Watching business documentaries offers African startup founders a creative source to tap inspiration for their entrepreneurial journey. They can both be an excellent way to unwind and relax, while also providing pertinent lessons and mental models in innovation and critical thinking.
Business documentaries give an element of authenticity that resonates with entrepreneurs at a deeper level. African startup founders are trailblazers in what they are trying to build. So learning the decision-making patterns of successful entrepreneurs is a smart way to be entertained and educated.
Here’s a curated list of 10 insightful business documentaries you can add to your watchlist. They are Becoming Warren Buffett; Steve Jobs: One Last Thing; Jiro Dreams of Sushi; Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room; Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates; The Men who built America; Something Ventured; The Creative Brain; She Did That.
1. Becoming Warren Buffett
With a net worth of more than $60 billion, Warren Buffett is what you call a rock star entrepreneur. Becoming Warren Buffett offers a wealth of invaluable information where founders can draw important life lessons from the humble billionaire, his family, and his peers.
This documentary chronicles the evolution of Buffett into one of the richest and most respected men in the world. The movie takes us on a journey where we see how the legendary investor started out as an ambitious, numbers-obsessed boy from Nebraska and became one of the richest and most respected men in the world.
Why you should see the documentary: A good place to acquire important life and investment lessons from a living investment legend.
Where to watch: Youtube
2. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
A tribute to the visionary entrepreneur who was the co-founder and CEO of Apple. Jobs died in 2011, but he changed how we work, interact and communicate during his time at the helm of Apple.
The documentary takes viewers through Jobs’ career path and the development of his memorable product introductions. It is a poignant look at the life of a man who pursued his passions while changing the world.
Why you should see the documentary: A quick overview of Jobs’ achievements and business philosophy. Learn how Steve Jobs used his passion and visionary talents to revolutionise technology and what boundaries he had to overcome along the way.
Where to Watch: YouTube (full documentary here)
3. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Jiro Ono is the owner of a successful restaurant located in Chūō, Tokyo, Japan. He is globally known as one of the best Sushi chefs in the entire world for many reasons. His small restaurant has three Michelin stars and his customers are willing to spend $300 per plate.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi profiles how the most successful business owners are the ones who are passionate to the point of obsession. This is evident in the intensity and devotion that Jiro has for his work and how he continues to strive for perfection on a daily basis.
Why you should see the documentary: This series proves how lifelong dedication and a strict work ethic can eventually pay off.
Where to Watch: Hulu.com
4. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
This documentary tells the incredible story of Enron and the executives who ran the company. Here is an inside story of the spectacular rise and fall of one of the most scandalous corporations in American history.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room looks at the collapse of the seventh-largest company in the United States, where executives embezzled billions of dollars, robbing investors and ruining the lives of thousands of people.
Why you should see the documentary: Peek into the inside story of the spectacular rise and fall of one of the most scandal-ridden corporations in American history.
Where to watch: imdb.com
5. Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
In one of the most talked about documentaries of 2019, Oscar-winning director, David Guggenheim, dug deep into what goes on inside the mind of the founder of Microsoft. Over the course of three hour-long episodes, viewers get a small glimpse into Gate’s childhood, education, growing Microsoft, and his family life, as he pursues unique solutions to some of the world’s most complex problems.
The documentary looks into the impact that Bill Gates had on the world of entrepreneurship, technology, and philanthropy.
Why you should see the documentary: Take a trip inside the mind of Bill Gates as the billionaire opens up on those who influenced him and the audacious goals he's still pursuing.
Where to Watch: Netflix
6. The Men who built America
The Men who built America is a miniseries that tells the stories of the innovators and entrepreneurs who helped build the contemporary American financial and industrial landscape. Each episode tells the story of men such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford.
It offers details about how they were each able to go from modest means to financial greatness. These men took small ideas and made them revolutionary, struck smart business deals, and engaged in underhanded tactics designed to put the competition out of business.
Why you should see the documentary: Find out how an idea is crystallised to build a lasting empire from the ground up by American pioneer industrialists.
Where to Watch: History.com
7. Something Ventured
This business documentary portrays some of the most successful and prolific venture capitalists from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, who risked money and status to invest in companies no one else saw potential in.
A crash course in venture capital, Something Ventured laid the groundwork for America’s startup economy, as this small group of individuals would go on to finance nearly every major technology advancement over the past 50 years.
Why you should see the documentary: This documentary shows how risk taking can result in unprecedented rewards.
Where to Watch: Watchdocumentaries
8. The Creative Brain
Creativity is the lifeblood of business and this psychology/marketing documentary encourages everyone to be more creative. Entrepreneur, Neuroscientist, and best-selling author, David Eagleman, meets accomplished professionals from across the creative spectrum to hear stories that inspire and demystify the creative process.
The documentary is based on the book “The Runaway Species: How Human, Creativity Remakes The World”, so if you are more a reader than a watcher, head to the bookstores and buy it.
Why you should see the documentary: The documentary will help you better understand how the human brain works and how you can tap into that knowledge.
Where to watch: Netflix
9. She Did That
“She Did That” spotlights the entrepreneurial journey of four black women and addresses topics such as funding gaps for women of colour, obstacles black women face while working corporate jobs, the implicit bias and outright racism in business life, as well as the importance of self-care.
A truly refreshing documentary about women who are building legacies and making history.
Why you should see the documentary: Women set the standard for excellence in business and entrepreneurship and taking care of yourself while running a business is just as important as closing deals.
Where to watch: imdb.com
There you go! Let us know in the comment section below which of the documentaries was your favourite. Or if there is any other one we need to include.