Part of starting your own business be it online or your own brick-and-mortar business requires you having the right mindset. I have put together a top ten list of the best movies and shows that can give you an idea of how to go about thinking about business. Be sure to check out the other Top 10 lists for UM’s pick of the best business podcasts and YouTube channels.
10. Breaking Bad
You might be thinking what does Breaking Bad have to do with business? Breaking Bad is known for how great the story was not really anything about business. But selling meth, no matter how entertaining they may or may not make it look, is a business. What you can learn from Breaking Bad is how that process will change a person. Going from a consumer mindset to a creator/seller mindset is a change that anyone starting a business will have to take on. In the end hopefully you won’t end up like Walt.
Again Scarface, like Breaking Bad, might not seem business related at first, but there is something to learn from any market. Black market or free market it’s still a market. The same tricks are used on all scales. The difference being that if you are playing that black market game chances are you won’t even know what you are doing while you are doing it. That’s why the protagonists of Scarface and Breaking Bad both didn’t end their lives how they wanted. Easy money goes away just as fast as it comes.
It’s amazing to me how many people are able to transfer the skills they have learned while gambling and apply them to the world of business. This movie is loosely based on a true story. Whether it’s counting cards in blackjack, or betting on a hand of texas hold em’ the skills are certainly useful in many different areas. The MIT team was said to have used Edward O. Thorp’s book Beat the Dealer as they’re guiding literature. Game theory, probability theory, and statistics all come to be very useful whether you are gambling or trading in the stock market. It’s only a zero sum game until you get the extra 1 percent.
7. Citizen Kane
The iconic classic Citizen Kane. A story that everyone should experience regardless if they are into business or not. Based on the life of media mogul William Randolph Hearst. This movie certainly paints an interesting picture into the world of media and the power that people can have with virtually unlimited wealth.
Limitless is awesome. I remember watching Limitless in the theaters when it came out a few years ago and it has been one of my favorite movies ever since. This movie gives you a glimpse into the world of the wealthy while giving you a taste of the mysterious world of designer drugs. Millions are made and lost every year devolving new kinds of medicine. Limitless tells an interesting story of a man that is caught up in it all.
5. Wall Street
Greed is good. This iconic film takes a look at Wall Street and the effect that it has on the American people, and what insider trading can do to the people that work on Wall Street. The stock market is the world’s grandest game. Oliver Stone certainly did a good job with this one.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
Another film that is based on a true story is the Wolf of Wall Street. This movie takes in interesting look into the life of Jordan Belfort who served 22 months in jail for laundering money. There is a story that is told online that I’m not sure is completely true that Tommy Chong was once cell mates with Belfort and inspired him to write the book to which the movie was based. If you haven’t watched Wolf of Wallstreet you need to put it on your watchlist. Can you sell me a pen?
Madmen is one of the best shows that has been on T.V in a really long time. In my opinion, I can only really think of a couple other shows that even compare with Madmen. The writing is superb in almost every way. The filming and set design are top notch. And I don’t know if I have been impressed with a characters ability to sell like Don Draper. The carousel scene is one that always comes to my mind. Madmen won’t just be a business lesson, it’s also a life lesson.
2. The Big Short
The Big Short gives you a look into what caused the 2008 financial crisis. It shows how certain people act and think and how those people can do things that can affect millions of people with one decision. Why is it that a handful of people can make a decision that will ultimately affect the lives of millions of people? This is exactly the question that The Big Short delves into.
Billions might be the best show on T.V right now. It takes a look into the world of hedge funds and the 3-dimensional chess game that modern kings of the world play. I won’t spoil anything, but if you aren’t watching Billions right now you should be.
Watching everything on this list certainly won’t get you your six sigma black belt. But if you do watch them all it will at least give you an idea of how the wealthiest people might think about things a little differently.