8 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should See

Last night’s Academy Awards were full of surprises and amazing films. Movies can tell stories that are life changing, thought provoking and motivational. These are some great movies that entrepreneurs and business leaders alike will find entertaining and inspire greatness.

The Social Network (2010)

This film tells the story of the founders of Facebook and the story of how the massively popular social media site got it’s start. From the early stages of development in a dorm room at Harvard University to the fallout between Zuckerberg and his co-founder Eduardo Saverin as Facebook’s popularity rises, to the lawsuit against Zuckerberg; this film is a dramatic and relevant story, especially for Facebook users. While all of the details may not be completely accurate, it is still highly inspirational, telling a story of success despite adversity. Watching this encourages turning your ideas into a reality.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, a medical device salesman and his young son, this emotional and motivational film is the perfect story of success in the face of adversity. After his wife leaves him alone with his son, Chris lands a six month training internship at a brokerage firm. The job is unpaid, and the pair ends up losing their home, and having no money. The father and son duo must live in homeless shelters, sleep in train stations, and try to make up for the money they have lost, all while Chris works to gain a position at the end of his training against multiple other candidates, which he does despite every struggle he has faced. With a powerful message to never give up and work for what you want no matter how impossible it seems, this movie will motivate you to take the next step to success.

Startup.com (2001)

A documentary following two longtime friends’ journey to develop a dotcom company and get rich, Startup.com shows the struggle of Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman as they build their company govWorks.com. Non-committal third parties, huge competition, economic stress and lack of assets held by the company all lead to the eventual strain of the pair’s relationships with each other, and with family and friends, as well as the eventual demise of the company itself. Entrepreneurs can learn about management skills and how to work with a growing company, how important it is to manage personal and business relationships, as well as serve as a cautionary tale for how friendships can be changed when business is brought into the mix.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Anne Hathaway plays an assistant clueless about fashion to a high powered and merciless fashion editor played by Meryl Streep. The characters go head to head and battle their way through the film over not only fashion, but the demands of a difficult job that end up hurting many relationships and the decision to choose between a dream job and personal fulfillment. Branding, sales, movement through the corporate system and developing a work/ life balance are all important topics you can learn about in this film.

Thank You For Smoking (2005)

Pro-Tobacco spokesperson and lobbyist Nick Naylor uses his communication skills to debunk research on the harmful side effects of tobacco. While a huge lawsuit is pending against the whole tobacco industry, Naylor struggles to make a good impression on his estranged son while staying true to what his job requires. Some bad press causes Naylor to lose his job but his son gives him the inspiration he needs to push back.  He is offered his job back, but refuses it, a wise choice; as the tobacco industry settles the lawsuit and the company that he worked for closes. With the coaching from his father, Naylor’s son wins his school’s debate competition, and Naylor finds a new industry to spin. This movie, while humorous is a great example of public relations, communication, crisis management and negotiation skills.

Joy (2015)

Jennifer Lawrence’s portrayal of Joy Mangano, the inventor of self-wringing mop the “Miracle Mop” is inspirational for anyone that is an inventor or a “market disruptor”. Joy’s less than idyllic home life leaves her to find an escape in creating things. Her creation of the Miracle Mop leads her to become a high powered woman not only in the business world, but also cements her position as the matriarch of her family. Learn how you can overcome all of your battles and find success, and change a product for the better, even if everyone else says that the original is “good enough”.

Steve Jobs (2015)

Apple founder Steve Jobs was the soul of the company and he faced many struggles while building the tech giant. This biopic starring Michael Fassbender chronicles Jobs’ life from 1984 to 1998 and three huge product launches throughout the years. The depiction of his desire for control and to have things exactly the way he wants them shows how his personal and professional lives were affected by all of his decisions.  This film takes a hard look at what happens when a single person becomes the spirit of the entire company and the struggle to keep that company relevant and successful.

Moneyball (2011)

The story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team going into the 2002 season, Brad Pitt plays general manager Billy Beane. Worried about the loss of three star players to free agency status, with a limited budget, Beane has to think quickly to get the best players for the least money. Hiring a recent Yale grad to use statistics and computers to place value on no name players that can play just like those in the big leagues is the only hope of the team, but there is pushback and a lot of doubt from other team executives. After a rough start to the season, the team begins to excel and the unconventional way of picking players receives the acknowledgment that keeps Beane at his job and puts the team in good standing. Lessons from this film include innovation and a strong commitment to your vision.  

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