Over the past two weeks, I've posted the 18 best motivational books and the 13 most inspirational short videos. This post contains the seven feature films that are the most useful to entrepreneurs who want to get and stay motivated.
I've intentionally avoided movies where salespeople are depicted as jerks and losers. To be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to enjoy and respect selling, so films like Boiler Room and Glengarry Glen Ross aren't all that helpful.
Here are the movies that really do motivate and in the right way:
1. Jerry Maguire
While this is primarily considered a romantic comedy, Maguire's mission statement perfectly captures the importance of having a vision for yourself and remaining true to that vision, even if nobody else sees it that way.
Entrepreneurs should flock to see this celebration of starting your own business from scratch, even if your family and friends aren't supportive. Advance notice: Later this month, Inc.com will run an exclusive clip from the DVD/BluRay extras. Stay tuned.
3. Office Space
Motivation comes in two varieties: positive and negative. Positive motivation moves you forward; negative motivation keeps you from going backwards. This film reminds entrepreneurs why they should never settle for a corporate job again.
4. The Aviator
Before there was Richard Branson or Elon Musk, there was Howard Hughes. This bio-pic captured both the personal and business struggles of one of history's most enigmatic and creative entrepreneurs.
5. The Commitments
In addition to having great music throughout, this film describes how a group of young people, led by a visionary, come together to make something greater than they could imagine. It's also a reminder of how fragile serendipity can be.
6. The Pursuit of Happyness
While the protagonist (played by Will Smith) in this upbeat film succeeds by becoming a successful salesman for a huge financial firm, Chris Gardner (the actual person) used his sales skills to start his own company.
7. The Social Network
Even though actor Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark Zuckerberg as if he were Lex Luthor's little brother, the story of Facebook's rapid growth is a testament that sometimes entrepreneurs do change the world.