Borrowed $1,000 and quit job as waitress to start real estate company, which became The Corcoran Group, one of New York City's largest

Sold company for reported $66 million

Star of ABC's Shark Tank

There's something about success that allows a person to say anything they want. For instance, here's how Barbara Corcoran begins her bio, where most people tout their greatest achievements in order to convince the reader what a special person they are: "Barbara Corcoran's credentials include straight Ds in high school and college and 20 jobs by the time she turned 23."

Not the typical "a graduate of Harvard Business School," is it?

But the entry is the epitome of Barbara Corcoran's personality. She is charmingly disarming, and that personality—along with some down-to-earth smarts—has taken her a long way.

Who else could get away with a book title like this? If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails.

It is her salesmanship, plain and simple, that has gotten her where she is. She created one of New York's biggest real estate brokerages—which she sold for a fortune—and shares some of her business acumen as one of the "sharks" on ABC's Shark Tank, where aspiring entrepreneurs seek advice and investment money for their business ideas.

"There's not a business in America," she says on ABC's web site for the TV show, "that starts, and continues, and succeeds, and is able to jump over the obstacles of building a business, unless you have a phenomenal salesman ...

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