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10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

10 Movies Every Entrepreneur Should Watch

Have you ever walked into the movies and come out inspired and feeling like a different person?

If you are an entrepreneur or preparing yourself to become one, you must watch these unforgettable movies to understand what I mean.

1.   Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

pirates-of-silicon-valley-original

    “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” – Steve Jobs.

    This is a classic film that shows the beginnings of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as they built their technology empires in the 1980s. It highlights their rivalry, trials and triumphs, and the different ways the tech founding fathers operated. You will see how a 20-year-old took on a huge corporation like IBM and learn the value of believing in your dream and following through with it no matter what. It doesn’t matter if someone copies your idea. What matters is the execution and how well you do it. Nobody can copy that. And when you’re just starting out, a little competition never hurt anyone.

    2.   The Social Network (2010)

    The Social Network

      “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!” – Sean Parker.

      This is another great movie that every entrepreneur should watch. It shows the meteoric rise of the world’s youngest billionaire and his Harvard dorm-room startup – Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg took a simple idea and turned it into one of the most profitable businesses to date. You’ll see how he did it and the challenges he faced along the way, including rifts with his co-founders. Apart from learning from Zuckerberg’s experience, you’ll also enjoy some deft storytelling and brilliant background score.

      3.   Boiler Room (2000)

      boiler-room-large-picture

        “What do you mean, you’re gonna pass. Alan, the only people making money passing are NFL quarterbacks and I don’t see a number on your back.” – Seth Davis

        Every entrepreneur in business faces moral dilemmas at some point in their career. This movie is about a 19 year old college dropout, Seth Davis, who is faced with a dire moral issue. Seth rises to become one of the top brokers at brokerage firm J.T. Marlin, but something at the firm seems suspicious. What does he do when faced with the dilemma of money and greed versus morals and legality? What would you do? This movie will sensitize you to the very real struggle between right and wrong, money and greed and morality and legality in business.

        4.   The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

        pursuit-of-happyness5

          “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” – Chris Gardner

          This is an inspiring story of a struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (Will Smith), who losses everything, including his wife, house and money. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and defeat, Chris picks himself up, works harder and smarter than the competition to make life better for himself and his son. It’s a powerful motivational movie based on a true story that will give you goosebumps and help you see the value of having a good attitude and strong work ethic in the pursuit of happiness and a better life.

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          5.   Flash of Genius (2008)

          flash of genious

            “Whatever happened to this little thing called justice we talked about?” – Bob Kearns

            Anyone who’s an entrepreneur must watch this movie to understand why it’s important to protect your ideas from being stolen. Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), a college professor, invents the windshield wiper that is embraced by all the auto giants of the 1960s, becoming a standard device on all cars. However, the automakers do not give Kearns the credit he is due. It might be heartbreaking to watch as Kearns fights powerful corporations for his credit, but therein lies an important lesson for all entrepreneurs to learn.

            6.   The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

            The Wolf Of Wall Street

              “I’ve got the guts to die. What I want to know is, have you got the guts to live?” – Jordan Belfort

              This controversial movie might not have won Leonardo Di Caprio (playing Jordan Belfort) an Academy Award, but it sure can teach you valuable lessons about success, fame, fortune, greed and respect for law. As Belfort says, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” However, with achieved goals, money, power, fame, women and drugs comes many temptations that can jeopardize your success. Discipline and awareness is critical to retain any success you achieve.

              7.   Office Space (1999)

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              office_space_peter

                “Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?” – Peter Gibbons

                This hilarious film is for anyone who hates their 9-to-5 office job and is itching to plunge into entrepreneurship. It revolves around Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), who discovers how much he hates sitting inside a cubicle every weekday, taking orders from his creepy boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole). If there’s ever a film that will make you laugh, give you a refreshing new outlook on life, motivate you to get out of a desk job you hate and fire you up to pursue a venture that you truly love, then this is it!

                8.   Limitless (2011)

                limitless

                  “I had come this close to making an impact on the world. And now the only thing I was going to make an impact on was the sidewalk.” – Eddie Morra

                  This thrilling film about a struggling writer, Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) will teach you something about taking shortcuts, quick fixes and the easy path to success. Eddie is sure he has no future as he is faced with unemployment and his girlfriend’s rejection. However, that all changes when an old friend gives him a mysterious pill that allows him to access 100% of his brain abilities. Stoked on the untested drug, Eddie rises to the top of the financial world, but terrible side-effects and a dwindling supply threatens to collapse his house of cards. Quick and easy fixes aren’t so easy after all, or are they?.

                  9.   Wall Street (1987)

                  Wall Street (1987

                    “The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.” – Gordon Gekko

                    This is arguably one of the best entrepreneurial movies of all time. It follows an ambitious young stockbroker, Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), who will do just about anything it takes to succeed as he is guided by the nebulous motto “Greed is good.” Suddenly, everything comes to a head when Fox is asked to help do something not only illegal, but morally reprehensible. The movie will teach you not to sell yourself out for the sake of money. Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about being rich and famous.

                    10.  The Godfather (1972)

                    godfather-111

                      “Great men are not born great, they grow great . . .”  – Mario Puzo

                      Another strong contender for the all-time greatest piece of cinema for entrepreneurs. It follows the story of the Godfather and his son Michael Corleone who oversee the growth of a small family business into what eventually becomes the largest organized crime family in New York. Although we don’t recommend taking the illegal route, this is a must-see for all entrepreneurs who want to learn what it takes to get to the top, and more importantly what it takes to stay there.

                      I’m sure we’ve left out a few. Tell us in the comments below; what movie would you add that every entrepreneur has to watch?

                      Featured photo credit: Pink Cow Photography via flickr.com

                      More by this author

                      David K. William

                      David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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                      Last Updated on July 15, 2019

                      10 Signs of a Bad Boss and How to Deal with Them

                      10 Signs of a Bad Boss and How to Deal with Them

                      This is an article I didn’t want to write. Even if it appears that way on the surface, few things are black and white. Between the two colors is a world of gray. Notwithstanding the bosses who behave criminally, some of the people who carry the “bad boss” label have possibly been, or have the capacity to become, a “good boss.”

                      This is an article I didn’t want to write because I understand that depending on whom you ask, many of us could be labeled either a good or bad boss.

                      Perhaps another reason I didn’t want to write this article is because context matters. Context for the organization and context for the individual. What is happening in the organization? What is the culture? Is the “boss” in a position for which the individual is equipped to do the job? Is the person in a terrible place in life? The office culture, the relationship a team member has with a boss or board and the leader’s personal life can all influence how the person shows up and leads and how others perceive the individual.

                      But since I am writing this article, I will share a few signs that bosses are bad and in need of a timeout.

                      1. Bad Bosses Don’t Know and Haven’t Healed Their Inner Child

                      If you plan to lead people – well, if you plan to effectively lead yourself – you must get reacquainted with your inner child. Just because you are in young adulthood, middle age or the golden years doesn’t mean your inner child matches your chronological age. If you experienced trauma as a child, your inner child may be stuck at the point or age of that trauma. While you walk around in a woman’s size 10 shoe, your behavior may showcase an inner child who is much younger.

                      In a June 7, 2008, Psychology Today article, Stephen A. Diamond, Ph.D., observed,[1]

                      “The fact is that the majority of so-called adults are not truly adults at all. We all get older … But, psychologically speaking, this is not adulthood. True adulthood hinges on acknowledging, accepting, and taking responsibility for loving and parenting one’s own inner child. For most adults, this never happens. Instead, their inner child has been denied, neglected, disparaged, abandoned or rejected. We are told by society to ‘grow up,’ putting childish things aside. To become adults, we’ve been taught that our inner child—representing our child-like capacity for innocence, wonder, awe, joy, sensitivity and playfulness—must be stifled, quarantined or even killed. The inner child comprises and potentiates these positive qualities. But it also holds our accumulated childhood hurts, traumas, fears and angers.”

                      Sometimes the key that your inner child needs tending to is conflict with someone else’s inner child.

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                      Good bosses are aware of the ups and downs of their childhood, have worked or are working to heal their inner child and are aware of their triggers. Good managers use this awareness to manage themselves, and their interactions with others. Bad bosses are oblivious to how their inner child impacts not only their life but the lives of others.

                      2. Bad Bosses Are Unable to Accept Feedback

                      Bad bosses are not intentional about creating an environment where their peers and colleagues can share feedback about their leadership. They don’t solicit feedback. Given the power dynamic that managers, CEOs and others in leadership yield, they must go out of their way to solicit feedback, and they must do so repeatedly.

                      Before being completely honest, most team members will test the waters and share low-stakes information to get a sense for how their boss will respond. If the boss is angry or retaliatory, team members are less likely to risk being candid in the future.

                      So being unable to accept feedback takes on two forms: failing to proactively and repeatedly ask for feedback and reacting poorly when feedback is shared.

                      3. Bad Bosses Are Unwilling to Give Timely Feedback

                      The flip side of accepting feedback is giving feedback. Both require courage. It takes courage to open yourself up and accept feedback on ways that you need to grow. Similarly, it takes courage to share honest feedback about a team member’s or colleague’s performance or behavior.

                      Since not everyone is open to accepting feedback, whether they’re a manager or not, having an honest conversation about areas a team member or colleague has missed the mark, is not always easy. Still, good bosses will find a way to share feedback, and they’ll do so in a timely fashion.

                      Withholding feedback and sharing it months after a situation has unfolded or in a snowball fashion is unhelpful to the employees. One of the ways we grow as leaders is through feedback. When people have the courage to tell us the truth, that information allows us to progress.

                      4. Bad Bosses Are Unable to Acknowledge Their Mistakes

                      Owning their mistakes is like a disease to bad bosses; they do not want it. Instead of being risk averse, they are accountability averse. The problem is that they can only gloss over their weaknesses or failures for so long; the people around are able to see their flaws and weaknesses, and bad bosses pretending they don’t exist is not helpful. It is infuriating.

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                      However, bad bosses are masterful at reassigning blame. They are unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for mistakes — small or large. But career expert Amanda Augustine told CNBC “Make It” in May 2017, that “good managers also admit their mistakes.”[2] They don’t pass the blame or pretend they didn’t make a mistake. They own it.

                      5. Bad Bosses Are Unwilling or Incapable of Being Vulnerable

                      Vulnerability is an underrated leadership skill. But well-placed and well-thought out vulnerability enables employees to see their leaders’ humanity, and it creates a way for leaders to bond with their teams.

                      Bad bosses may talk about vulnerability, but they don’t practice it in their own lives, particularly in the workplace.

                      6. Privately, Bad Bosses Do Not Live Up to the Organization’s Stated Values

                      Bad bosses may publicly spout the values of the organization they work for, but privately they either don’t believe or don’t embody those values.

                      If they work for an environmental group, they may not practice sustainability in their private lives. Their words and actions are incongruent.

                      7. Bad Bosses Are Unable to Inspire Others

                      When bad bosses are unable or unwilling to take the time to inspire others, they lead through fear or command. Neither are helpful.

                      A culture dominated by fear will stifle creativity and risk taking that can lead to innovation. An autocratic management style will have a similar effect in that team, members will not feel they have the space to step outside of the box they have been placed in.

                      A good boss is someone who takes time to share the big picture and time to inspire their teams to want to be a part of it.

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                      8. Bad Bosses Are Disinterested in How Their Behavior Impacts Others

                      They are narcissistic and focused on self-preservation. In “19 Traits of a Bad Boss,” Kevin Sheridan said,[3]

                      “Terrible bosses are endlessly self-centered. Everything is about them and not the people they manage or what is going on in their employees’ personal lives. It is never about the team, but rather all about how good they look. Conversely, great bosses lead with integrity, honesty, care, and authenticity.”

                      Rather than seeing their team’s talents and seeing people’s full humanity, bad bosses believe their team exists to serve them. Families, personal life and priorities be damned. Bona fide bad bosses believe that their comfort should be prioritized over their team’s needs and desires.

                      9. Bad Bosses Have Likely Received Negative Feedback

                      Bad bosses have likely been told that they are poor supervisors. They have likely been told time and time again that their behavior is harmful to the people around them.

                      Perhaps they do not know how to change or are unwilling to change. But bad bosses certainly have received clues, insights and direct feedback that their management style and behavior are harmful to others.

                      Even when someone hasn’t explicitly said, “Your behavior is harmful to me and others,” the absence of feedback indicates a problem. It can mean that the leader’s team doesn’t feel safe enough to share feedback, that people do not believe the leader will act on what is shared, or that people have determine the best strategy is to avoid the boss as much as possible.

                      10. Bad Bosses Are Perfectionists

                      Bad bosses are driven by an internal urge to be perfect. Perfectionists don’t just want to be perfect; they want everyone around them to be perfect as well. This is a standard that neither they nor their team can live up to.

                      Since perfection is illusive, they spend their time chasing their shadow and being frustrated that they cannot catch it. They are unable to enjoy the journey and often block others from doing so as well. They let “perfect” be the enemy of “good.” Rather than embracing a growth mindset that desires to learn and improved, they are compulsive and toxic.

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                      If you are like me and you see yourself in parts of this list, do not despair. A bad boss can change. The key is seeking honest feedback and being willing to work through that feedback and your triggers with a therapist or coach.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Regardless of your age and the mistakes you have made, you can change and become a healthier leader whom others respect and appreciate.

                      Conversely, if you are employed by a bad boss, do everything in your power to take care of yourself. Understand that your boss’s behavior, even if directed at you, is not about you. Your boss’s reactions, if and when you make a mistake, is a reflection on that individual, not you.

                      To survive the work environment, think about the lesson you are meant to learn. You can do this with a trusted therapist or capable coach. However, if you deem the work environment to be toxic and harmful to your health, seek employment elsewhere.

                      In the end, this is an article I did not want to write, but I’m happy I did.

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                      Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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