First Monday: What's on tap for the business world in October


Iconoclasts: Sundance Channel, Oct. 16, 10 p.m. ET/PT

The premise behind executive producer Robert Redford's engaging Iconoclasts is simple: A pair of high-profile innovators talk to each other about their aspirations and motivations, supplemented by footage of the leaders at work. This mutual admiration society offers an unusual, behind-the-scenes peek at what makes non-conformists tick.

Season four starts with a bang: Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa unwind on Branson's Caribbean island. Like most pairings, the two seem to have little in common at first glance. But Tutu is on the billionaire's island as chairman of The Elders, a group co-founded by Branson consisting of former leaders, including Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan and former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, who gather to help resolve conflicts in places like Sudan and Kenya.

At one point, Branson vows to teach the delightful archbishop to swim. This rapidly degenerates into a splash fight, with the archbishop teasing Branson, "Why do you have so much money?" Splash. "Why are you so successful?" Though Branson dodges the questions as well as he does the water, he admits he's more interested in creating things he can be proud of than being a businessman. "I think there's not a great difference between an adventurer and an entrepreneur," Branson says. "You're trying to achieve things that have never been achieved before. You're trying to do it better than it's ever been done before."

The IT Crowd: IFC, Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET

This over-the-top British workplace sitcom will translate to American audiences just fine: Awkward geeks on I.T. help desks are at work on the other side of the Atlantic, too!

In another familiar setup, the manager of the systems-support team at the fictitious Reynholm Industries is computer illiterate despite claiming otherwise on her résumé.

The show is an entertaining jumble of physical comedy and well-timed one-liners, including the potential catchphrases, "Have you tried turning it off and back on again?" and "Are you sure it's plugged in?"

IFC plans to run the first 12 episodes of the series consecutively, with another six to come in 2009.

The Public Speaker

Available free on Fridays at and on iTunes

Do your, um, workplace communication skills need, like, a little work? Lisa Marshall's new weekly podcast focuses on helping you speak more effectively and efficiently in all sorts of situations, whether you're interviewing, delivering a speech or participating in a meeting.

•Oct. 10: Mistakes in Eye Contact, or why you shouldn't continually look up or down while delivering a speech.

•Oct. 17: Cultural Communication, with examples from Marshall's interaction with her Panamanian mother-in-law.

Planet Money

Available free daily at and on iTunes

NPR launched the multimedia Planet Money — a blog, podcast and Twitter feed, so far — in August, just as the global economy started grabbing the attention of everyday people.

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