12 Business Lessons From ‘Goodfellas’


Upon rewatching one of my all-time favorite films, Goodfellas, it occurred to me that the movie has a slew of wisdom about business. If you want to get ahead in your career, don’t make the mistakes Henry Hill and company did. Here are all the lessons you’ll ever really need to get by, courtesy of the Scorsese masterpiece.

1. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
If you don’t deliver, people get angry. And when people get angry, you get shot.

2. Make sure your credit is impeccable.
Debt is scary. It’s even scarier when your lenders have no issues hiding bodies.

3. Don’t make excuses.
They won’t work:

4. If you must, have a supportive partner … and be a supportive partner.
Don’t cheat. Trust is expensive, and when you need help most, he or she won’t be there to help you if you’re boning other people on the side.

5. Have an intelligent childcare provider.
Dumb babysitters can and will ruin everything.

6. Deliver good news whenever you can.
Because when you deliver bad news, like the mailman did, it won’t end well. Everyone wants to kill (or just severely beat) the messenger.

7. Don’t flash your cash.
It’s tacky. Fur is ugly and expensive cars usually aren’t a worthwhile investment. Additionally, these shallow measures may cost you not only some of your financial security, but also your life. Or at least the life of a poor innocent mink.

8. Always suspect an ulterior motive.
If someone seems too eager to make you a made man or woman, it makes sense to wonder what’s in it for them … or which of their associates you pissed off or murderered.

9. Don’t bust the balls of anyone more powerful than you.
Exhibit A: The shine box incident.

10. Have a sense of humor about your past.
Because if you murder someone for busting your balls about it, they likely have friends who will want to return the favor. Life is just much easier (and longer) when you can laugh at yourself.

11. Don’t be a snitch.
No one likes a snitch except the government, and no one really loves the government.

12. Cocaine is not a great business.
Lucrative, yes. But not great. Especially not when you get high off your own supply.

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