It's cold out. If for you, like me, this means more of your evenings are spent inside, watching TV and movies, you may as well make that time count. Professional development doesn't have to come from a workshop, after all.

Instead of watching yet another inane holiday movie or TV series about a charming sociopath, consider expanding your mind. Here are nine documentaries that will make you smarter:

1. Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain (2018)

Streams on Amazon Prime for $2.99

If you've never really "gotten" cryptocurrency, watch this. It covers how the different coins have developed over the past decade (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others), as well as how different countries have dealt with the new financial reality. Current issues in the crypto industry are also explored, as well as what we can expect in the future. 

2. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Watch for free here; streams on Amazon Prime for $2.99

In case you missed this when it came out, catch up on this part of recent history. This doc uses corporate recordings and interviews with insiders to follow the story of the meteoric rise and dramatic fall of the largest natural gas merchant in the U.S. Shady business practices abound (including absurd spending by those at the top), and high-up executives leave employees and others to clean up their mess. It's a riveting account and no surprise the film got an Oscar nomination for best documentary.

3. 13th 

Streams on Netflix

The American prison system put in context is startling. This revealing and compelling depiction of the criminal "justice" system should be required viewing for everyone living in the U.S. Director Ava DuVernay led an outstanding team that racked up a number of awards, including BAFTA's for Best Documentary as well as a Peabody.

4. Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

Streams on Hulu; available on Amazon Prime for $2.99

I personally liked the biopic aptly titled Steve Jobs, but it wasn't a documentary. If you want to see real archival footage and intimate interviews with those who were closest to Jobs, watch this. Steve Jobs is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the world and his tumultuous journey makes for captivating viewing. 

5. The Hunting Ground

Streams on Amazon Prime for $3.99

A topical film, this evocative documentary looks at sexual assault and rape on U.S. college campuses, and the behind-the-scenes machinations of universities who frequently try to cover it up. It follows two brave activists who expose cover-ups, and includes an exclusive interview with the accuser of football star Jameis Winston. 

An important film for anyone with a loved one in college.

6. Man on Wire

Streams on Amazon Prime for $2.99

In 1974, Philippe Petit successfully completed a high-wire walk between New York City's twin towers. The story of how he pulled off is one of the most daring and fascinating "artistic heists" of the past century. It's a lesson in resilience, raw talent, and the power of faith.

7. Killing Them Safely

Streams on Amazon Prime for $3.99

This well-constructed documentary by director Nick Berardini outlines the rising use of the Taser stun gun by U.S. police departments. Controversy over police brutality is an important part of the national dialogue and if you want to get more educated on both sides of the issue, watch this.

8. The Queen of Versailles

Streams on Amazon Prime for $2.99

A fascinating exploration of the recent economic crisis through the eyes of the 1 percent. It is an illuminating portrayal of a couple who was in the midst of constructing a mansion inspired by Versailles (yes, really) when the mortgage bubble burst.

Often amusing and occasionally disturbing, the documentary follows them as their wealth collapses and they must reevaluate their lives.

9. Super Size Me

Included with Amazon Prime

In 2018, McDonald's generated a total revenue of $21 billion. If you've ever doubted that art can make an impact, watch this--this documentary tracks director Michael Spurlock's experience eating solely at McDonald's for a month, and led to the fast food behemoth totally eliminating the super-size option. (The film will also make you laugh.)