Best 30 TV Shows Every Entrepreneur Must Watch

  • Shows like Silicon Valley, Startup, Shark Tank offer valuable business lessons.
  • Breaking Bad, Ozark show the mindset needed to build an empire.
  • Mr. Robot explores hacking and taking down big corporations.
  • Comedies like Nathan for You have unique business ideas.
  • Docuseries like Inside Bill’s Brain provide insight into great minds.

As an entrepreneur, you’re always looking for inspiration and knowledge to help grow your business. While books and podcasts are great resources, watching relatable TV shows can be both entertaining and insightful. From satirical comedies to gritty dramas, many shows today explore the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

This article lists the top 30 must-watch TV shows for entrepreneurs according to a popular YouTube video. Let’s dive

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The BEST TV Shows For Entrepreneurs (Business TV Series)
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Silicon Valley – A Satire on Tech Startups

Silicon Valley is a comedy series that follows the struggles of the founders of a startup called Pied Piper. While it’s a satire on the real Silicon Valley, the show packs in genuine business lessons that any entrepreneur would find useful, especially regarding the mistakes to avoid.

The characters are well-written, and the humor keeps you hooked as you watch the founders navigate the turbulent startup world. If you’re looking to run your own tech business, this Emmy-winning show is a must-watch.

Startup – A Gritty Crime Drama About Digital Currency

In the crime thriller Startup, a banker, a gangster, and a hacker team up to create a controversial digital currency called GenCoin while being chased by an FBI agent. This exciting show explores the lengths people go to get rich by revolutionizing money itself.

While the characters may not be typical entrepreneurs, the show offers insight into the innovative world of cryptocurrency and the mindset needed to build an extremely disruptive business.

Shark Tank – Where Aspiring Entrepreneurs Pitch Their Ideas

Shark Tank needs no introduction. It’s a reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to wealthy investors (the “Sharks”) in hopes of securing an investment.

Not only is it entertaining to watch, but it’s also inspiring to see businesses get funded right before your eyes. You may even get some business ideas of your own or learn what investors truly look for in a solid business plan.

The Apprentice – A Classic Show on Business Tasks

In The Apprentice, contestants compete in business-related tasks like creating new brands or buying and selling products. Each week, someone gets “fired” until a winner remains.

While the contestants can be over-the-top, the show offers useful lessons on entrepreneurship. Watching people perform business tasks at a high level can be motivating for your own ventures.

Breaking Bad – Following the Rise of a Meth Kingpin

Breaking Bad doesn’t seem like an obvious entrepreneurial show, but themes of power, wealth, and growing an empire from the ground up are central to the story.

Seeing how the main character Walter White expands his meth business from a simple campervan operation to a massive drug empire is a fascinating case study in building a successful (though illegal) business against all odds.

Dirty Money – Exposing Corporate Greed and Corruption

This Netflix original series looks at various stories related to wealth, greed, corruption, and crime across the global economy. From big pharma price gouging to shady payday lenders, each episode exposes the dark side of business.

While unsettling at times, Dirty Money provides an inside look at the unethical tactics some corporations use to make money, which is something every entrepreneur should be aware of.

Mr. Robot – A Hacker Group’s Crusade Against Corporations

Mr. Robot follows a hacker group trying to take down major conglomerates that are exploiting society. While the show has themes of loneliness and mental health struggles, there are many relevant business aspects too.

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The well-written storyline and incredible plot twists will keep you hooked as you watch the hackers’ crusade against corporate greed and corruption unfold. It’s a unique perspective that may inspire you to be more ethical in your own business pursuits.

Planet of the Apps – Apple’s Take on Shark Tank

Planet of the Apps was Apple’s attempt at a Shark Tank-style show focused solely on apps and tech entrepreneurs. While it only lasted one season, it provided an interesting look into the app development world.

Seeing contestants pitch their ideas and then actually work on creating a product is insightful for entrepreneurs in any industry. You also get advice from business experts along the way.

Mad Men – A Retro Look at Genius Marketing Campaigns

Set in the 1960s, Mad Men follows the professional and personal lives of advertising executives on Madison Avenue. While marketing has changed since then, many of the principles highlighted in the show’s creative ad campaigns still apply today.

The well-written characters and plotlines of this popular drama make it highly entertaining. But watching brilliant marketing minds like Don Draper at work is sure to get your creative juices flowing for your own business ventures.

Ozark – A Financial Advisor’s Dangerous Money Laundering Scheme

After a money laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel goes wrong, financial advisor Marty Byrde proposes to make amends by laundering even more money for them through a complicated operation in Ozark.

This intense drama keeps you on the edge of your seat as the Byrde family gets tangled up with various criminals and the mafia, all in the name of wealth. It’s a cautionary tale about being careful who you work with in business.

Nathan for You – Bizarre Business Ideas That Just Might Work

Nathan for You is an unusual and hilarious show where Nathan Fielder uses his business degree to help real small businesses make more money. However, his ideas are completely unorthodox and bizarre.

For example, in one episode, he tries to help an electronics store by putting a high-end TV on sale for just $1 so they can take advantage of a competitor’s price match policy. His solution to prevent people from actually buying the $1 TVs? Putting them in a room guarded by an alligator!

It’s an acquired taste, but if you enjoy awkward humor mixed with out-of-the-box thinking, Nathan for You is pure comedic genius with valuable business lessons underneath.

Inside Bill’s Brain – An Inside Look at Bill Gates’ Mind

This three-part Netflix docuseries gives you an inside look at what Bill Gates is working on currently and how he’s tackling major world problems like climate change. But it’s also a captivating look into the life and mindset of the billionaire Microsoft co-founder.

From his humble beginnings to building a tech empire, Gates’ story and insights are truly inspiring for any entrepreneur. Expect to come away motivated to work harder than ever on executing your own vision after watching this.

White Gold – A Satirical Comedy About Shady Salesmen

Set in the 1980s, White Gold is a unique British comedy that follows a team of double-glazing windowsalesman as they use sleazy tactics to get rich quick through unethical sales practices.

It’s satirical, over-the-top, and admittedly not the most aspirational entrepreneurial story. But any show offering an entertaining look into the world of sales, closing deals, and the pressures of making more money is still worth a watch for business-minded viewers.

Undercover Boss – Seeing a Company From an Employee’s Perspective

In the long-running reality series Undercover Boss, company CEOs and executives go undercover in their own businesses by taking entry-level jobs with some of their employees.

It provides a fascinating look at how major corporations operate from the ground up. And it’s always compelling to see the dynamic of the CEO initially struggling with basic tasks their own employees do daily.

Narcos – The Dramatic Rise and Fall of Pablo Escobar

While you hopefully don’t aspire to build a drug empire like Narcos subject Pablo Escobar, there are still entrepreneurial lessons to extract from this dramatic series based on the real-life Colombian drug kingpin.

Seeing how Escobar managed to build a multi-billion dollar cocaine operation from nothing through sheer ambition, ruthlessness, and business savvy is a case study in doing whatever it takes to make your fortune – ethics notwithstanding.

Suits – Lawyers Operating at the Highest Level

Suits follows the cases of a talented college dropout who gets hired by one of New York’s best corporate lawyers at a top law firm despite never actually attending law school.

The two leads have an incredibly dynamic mentor/mentee relationship full of clever banter. But at its core, it’s an inspiring show about operating at the highest levels of a profession through intelligence, hard work, and perseverance against all odds.

Dragon’s Den – The Brittish Shark Tank

If you like the premise of Shark Tank but find the show a bit too over-the-top, you may prefer the more grounded British version Dragon’s Den. In this show, entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of wealthy investors in hopes of securing funding.

Unlike Shark Tank’s dramatics, Dragon’s Den offers a more realistic look into how actual venture capital meetings play out, including in-depth questioning about finances, scalability and more. It’s great for understanding what investors truly value in a business opportunity.

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House of Lies – The Scandalous World of Management Consultants

House of Lies pulls back the curtain on the elite world of high-powered management consultants who will do anything to close their next big corporate deal and get paid.

While over-the-top and filled with workplace debauchery, the show offers plenty of business drama revolving around corporate schemes, big money deals, and the lengths some consultants will go to land their client. It’s a guilty pleasure with an insightful look at “houseof lies” in the corporate world.

Ballers – The Luxurious Lives of Pro Athletes

Ballers follows a group of current and former pro football players living lavish lifestyles thanks to their lucrative athletic careers and business ventures.

Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it’s a fun, glossy drama providing an enticing look at the upper echelons of celebrity entrepreneurship and wealth that any hustler would aspire to. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the glitz and business plots will draw you in.

Black Mirror – Technology’s Dark Side Inspires Creativity

Black Mirror is an anthology series where each episode explores a different dystopian scenario highlighting the potential downsides and unintended consequences of new technologies.

While not directly about entrepreneurship, the show is excellent at sparking thought-provoking ideas and conversations that could very well inspire your next innovative product or business model. Creative minds will find no shortage of compelling “what if” scenarios to ponder.

There are many more shows that didn’t quite make this top 30 list but are still worth checking out, such as The Rebel Billionaire starring Richard Branson, Stay Here about vacation rental renovations, Billion Dollar Buyer featuring product pitches to a hospitality mogul, and luxurious home design series Amazing Interiors.

The key is finding shows that not only entertain you but provide useful insights, inspiration, and fuel for your entrepreneurial mindset. Happy watching!

The Profit – Turning Around Struggling Businesses

The Profit is an American reality series starring businessman and investor Marcus Lemonis. In each episode, Lemonis invests his own money into struggling small businesses in exchange for an ownership stake and an opportunity to help turn them around.

Since it’s Lemonis’ own money on the line, he has a very vested interest in implementing real strategies to revive these companies. You get to see his business acumen andturnaround ideas in action, all while learning important entrepreneurial concepts presented in an accessible way.

Billions – The High-Stakes World of Hedge Funds

Billions is an intense drama that explores the brilliant minds and big egos involved in the elite world of New York corporate finance and hedge funds. While fictional, it provides a glimpse into the mental stamina and cutthroat tactics needed to survive at the highest levels of wealth.

The show centers on the cat-and-mouse chase between a U.S. District Attorney and a billionaire hedge fund manager. Watching these titans go head-to-head in a battle of wits and power plays is endlessly entertaining and insightful for any entrepreneur.

Dragons’ Den – Entrepreneurs Pitch to Multi-Millionaires

While we covered the British Dragon’s Den already, it’s worth calling out that the show originated in Canada with the same premise. In this version, brave entrepreneurs pitch their ideas and products to a panel of tough multi-millionaire tycoons in hopes of securing investment funds.

The compelling pitches, tense negotiations, and blunt feedback from the “Dragons” provide invaluable lessons for anyone looking to start a business or take an existing one to the next level through angel/VC funding.

Empire – A Hip Hop Mogul’s Quest for a Successor

In the musical drama Empire, a hip hop entertainment mogul must choose a successor for his multi-million dollar empire amidst drama and power struggles among his three sons who all want control.

Watching the characters backstab and vie for position within the family business provides an interesting perspective on succession planning for entrepreneurs. The extravagant “keeping up appearances” lifestyle also serves as aspirational viewing.

Only Fools and Horses – Two Brothers’ Get-Rich Schemes

While not focused entirely on business, the classic British sitcom Only Fools and Horses frequently revolves around wacky yet relatable get-rich-quick schemes hatched by endearing lead characters Del Boy and Rodney Trotter.

From dodgy dealing to ill-fated product fads, the Trotters’ entrepreneurial pursuits are a humorous but grounded portrait of the struggle and determination required to “become millionaires this year.” It’s an inspiring underdog story any bootstrapping business owner can appreciate.

The Rebel Billionaire – Branson’s Extreme Entrepreneurial Contest

The Rebel Billionaire was a 2005 reality show where contestants vied to become president of Richard Branson’s Virgin conglomerate through an eliminative set of intense business and wilderness challenges.

While short-lived, the cutthroat competition series starring the business magnate himself offered an intriguing look at Branson’s extreme, adventurous entrepreneurial spirit. Vintage scenes of the billionaire putting contestants through the ringer provide entertaining lessons in leadership and grit.

Girlboss – A Reckless Entrepreneur’s Journey

Based on Sophia Amoruso’s autobiography, Girlboss is a fictionalized series that depicts how the anarchic misfit founded and grew the fashion brand Nasty Gal into a multi-million dollar online empire.

While polarizing (and ultimately canceled after one season), the titular character’s brazen disregard for rules and constant “fake it till you make it” hustling provides both comedic and cautionary tales for aspiring entrepreneurs considering reckless or unorthodox methods. Her unwavering ambition and grind are hard not to find inspiring.

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There are plenty more excellent shows that provide unique business insights through different lenses – whether it’s dramatic takes on corporate struggles, documentaries on visionary leaders, or quirky workplace comedies.

The critical first step is being able to recognize which series have the potential to both entertain you and supplement your entrepreneurial education through realistic storytelling and compelling characters. An open, inquisitive mindset can reveal valuable lessons in unlikely places.

The Office (U.S. & U.K. Versions)

Both the American The Office and the original British series offer a satirical yet surprisingly insightful look into the often mundane and dysfunctional workplace environment of a paper company branch.

While not focused directly on entrepreneurship, the shows provide an honest portrayal of challenges like managing different personalities, maintaining productive company culture, creative problem-solving and more. The cringeworthy gaffes of manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) or David Brent are also case studies in what not to do as a boss.

For eccentric workplace comedy with an undercurrent of solid business lessons, few shows nail it better than The Office in its original or adapted format.

Kitchen Nightmares

In this hit reality series, foul-mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is tasked with trying to turn around different restaurants that are struggling and on the verge of going out of business. His tough love, no-nonsense approach to identifying problems and implementing solutions makes for addictive viewing.

While the settings are restaurants, the core principles of running a successful business like controlling costs, creating systems, staff management, and providing great customer service apply to all industries. Ramsay’s passion for reviving failing establishments is strangely motivational.

Stranger Things

At first glance, the wildly popular Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things may not seem relevant to entrepreneurs. However, this supernatural drama offers an inspirational underdog story that any business owner can appreciate.

The group of young protagonists use incredible ingenuity, teamwork, and resilience to investigate and battle terrifying paranormal forces threatening their small town. Their refusal to give up against all odds despite being constantly outmatched and underestimated is the same tenacious spirit required to overcome the innumerable challenges of entrepreneurship.

WeCrashed

This recent dramatized story on Apple TV+ chronicles the rise and fall of the disgraced shared workspace company WeWork and its eccentric, overly ambitious co-founders Adam and Rebekah Neumann.

WeCrashed offers fascinating insights into startup culture taken to excess, including the perils of overhyping, overspending, ignoring real data and business fundamentals, and hiring for cult mentality over competence. It’s a cautionary tale of what can happen when unchecked egos and delusions of grandeur take precedence over disciplined execution.

Moneyball

Based on the true story of the cash-strapped 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team, Moneyball follows the innovative analytical strategies employed by manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) to scout undervalued players and gain a competitive advantage over richer clubs.

The film is an entertaining underdog story, but also a masterclass in thinking outside the box, leveraging limited resources, relying on data over conventional wisdom, and constantly adapting strategy for an edge. Any entrepreneur operating a bootstrapped startup against deeper-pocketed rivals can find inspiration in Beane’s ingenious “moneyball” approach.

The most compelling entrepreneurial stories are often found in unexpected places across film, television, literature, and other media. An inquisitive, open-minded entrepreneur is always on the lookout for nuggets of business insight and motivation wherever the wind may take them.

Summary

We’ve covered a diverse range of shows that offer insights into entrepreneurship from different lenses – satires, dramas, reality TV, and more. While entertaining, these top-rated series also provide valuable business lessons.

From the struggle of early-stage startups to the extravagant lives of wealthy tycoons, from ethical dilemmas to criminal activities – there’s something for every kind of entrepreneur to learn and get inspired by.

So put on your entrepreneurial thinking cap, grab some snacks, and start binging! Who knows, you may find the spark for your next million-dollar idea.

FAQs

  1. Are all these shows realistic portrayals of entrepreneurship?

No, many of these shows are dramatized for entertainment purposes. While inspired by real events, some storylines may be exaggerated or unrealistic. However, the core business principles highlighted are usually accurate.

  1. Do I need any prior business knowledge to understand these shows?

Not at all! Most shows explain business concepts through simple storylines and dialogue so anyone can follow along and learn something new.

  1. Which shows have the most accurate startup insights?

Silicon Valley, Startup, Planet of the Apps, and Shark Tank are considered most realistic when it comes to the modern startup/pitch culture.

  1. Are any of these shows inappropriate for teenagers?

Some shows like Breaking Bad, Ozark, and Billions have mature content involving violence, drugs, and adult situations which may not be suitable for younger audiences. Always check ratings before watching.

  1. What’s the best way to learn from these shows?

Take notes on business lessons as you watch, then research more on concepts you find interesting. Discussing key moments with fellow entrepreneurs can provide additional insights too.

Conclusion

From dramas that highlight the struggles of empires to comedies that creatively solve business problems, entrepreneurial TV shows today come in all genres and tones. The best ones not only entertain but also educate through compelling storytelling.

Hopefully, this curated list of the top 30 shows

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