really run, and who really makes them run. Comical and eye-opening.

Tabatha’s Salon Takeover on Bravo — similar to “The Turnaround King”, but only for salons (try to resist the “But My Business Is Different” excuse if you don’t own a salon).

America’s Next Great Restaurant on NBC — hopefuls compete to convince experts to invest in and mentor them.

Secret Millionaire on ABC — self-made millionaire entrepreneurs (including my friends James Malinchak and Ali Brown, pictured above) give up their cushy lifestyles for a week to help business owners in underprivileged areas.

Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo — TONS of fluff, but great for consultants who think we’re the only ones with clients who don’t follow our advice.

American Chopper on The Discovery Channel — dueling family-owned businesses (same family, different businesses).

How’d You Get So Rich? — comedian Joan Rivers goes up-close-and-personal with self-made millionaires and billionaires.

Ace of Cakes on The Food Network — busy entrepreneur managing mostly friends, delivering high-end, custom baked goods.

And of course, “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” on NBC it’s fun to figure out “what I would do” and to watch the smart moves and outrageous errors of the contestants; some interesting insight into the minds of top business people (Donald Trump and weekly big business guests).

No Longer On The Air, But Maybe You Can Find Recordings:

The Restaurant on NBC — proprietor and investor in a battle royale over how to operate a business.

King Of Cars on A&E — the behind-the-scenes look at the sales and marketing of one of the nation’s top auto dealerships. As entertaining as it was instructive.

The Big Idea on CNBC — former advertising agency head honcho Donny Deutsch interviewed different inventors every night, until the powers-that-be pulled the plug “because of the downturn in the economy” (even though that’s precisely the right time to concentrate on growing new businesses!).

… and more that I can’t remember right now…

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but as you can see, when I do I love to watch shows about entrepreneurs!

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