All television is not created equal. Some of it is interesting, some of it is tepid and inane. The good news is that some TV is like eating vitamins or high fiber. I am talking about documentaries and the stations that show high-quality, narrated non-fiction such as the History Channel, Biography Channel, Discovery Channel or National Geography.
Four consulting benefits of watching good TV
- Lots of history trivia to make you (feel) smarter
- Inspirational stories of leaders like Teddy Roosevelt, or Winston Churchill
- Educational primer on your client’s industry
- Examples of well thought-out narratives; good story-telling
Consultants are good story-tellers. They know their story well. They know its beginning, middle and end. They know their audience. They create a narrative and tell the story with a tempo that keeps people involved. They provide the right amount of detail – enough to paint the picture – but not so much that it bores the listener.
America: The Story of Us
My wife and I recently watched a compelling 12 part documentary called America: The Story of Us. of It is incredibly well put together – facts, cinematography, computer-generated graphics, and interviews. It gives a concise, but thorough overview of 200+ years of American history. It is patriotic and even-handed in its treatment of the less-than-noble parts of our history. Cannot recommend it enough, both for entertainment, but also your family’s education. Bravo.
That said, it is also an excellent piece of consulting work for the following reasons:
- Intuitive organization and structure (e.g., Rebels, Revolution, Westward)
- Well-researched; full of insights and keen facts (e.g., Blacks in the military)
- Selective use of “deep dives” to tell stories (e.g., Hamill Brothers strike oil)
- Clear point of view on the drivers of US history (e.g., Carnegie’s steel, Model T)
- Compelling storytelling and narrative (did not hurt they had cameos from Colin Powell, Sheryl Crow, Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Rev. Al Sharpton etc)
Watch it on Netflix or the History Channel. At the very least, watch some of the 3 minute video clips here.
Photo credit: History Channel, The Story of Us