C-Suite Network

The Top 10 Business Documentaries to Watch and Why

What Would You Do?

The first real business documentary I saw was “Startup.com” about a company that was riding the first Dot Com boom in 2000.

I was riveted. At the time I was an executive at Citigroup so I watched it from the perspective of a spectator.

It was a stunning “fly on the wall” point of view, and offered an insider perspective of a company working through the trials and tribulations of this new internet paradigm, egos flailing, and funding fails.

I recently watched it again, but from the perspective of an advisor and thought leader.

It was a very different experience.

There were so many lessons and insights I took from it because I looked at it from the lens of my business and core competencies.

I dissected the film and surfaced answers by asking myself these questions:

  1. What really went wrong here?
  2. What could have been done to ensure success?
  3. What was the point of no return?
  4. What would I do if I was there?

From that experience, I began to watch business documentaries in this way.

And while part of me enjoyed these films for entertainment purposes, I can’t help but feel there are takeaways for me as a Philosopher and leadership development practitioner.

This list encompasses some of the best business documentaries I’ve seen strictly because they offer so much to those who lead, who practice, and who advise. So if you’re a CEO, or consultant, coach, or advisor, I encourage you to watch these through the lens of your role and business.

You may have seen some of these films already, and probably played arm-chair consultant, but I encourage you to look more deeply and see what is really being shown in them.

Look at them using the questions I posed above.

Try to extract at least 3 insights or takeaways that relevant to what you do and build them into your programs, communications, or general knowledge.

Reference them in your talks, pitches, or conversations.

If anything, you will not be able to look away from the excellent storytelling in these films, and perhaps be re-invigorated in what you do and why you do it.


You can find these on most streaming services either for free or rent.

5) American Factory (Netflix)
6) Inside Job (Amazon Prime)
7) Betting on Zero (Amazon Prime)
8) The China Hustle (Hulu, Amazon Prime)
9) Dirty Money (original Netflix series)
10) Startup.com (Amazon Prime) Note: even though this film was made in 2001 at the start of the very first Dot Com bubble, it is still extremely relevant today.
And an extra bonus documentary that not only has plenty of business insights but in my opinion one of the best social and cultural commentaries in the past decade:
To learn more about Cristina DiGiacomo go here.


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