Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Phil Knight
In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business—a business that would be dynamic, different. Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream—along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-11-25

Was more into this than I thought I would be. Knight writes with conviction and compassion. It's interesting to learn the history and the feelings behind this shoe brand (I never really wore too many Nike sneakers before the pair I have now, which I do believe are the best sneakers I've ever walked in). Maybe I also liked it because it speaks a lot about doing business with Japan, a country I also really love. It was great to learn about business practices.

Docking a star because Knight isn't the most eloquent and quotable writer I've ever encountered, and there are still some troubling practices and things said from such a male privilege perspectice. Penny (his wife) was super important, the most important, but is hardly featured outside ther meeting story early on in the book. Yeah. Okay. Sure. I'm really feeling it.

Overall: Well.... I don't know taht Katniss would be a fan of capitalism...

Reviewed: 2017-03-19

I decided to read this book because my brother years ago told me that he thought Nike was a very good company (and investment). I'm glad I did. The great thing about the book is that it is focused on the early years of the company--before getting endorsements of Michael Jordon, etc. It tells the story of a guy who pursued what he believed in with dogged determination. From everything to the partners he picked, to his trips to Japan to secure more early shoe shipments, to the toll that it took on his family. Say what you want about Knight, he earned every last penny that he and his company made. The story was told with humility and openness. I would recommend it to anyone interested in understanding how to build a company and/or how to mature as a business person, spouse, partner, friend or parent while running a company.

Reviewed: 2017-01-28

Remarkable book. Hard to be humble when you're worth $10 billion plus, but the 'Shoe Dog' Phil Knight pulls it off with this part-memoir, part-business, part-self help which basically outlines the history of a bloke who started selling running shoes out of the back of his car. What's even more incredible is that clearly he doesn't consider himself a salesman. Not sure what prompted me to read it in the first place, but glad I did.

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