Back in 2011 (which is, like 64 years ago in internet time), I came up with a list of 14 business documentaries that were worth a few minutes of your time. It was one of the first posts that actually got any decent amount of traffic from the Google, plus I think my four readers at the time found it interesting.
Thanks to the prominence of the Youtube and my fondness of wasting time watching TV instead of working, I’ve come up with 14 more documentaries that are worth your time. Some will focus on just investing, while others will just be about interesting stuff that vaguely have something to do with business that I think is interesting.
You’ll need approximately 16 hours to watch all 14 of these business documentaries, so if I were you I’d call work now and just take the day off. Tell em’ Nelly said it was cool. They’ll understand.
1. Inside Job
Oh hey, let’s start things off with perhaps the best film made about the 2008-09 financial crisis, Inside Job. Narrated by the hunky Matt Damon, the film not only explains how the crisis happened for newbies of finance, but also pretty squarely places the blame at the feet of the bankers, where it belongs.
2. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices
Personally, I don’t have much of a problem with the way Wal-Mart conducts its business. It just gives the people what they want, which is cheap junk. If suppliers and municipalities give the company a sweetheart deal just because it’s Wal-Mart, it shouldn’t be the company’s problem. If they don’t like it, don’t deal with the bad boys from Arkansas. It’s that simple.
If you hate Wal-Mart, this documentary will give you all the more reason to never step foot in the store again and maybe light the CEO’s car on fire.
3. Born Rich
Up next is Born Rich, a documentary that I actually haven’t watched yet. I’m a bit of a risk taker, putting it on this here list. TAKE THAT, AMELIA EARHART. Anyway, it’s about the heirs of the Johnson and Johnson fortune, and how life is a little different when you’ve got a few billion waiting for you. Stay tuned for the cameo from Warren Buffett’s step-grandchild.
4. Warren Buffet
Here’s an old VHS copy of Warren Buffett speaking to a bunch of MBA students in Florida. The audio doesn’t even match the video. I recommend listening to it instead of watching it if you’re one of those OCD types of people.
5. Poor Kids of America
Want to be bummed out? Here’s a look at America’s inequality issue, but from the eyes of kids. Seriously, if one of these were my kid (even by accident), I’d work as hard as I could to make sure that kid had a better life than these ones.
6. The Truth About Payday Loans
Unlike most personal finance authors, I’ve always thought payday loans were a little more complicated than bad man lender takes advantage of poor innocent borrower. I think they have a place in today’s society, especially considering that most folks end up using them because of their own stupidity.
But that doesn’t make the economic circumstances less devastating. Here’s a British film that takes a look at the industry. You’ll probably like it if you’re a hater of the industry.
7. Generation Jobless
Lots of people like complaining about how the kids these days are having a difficult time finding work. CBC takes a look at the problem, and points out that maybe if you’re looking for a job, a non-traditional path could be the way to go.
I’ve always been fascinated with the business behind drugs. You ever watch Drugs Inc.? That’s a neat show. Consider that a bonus documentary.
There’s something endlessly interesting about the world of drugs. It’s capitalism at its purest form. And when you don’t have the courts to deal with a wronged drug dealer, things get settled in a more, uh, permanent way.
(Aside: it seems silly to kill someone over an unpaid drug debt, no? If the guy is alive, there’s still a chance you’re gonna get paid.)
9. Winning for a Living
Not only are there people who enter contests FOR A LIVING, but there’s at least one chick who gets paid to teach people how to enter contests. Props to the guy who spends red lights filling out ballot entries instead of picking his nose like the rest of us.
10. College Debt Trap
What’s this? A documentary that reinforces all the beliefs I’ve been telling you guys about how college isn’t a guaranteed path towards success? FINALLY, SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME.
11. What Happened?
Now that we’re a full decade past the dot com boom at the end of the 1990s, it’s fun to take a look at the craziness that ensued, including some nice casual swearing from Mark Cuban before he owned an NBA team. The video quality is surprisingly good for being from 2001.
12. Pirates of Silicon Valley (Documentary)
Not to be confused with the TV movie of the same name, this is a documentary which talks about the history of the PC during the 1970s and 80s using clips from interviews with the biggest names in the industry.
13. Cruise Inc: Big Money on the High Seas
Remember that cruise ship that ran aground just off the coast of Italy? Or that Carnival cruise liner that was adrift for like three days and started running out of food? This is the industry’s attempt to show people they aren’t ALL irresponsible maroons, just the old management. Or something.
14. The Vanderbilts – An American Dynasty
The last of the list of business documentaries is another one I haven’t actually watched, but I’m in the middle of reading a book about the family, and it’s pretty interesting. Cornelius started off life as a ship’s captain, and then switched into investing in railroads. I won’t spoil the rest, but needless to say the family was pretty interesting.
Geez. That took longer than I thought. You guys better enjoy this. I’m off to bed.