5 Netflix Documentaries Every Business Leader Should Watch

By Pavan Muzumdar

The other day I received an email about twelve books all business leaders should read. It was an impressive list of works written by some of today’s masters in business thought leadership, such as Peter Drucker and Jim Collins. I have no doubt that reading any one of the books listed would be highly valuable to any leader.

But then I put myself in the shoes of most of our clients at PCS Insight. “Would they really have the time to devote to this?” Most of the leaders we deal with are so engaged with their businesses that it consumes every last ounce of time and energy. More often than not they need down time, not business advice. I was convinced that there must be a better way.

5 Netflix Documentaries with Hidden Wisdom

It just so happened that around the same time as I came across the book list, I had just finished watching the second season of “Chef’s Table” on Netflix. I found myself thinking of the impressive personalities and their struggles and was convinced that this would be good for any business leader to learn from.

With that, the idea of compiling a list of other documentaries that would entertain and inspire leaders was born.

Here it is:

  1. Chef’s Table: A Netflix original documentary series. Each episode delves into the life of a single world-famous chef examining the forces that shaped their stories and identities.

What’s it got to with business? The series is a fascinating collage of inspiration, challenges, overcoming adversity, and the creative drive that all of us possess. It would be hard for business leaders not to relate with how some of these chefs approach creativity, planning, and execution of some of the finest dishes known to humanity.

  1. Happy: Directed by Roko Belic and executive produced by Tom Shadyac, this movie is an uplifting experience that explores human motivation and the psychology of happiness.

What’s it got to do with business? The movie shows that beyond a certain base level of compensation, money rarely continues to provide the motivation we need to excel at what we do. Instead, we need to feel connected to something bigger and more important than us individually.

  1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi: This documentary is the story of Jiro Ono, the ninety year old (as of this writing in mid-June 2016), sushi chef and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three-Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo. It describes how Jiro painstakingly built this restaurant over decades of singular focus. There is also a particularly poignant scene in which it is clear that father’s (Jiro) dream may not necessarily be that of son’s (Yoshikazu) and yet he is obligated to take over the restaurant because of cultural tradition.

What’s it got to do with business? Wow, so much to mention here! A work ethic that is out of this world, and with that the apparent complete lack of balance in Jiro’s life. The focus on excellence and little details that go into building a brand and reputation. The wisdom of staying small. These are just a few that come to mind.

  1. Cooked: A four part documentary series host and food writer – (yes, I love the world of food and it’s a common theme here) – Michael Pollan describes the use of the four elements, earth, wind, fire, and water in the transformation of the bounties of nature into delicious dishes.

What’s it got to do with business? This series shows us how what we eat is central to everything that shapes society and culture. Food is often at the intersection of art, science, technology, economics, religion, and culture. The conventional wisdom is that we cook because we are civilized. This series shows us how we may be civilized because we cook.

  1. Human Planet: Narrated by John Hurt, shows us how humans have learned how to adapt to harsh weather and topographies. The stunning cinematography captures the glory, ferocity, and fragility of our planet.

What’s it got to with business? I guess one could say the expression “to adapt is to be human” captures the sentiment. The series also shows us we humans have been able to conquer the most inhospitable places on earth with just our innovation and collaboration.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Show

I hope you enjoy your summer and much needed rejuvenation with one or all of these wonderful works of art to give you the inspiration and energy to take your business to greater heights. PCS Insight can help guide your organization in this journey. With icubeTM you can enjoy the balance, happiness, and flow that you need to make this happen.

Happy viewing!

Pavan Muzumdar Managing Director