My Favorite Business Movies [Part Two]

My Favorite Business Movies [Part Two]

My Favorite Business Movies [Part Two]

My Favorite Business Movies [Part Two]

My Favorite Business Movies [Part Two]


I know that this title seems a bit odd to some of you, but hey, people find inspiration for all sorts of different things in completely unusual places.

Break out the popcorn; it’s time to get to work!

And by work, I mean watching some movies with particularly salient lessons for business professionals to take to heart.

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.

There’s good advice for all sorts of scenarios in the business realm. From submitting business proposals to management matters, there’s much to be learned from them.

“The good ideas will survive.” – Quentin Tarantino Share on X

Although the situations these movies portray are extremes, how the characters respond to them provide a surprising source of important lessons for businesses and how they can prepare for and cope with their own crises.

Movies are one of my greatest passions. I find entertainment and inspiration in them. They give me new ideas and make me think of changes or improvements for my work.

In this post, I am going to share with you a list of what I believe are amongst the best business movies for entrepreneurs.

Take a seat, make yourself comfortable, and don’t forget to get plenty of popcorn! Enjoy yourself!

noteIn a previous post I have covered the following movies:

Casino (1995)
There’s no such thing as simple. Simple is hard.Martin Scorsese

Often written off as a cash-in on the success of Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s 1995 true crime film Casino is one of his most accomplished and overlooked works.

Like Goodfellas, the screenplay was based on events chronicled in a non-fiction book written by author Nicholas Pileggi and adapted by both Pileggi and Scorsese.

The Pitch

The film paints an exhilarating picture of greed, deception, money, power and even murder in the midst of a gambling empire.

The film follows the rise and fall of casino executive Sam “Ace” Rothstein as he moves to Las Vegas at the behest of the Italian mafia and runs the fictional Tangiers casino.

“That’s The Truth About Las Vegas. We’re The Only Winners. The Players Don’t Stand A Chance.” – Sam "Ace" Rothstein Share on X

noteThe plot was inspired by the real-life story of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal who managed the Fremont, Hacienda, and Stardust casinos in Las Vegas for the Chicago mob back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Fire Walk With Me

Of course, everything starts off brilliantly, and the casino is soon turning a profit, pleasing the bosses back home.

Things get more complicated when Sam falls in love with Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), a seasoned Vegas hustler whom he thinks, once married, he can control and make love him.

“She Knew How To Take Care Of People, And That’s What Vegas Is All About. It’s Kickback City.” – Sam "Ace" Rothstein Share on X

All eventually goes sour as relations turn ugly, deception creeps in, intense greed blinds all over those involved, and everything, in turn, gets completely screwed up.

So that must mean there are number of lessons to be learned from the actions of the main characters in Casino, right? Exactly, and here they are.

Fast Facts
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Keep a Low Profile

When involved in illegal or borderline activities, you simply have to fly below the radar.

Sam “Ace” Rothstein, with his peach leisure suits and brass cigarette holder, definitely did not do this and consequently attracted all kinds of unwanted attention as the real head of the Tangiers Casino, who was supposed to be the squeaky-clean decoy Philip Green.

“For Guys Like Me, Las Vegas Washes Away Your Sins. It’s Like A Morality Car Wash.” – Sam "Ace" Rothstein Share on X

The Millionaire Next Door made an impression on me when I picked it up recently. The book’s author, Thomas J. Stanley, advises big companies.

Stanley articulates beautifully a phenomenon that some of the most financially successful people around are business owners who keep a low profile; they live modestly and shun outward displays of wealth.

The Low Profile Manifesto
Check Your Pride

In an interview for a local newspaper, Sam “Ace” is goaded by a reported into admitting that he was running the day-to-day operations at the Tangiers Casino, even though this position was meant to be carried out by someone else.

“I’m Not Only Legitimate But Running A Casino, And That’s Like Selling People Dreams For Cash.” – Sam "Ace" Rothstein Share on X

He easily could have avoided making a statement to this effect, but in truth he wanted people to know that he was running the show.

rule of thumbPride is an emotion that can be both nurturing or poisonous.

It’s okay to feel proud when you accomplish something great. Feeling proud tastes delicious — it inspires positive behavior.

Being proud is a different thing — it can make you come across as arrogant and self-centered. Being proud is about creating an inflated self-image. It makes life unpleasant, especially for those around you.

warningExcessive pride is an exaggerated appreciation of oneself by devaluing others — we turn other people into our competitors.

How to Put Your Pride Aside
Molly’s Game (2017)
In this room you couldn’t buy your win, you couldn’t buy me and you couldn’t buy a seat at the table.Molly Bloom

Aaron Sorkin’s film and directorial debut Molly’s Game is relatively faithful to the life of its subject, Molly Bloom (played by Jessica Chastain).

The so-called “Poker Princess” ran two underground games that attracted high-rolling Hollywood stars, athletes and mobsters in the mid-2000s.

Molly’s Game embraces the illicit backroom revelations of a woman who ran a legally nebulous poker table for the rich and creepy in Los Angeles and New York for nearly a decade.

When she was a little girl growing up in a small Colorado town, she watched her brothers win medals, ace tests, and receive high praise from everyone they met.

“I wasn't born with a way to get it, like my brothers. I was waiting for my opportunity and somehow I knew it would come.” ― Molly Bloom Share on X

Molly wanted nothing more than to bask in that glow a little herself, so she pushed herself too—as a student, as an athlete.

She was successful but felt like she was always coming from behind. She wanted to break free, to find a life without rules and limits, a life where she didn’t have to measure up to anyone or anything—where she could become whatever she wanted.

Molly wanted more, and she got more than she could have ever bargained for.

Molly Bloom hustles. She sizzles and dazzles, and whatever room she’s in, she’s totally in command—that is, until she isn’t. Even then, though, she’s irrepressibly verbal—able to articulate everything, all the time, in ways that are far quicker and cleverer than the average human ever could.

Fast Facts
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Good Is Not Enough

Whatever you’re working on, the goal is to win.

Molly was raised, educated to win. An elite athlete, who had to put a stop to her career because of a very bad fall in freestyle skiing; still, she remained conditioned to win.

She was offered an opportunity, she grabbed it. Someone took this opportunity away, she created one herself.

rule of thumbPlay to win. No matter what.

You can offer a 10K buy-in experience, or you can offer a 250K buy-in experience.

When she took over her boss’ business, after being fired, she completely revamped the experience for her customers.

“There was no such thing as favors, so I needed to incentivize him”― Molly Bloom Share on X

Instead of the basement of a shitty bar, she chose one of the most prestigious hotels in Los Angeles. She served the most expensive spirits, and offered a completely different experience. Then she increased the buy- in to 50K until it reached 250K.

rule of thumbEverything is in the experience you offer your customers.

Customer experiences (CX) can make or mar your business. Bad CX can cost your brand billions and a reputation that is completely tarnished. Improved customer experience can make your business thrive.

How to Improve Your Customer Experience
Bet It All

Molly built a relatively unknown game into one of the biggest, a high-stakes poker game that attracted the wealthiest amateur players.

She never played with or against her clients, and she focused on creating an experience that her multimillionaire players were willing to monetize. She made millions.

“I had nothing to lose, and so much to gain. I felt free and alive.” ― Molly Bloom Share on X

She also made mistakes. Big time. She became the bank for the players, a double-edged sword that allowed her to cater to the personal desires of her customers but exposed her to unsustainable financial risk. She built her game on the egos, misogyny, and bullying that accompanied men with large bank accounts.

She also found her world spinning out of control, in part because she was unable to manage the overwhelming demands and contradictions implicit in the enterprise she created.

Her business imploded, a result that she sees in hindsight but more seasoned entrepreneurs may well have seen coming early on.

rule of thumbFailure is part and parcel of being an entrepreneur. Solving problems, managing risk, and pivoting are essential to growing and leveraging a business.

The potential for success motivates the entrepreneur’s drive. But it’s also coupled with risk, often significant risks. This duality is hard wired into the “growth mindset” that drives value creation and monetizing these efforts through the marketplace.

Final Thoughts
When you’re rich you can volunteer as much as you want, but you’re poor and stupid and you need to spend your time getting smarter and figuring out how not to be poor.Molly Bloom

Are you a budding entrepreneur looking for inspiration to get the work done?

We know it can be tough out there. The business world is not an easy one, and it takes a lot of effort, dedication, and resilience to make it.

Ups and downs are normal in business. Most entrepreneurs know that the journey can be a roller coaster, so these movies can give motivation to help keep you on the road to success.

If you need a break from the daily grind of running your business, you can take a few hours off and still be productive by watching a business-related film.

This selection of must-see films for entrepreneurs can offer a crash course in some of the do’s and definite don’ts of running your own business, no matter what field you are working in.

Watch all of these and you’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two.

How many of these have you seen? Did we miss your favourite business flick?

If you enjoyed the article or have any comments, recommendations, or tips for improvement please do comment below.

Geeknack’s Picks

Molly Bloom Chats with Ellen
Molly Bloom - Keynote Speaker - Summit 2018
Casino (1995) - How To Deal With Assholes
Casino (1995) - I Think I Want My Money Back
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7 months ago

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My Favorite Business Movies [Part Two]

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