15 documentaries on Netflix that will make you smarter about business

Creative BreedThe best documentaries about business on Netflix don’t require a textbook.
  • Some of the best documentaries available on Netflix are on the topic of business.
  • From “Generation Startup,” which follows college grads launching businesses in Detroit to the beloved “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” there’s a wide variety of documentaries with lessons to share.
  • If you have a Netflix membership, these documentaries are free to watch – and you can stream them instantly.

If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands but don’t feel great about spending it binging the latest TV drama, we’ve got you covered.

Over on Netflix, there’s a veritable treasure trove of business-related documentaries that are both educational and entertaining. You can learn about what it takes to launch a startup as a recent college grad; how the world’s most well-known performance coach views success; and why fast fashion has dark roots.

Here are 15 of the best documentaries about business streaming on Netflix right now:

‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ (2011)

The 2011 documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” profiles Jiro Ono, a Japanese sushi chef and restaurant owner who is widely revered for his skill and $US300-a-plate dinners.

It follows the now 90-year-old master as he works with vendors to secure the finest ingredients, manages and mentors his staff, and prepares his son to succeed him when he retires. The movie brings viewers inside the dedication, obsession, and decades of hard work it takes to achieve perfection.

‘Steve Jobs: One Last Thing’ (2011)

Steve Jobs was one of the most revered entrepreneurs and designers of our time. In the PBS documentary “Steve Jobs: One Last Thing,” the filmmakers trace Jobs’ inspiring career and lasting legacy in technology and retail, as well as his legendary product presentations.

‘Somm’ (2012)

Somm” follows a group of four men preparing for the master sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world.

Their obsession with getting ready for the exam consumes them as well as the people closest to them. The film will inspire you to pursue your own ambitions, however lofty they may seem.

‘Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru’ (2016)

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru

This documentary marks the first time Robbins, a performance coach and bestselling author, allowed anyone behind the scenes at his annual six-day seminar, “Date with Destiny,” where thousands of people come to have him transform their lives.

Viewers also get a glimpse into the life and psyche of Robbins himself, and how he’s amassed a worldwide following.

‘Banking on Bitcoin’ (2016)

Periscope Entertainment

Explore the history of the virtual currency bitcoin, starting from its creation in 2009, right after the financial crisis hit. Through a series of interviews, the film takes a deep dive into how bitcoin works and the way it’s already disrupting the international economy.

‘(Dis)honesty: The Truth About Lies’ (2015)

Salty Features

Duke University behavioural economist Dan Ariely explores why people lie – and the consequences of not telling the truth.

The film alternates between a series of compelling interviews with people whose careers were destroyed through dishonesty and descriptions of behavioural experiments on the topic.

‘Hot Girls Wanted’ (2015)

Two to Tangle Productions

Actress Rashida Jones produced this documentary about the lives of young women who work in pornography. Viewers learn about the difficult choices the women make, and how they wound up financially independent, but working in a potentially exploitative industry.

The film also inspired a docuseries by the same name, currently streaming on Netflix.

‘The True Cost’ (2015)

Life Is My Movie Entertainment Company

So-called “fast fashion” has its roots in places like garment factories in Cambodia and Bangladesh, where much of this film takes place. Viewers see the inhuman working conditions and learn about the lives of the people there; plus they hear from designers themselves.

The documentary was funded by participants on Kickstarter.

‘Dior and I’ (2014)

CIM Productions

Step behind the runway. Viewers follow along as Raf Simons, a Christian Dior artistic director, designs a couture collection- his first – for Paris Fashion Week. The film offers a glimpse into the everyday stresses and demands of the seemingly always-glamorous fashion world.

‘Codegirl’ (2015)

H Films

“Codegirl” tells the story of a 2015 competition for high-school-aged girls all over the world to develop their own apps. The film explores the lives of the participants and why learning to code is, for many, a saviour.

‘The Ivory Game’ (2016)

Terra Mater Factual Studios

African elephants are on the verge of extinction. The filmmakers behind “The Ivory Game” investigate ivory-trafficking – both the people behind it and the activists trying to end it. The film explores how the Chinese economy has largely contributed to the ivory trade, and what might be done about it.

‘Generation Startup’ (2016)

Creative Breed

Six entrepreneurs. Seventeen months. “Generation Startup” follows these recent college graduates as they try to launch startups in Detroit.

The film received rave reviews from successful entrepreneurs like Arianna Huffington and Daymond John, who said: “You will be fired up to take chances too.”

‘I Am Bolt’ (2016)

Fulwell 73

What makes an Olympic champion tick? Find out in “I Am Bolt,” which tells the story of Usain Bolt, the fastest runner in history.

Bolt’s voiceover accompanies scenes of the athlete during gruelling workouts, hanging out with teammates, and alone, a human being like the rest of us.

Jenna Goudreau contributed reporting.

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