Author and motivational speaker Justin Cohen has travelled to over 20 countries and has 15 years experience under his belt.
This experience and exposure has, in many ways, played a hand in the conception of Gurus on CNBC Africa.
He admits: “It’s a concept I’ve been passionate about for a while and a show I’ve wanted to make. It comes from my perspective as an international conference speaker. There are these organisations paying large amounts of money for speakers to come and share their thoughts and wisdom. And, often, these speakers have written best-selling books and are superb communicators. It occurred to me that they would make great television.”
And that’s exactly what Cohen – who has been admitted into the South African Speaker Hall of Fame – did, with the help of the Unique Speaker Bureau.
Cohen adds: “The Unique Speaker Bureau is the leading agency in the country. It has a really good selection process for speakers.”
Having done other TV shows like Invent Yourself on SABC3, he was adamant about ensuring Gurus didn’t follow the standard talk show-based blueprint.
He explains: “Most talk shows are just interviews. Gurus has a keynote presentation in front of a live audience followed by an interview. So we have all the sizzle and excitement of a live audience. Often there is a lot of humour and stage props, but with a powerful message. Thereafter I put them (the guests) into the interview seat and start getting deeper into their keys to success.”
The subjects discussed cover everything from personal development, health and wealth to relationships.
Of the speakers on the bill, he adds: “We have a wide range of speakers, people like René Carayol, who is a leading business strategist in the United Kingdom.”
He points out: “The show is focused on anybody wanting to unleash their potential. While it might be someone looking for tips for their organisation or someone within the organisation who wants to rise up and achieve more. We have Siphiwe Moyo, who talks about how to get ahead and what it takes to be a corporate superstar.”
One of the guests on the show is Michael Jackson and, no, he isn’t the king of pop returning from the dead.
Cohen says: “He is brought in by big business to help deal with unprecedented change and how we can make it work for us.”
Although a second season is likely, he said that until contracts were signed, it was premature for him to say more.
Aside from the show, Cohen’s corporate calendar is full with public seminars and various programmes, including one that will be launched online in the next few weeks.
One of the most exciting speakers on the show is Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the bestselling personal finance book of all time, Rich Dad Poor Dad. Interestingly, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the book.
Cohen says his interview is for any person interested in “personal wealth creation”.
Interestingly, Kiyosaki, who was in the country when the #FeesMustFall campaign was in full swing last year, has a few thoughts on the matter.
Cohen says: “Robert talks about the whole #FeesMustFall incident. People think they are going to get a degree, leave university and get a great job. Unfortunately, that is not the case – not just in South Africa but in the United States too. His point is that the education system is not exactly teaching us how to create wealth – and that’s where he steps in.”
Gurus airs on CNBC Africa (DStv channel 410) on Thursdays at 9.15pm.