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Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

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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 simp 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.


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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 simp 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.

30 review for Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wendy S.

    This book made me cry. Twice! I did not know a book about what I had previously viewed as the definition of a big corporation could have that sort of power. I was wrong. Phil Knight had been an unfamiliar name to me before I picked up this memoir. That, in itself, seems strange. I mean, I had no idea he's from Portland, Oregon, or that, by trade, he's an accountant, or that he identifies as an introvert. I didn't know he had met his wife while teaching at Portland State (after leaving PWC to buy This book made me cry. Twice! I did not know a book about what I had previously viewed as the definition of a big corporation could have that sort of power. I was wrong. Phil Knight had been an unfamiliar name to me before I picked up this memoir. That, in itself, seems strange. I mean, I had no idea he's from Portland, Oregon, or that, by trade, he's an accountant, or that he identifies as an introvert. I didn't know he had met his wife while teaching at Portland State (after leaving PWC to buy himself more time to work on building his entrepreneurial endeavor). Or that Nike literally means the Greek Goddess of Victory. Oh, and his logo? The famous swoosh? That had been designed for $35 by a previously unknown graphic design student he commissioned. Unlike Steve Jobs, Phil Knight did not really have too much faith in advertising. He felt a good product would sell itself. I also did not know he had lost his oldest son. I don't think any of that is really a spoiler because it can also be found by doing a simple google search. I just never did. More importantly, I didn't realize this man had the courage, the drive & dare I say, the chutzpah, to do what so very few can -- offset his own imperfections with an obsessively driven, mostly loyal & phenomenally quirky team. And, objectively embrace, encourage & build upon their skill-sets while facing lawsuit after lawsuit on a shoestring budget with a wife, young children & a very real fear of both imprisonment & bankruptcy persistently looming overhead. Who knows? Perhaps his 6 mile jogs helped him remain on-track while building what is now an empire & retaining at least somewhat of a soul. The soul? Well, when I think of Nike, Michael Jordan immediately comes to mind. And maybe Tiger Woods a few years back. But definitely not Steve Prefontaine! In fact, I had never heard of the latter. What can I say? He died before I was born, I'm a very casual runner, and I guess my American Studies courses never really covered this particular icon. And now? Well, I'm embarrassed. And, more importantly, I simply can't get him or what he had meant to this country, to the world of running at-large & to Phil Knight both personally & professionally, out of my mind. In closing, this book proves the American Dream is still alive. It's not nearly as straightforward or as black or white (or even as legal or illegal) as one may imagine, but the opportunity is here! (Minus the factories, of course -- those remain very much off-shore.). Also, and perhaps most importantly, if one or two or twelve of those dreams don't workout, it's ok (and possibly even admirable) to give them up, because "giving up doesn't mean stopping."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brad Feld

    I think Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is the best memoir I’ve ever read by a business person. I consumed it in a day last week. It’s about the origin story of Nike, which started out as Blue Ribbon Sports. Unlike so many memoirs, it’s not an equally balanced arc through Knight’s life. It’s not an ego gratifying display of his awesomeness, heavily weighted in the success of the company and all the amazing things that went on around that. Instead, it’s a deep focus on the beginning years of Nike especiall I think Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is the best memoir I’ve ever read by a business person. I consumed it in a day last week. It’s about the origin story of Nike, which started out as Blue Ribbon Sports. Unlike so many memoirs, it’s not an equally balanced arc through Knight’s life. It’s not an ego gratifying display of his awesomeness, heavily weighted in the success of the company and all the amazing things that went on around that. Instead, it’s a deep focus on the beginning years of Nike especially around the first decade. It quickly gets to 1964 and the equal partnership between Bill Bowerman and Knight. But then it takes it’s time, year by year (each chapter is titled with the year number only) through the first decade of the company. It’s an incredible story. I didn’t realize that for the first five years of the company, Knight had to work full-time – mostly at Price Waterhouse and then Coopers & Lybrand as an accountant – because the company didn’t have any resources to support him and his new family. He used nights, weekends, and in all the gaps in between to get Nike (the Blue Ribbon Sports) up and running. Year one revenue – in 1964 – was $8,000. Year two revenue – with one full time employee (not Knight) was $20,000. Year 41 revenue (2015) was $30.6 billion with a net income of $3.3 billion. Knight covers all of it in detail. The ups and the downs. The many downs. The moments where he felt like he could lose it all, which seemed to happen at least once a year. His personal struggles as a leader and a manager. The people that drove him fucking crazy at the beginning, but were ultimately indispensable to the company. His momentary conflicts about whether or not the struggle was worth it. The breakthroughs – mostly understood in hindsight – when he realized they had gotten to another level. The thread of financing the company, especially through the first decade, was just incredible. His only real source of financing was tradition banks (who sucked) and partners (playing the float). The company had literally no equity available to it, but was growing at a rate that would put most of today’s VC-backed startups to shame. He made it work and how he did it was awesome. It’s incredible to get inside of a man now worth over $25 billion and the founder of one of the most iconic brands on the planet at the very beginning of his story. If you are a founder, this is a must read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    Growing up in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, as a collective society we were in awe of Michael Jordan. Not only did we imagine ourselves draining the decisive jump shot to seal the title, we also had to use every product that he endorsed; Gatorade, Wheaties, Coca-Cola, and, of course, Nike Air Jordan shoes. Nike most likely would not be where it is today without the sponsorship of Jordan and subsequent Jordan Brands, so when I found out that the company's founder Phil Knight had written a memoi Growing up in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, as a collective society we were in awe of Michael Jordan. Not only did we imagine ourselves draining the decisive jump shot to seal the title, we also had to use every product that he endorsed; Gatorade, Wheaties, Coca-Cola, and, of course, Nike Air Jordan shoes. Nike most likely would not be where it is today without the sponsorship of Jordan and subsequent Jordan Brands, so when I found out that the company's founder Phil Knight had written a memoir, I had my curiosity whetted. In Shoe Dog, Knight takes his readers on a journey back to the birth of company that today is one of the world's most noticeable name brands. As a fan of Jordan and one who has used the term 'just do it' in reference to getting the job done, I knew that this was a memoir that I had to discover for myself. In 1962, Phil Knight had what he calls a 'crazy idea'. He was about to finish his MBA at Stanford, and, as part of an entrepreneurial class, pitched the idea of marketing Japanese running shoes to American markets. All but one of Knight's classmates fell asleep on the spot, yet, Knight was onto something big. The Japanese had already flooded the American market with cameras and other products to follow as the yen recovered, so why not shoes. He pitched the idea to his father, and with a loan of $50, he set off on an around the world trip of self-discovery. After a stop on the pristine beaches of Hawaii, it was on to Japan, where then twenty four year old Knight discussed his idea with multiple companies. Only one, Onitsuka Corporation based out of Kobe, liked the idea, and made Knight into their sole western distributor of Tiger running shoes. After completing his trips that included stops in Jordan and the Parthenon in Greece which paid homage to the goddess Nike Athena, Knight returned to his home outside of Portland, Oregon. Forming a partnership with legendary track coach Bill Bowerman, Knight was on his way to success. Forming an initial team of castoffs-- a paralyzed former track star and professionals who did not mesh with their chosen careers--, in 1964, Blue Ribbon Sports, Inc. was born. Despite Bowerman's expertise in designing shoes; however, Blue Ribbon, later to be reborn Nike, did not take off initially. The market for running shoes, especially for the casual weekend runner, was not as popular as it is now. Japanese importers presented many problems which later resulted in law suits. Yet, Knight and his team, which later included track star Steve Prefontaine and early endorsements from athletes like Ilia Nastase, trekked on, perfected their ideas, and eventually became the corporation that they are today. It was Prefontaine's endorsement that gave Nike credibility, and even after his tragic death, the majority of 1976 United States Olympic hopefuls competed in Nikes. The swoosh symbol was everywhere, the company had exposure to rival Adidas, and, after going public at the end of 1977, Nike was on its way up in the world. Because I am not savvy in navigating the business world, I found the sections about Blue Ribbon's fight with Onitsuka shoes to distribute running shoes and later their entanglement with U.S. Customs Service to be fascinating. Today, people have heard one side of the story, that Nike has taken over decrepit factories in third world countries to produce athletic shoes that their employees can not afford. Yet, Knight has delivered his side of the story, from his early struggles against the Japanese, to his quest to modernizing factories to comply with current business practices. He details the company's precarious situation in the 1960s and 1970s, even after they had reached over $100 million annual in sales. Due to the constant business struggle with the Japanese and their American rivals, one ruling in the other direction could have meant the end of Nike. Yet, Knight's quality group had luck on their side, and won every law suit and threat thrown in their direction. With the business struggles behind them, the sky was the limit for the corporation that had once been a 'crazy idea'. Today Nike is situated on a sprawling campus in Beaverton, Oregon. The company took off after employing shoe guru Sonny Vaccaro in the late 1970s and signing Jordan out of college in 1983-84. Looking back, Knight wishes he could do it all over again with one caveat, to be a better father to his children. I would have enjoyed reading more about Knight's relationship with Jordan, but the world knows the gist of that story. Learning about how Nike got its start and how each day could have been the company's last during the entire decade of the 1970s was a fascinating read. Knight has said that business is 'war without bullets' and channeled generals such as Patton and MacArthur during the company's rise to greatness. Today the Nike swoosh symbol is emblematic as sports itself. Seeing how it came to be was a fascinating, fun, and informative 4 star read and highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ned Frederick

    Shoe Dog could have been titled, "Buck Naked", because of the way Phil "Buck" Knight bares his soul in this fine memoir. I'm grateful to Knight for putting it all down in black and white. My 12 years with Nike started toward the end of the timeframe of this memoir, and so a lot of what Knight chronicles in Shoe Dog was the core of the Nike creation myth, revealed piecemeal to most of us in the late 70's and early 80's... usually in the form of humorous anecdotes shared over a cocktail or three. Shoe Dog could have been titled, "Buck Naked", because of the way Phil "Buck" Knight bares his soul in this fine memoir. I'm grateful to Knight for putting it all down in black and white. My 12 years with Nike started toward the end of the timeframe of this memoir, and so a lot of what Knight chronicles in Shoe Dog was the core of the Nike creation myth, revealed piecemeal to most of us in the late 70's and early 80's... usually in the form of humorous anecdotes shared over a cocktail or three. It's just wonderful to read this very personal account and especially to have so many unexpected revelations about Knight's state of mind during those seminal moments in Nike's early history. During my tenure at Nike, Knight was a shy, almost bashful, and sometimes quixotic, character who came across as extremely bright, introspective, and prone to occasional, intractable reluctance. I get it now. Of the dozens of CEO's I've met over these 30+ years in the sneaker business he is the only one I could even begin to describe as a seeker... his deep introspection is a quality I've always admired. More so now that I have read about the depth and breadth of what I can only call, his quest. Frankly, I'm astonished. I could never imagine him publicly sharing so much of himself as he does in Shoe Dog. Something else I always admired was his gift for hiring talented, dedicated people and giving them plenty of rope. He was always tolerant of failure, but intolerant of stagnation. These qualities certainly come across in this fine book. Remarkable man. Remarkable history. Remarkable book.

  5. 3 out of 5

    مشاري الإبراهيم

    (نايك) مشهورة لكن فِل نايت (مؤسس نايك) شخصية مجهولة تمامًا بالنّسبة لي. بعد قراءة سيرته توصّلت إلى أهمّية نشرها، لأنّ الرجل كسر الصورة النمطية لرائد الأعمال العالمي الناجح. فاجأتني صفاته التي في الغالب لا يربطها النّاس مع ريادة الأعمال والنّجاح. مثلاً: بدايته المهنية كانت المحاسبة، شخصيّتة انطوائية، كان سيّء جدًا في المفاوضات، كان لا يؤمن كثيرًا بالإعلانات (عكس ستيف جوبز)، علاقته بأسرته أكثر من رائعة (كان يتّصل بأبيه كلَّ مساء). الدرس الأوّل بدأ فِل كمورّد أحذية رياضية يابانية اسمها (Tiger). وخلال (نايك) مشهورة لكن فِل نايت (مؤسس نايك) شخصية مجهولة تمامًا بالنّسبة لي. بعد قراءة سيرته توصّلت إلى أهمّية نشرها، لأنّ الرجل كسر الصورة النمطية لرائد الأعمال العالمي الناجح. فاجأتني صفاته التي في الغالب لا يربطها النّاس مع ريادة الأعمال والنّجاح. مثلاً: بدايته المهنية كانت المحاسبة، شخصيّتة انطوائية، كان سيّء جدًا في المفاوضات، كان لا يؤمن كثيرًا بالإعلانات (عكس ستيف جوبز)، علاقته بأسرته أكثر من رائعة (كان يتّصل بأبيه كلَّ مساء). الدرس الأوّل بدأ فِل كمورّد أحذية رياضية يابانية اسمها (Tiger). وخلال عمله كمورّد، نجح في تطوير العديد من الموديلات لتلبية احتياجات الرياضي الأمريكي؛ مما أعطاه مصداقية في السّوق. الأمر الآخر الذي كان سببًا رئيسًا في نجاحه هو شراكته مع رجلين: (1) مدرّب منتخب أمريكا الأولومبي للركض و(2) شاب متحمّس جدًّا في مجال الركض، لدرجة أنّه كان يراسل كل زبون كتابيًا، ليسأله عن تجربته وتطلّعاته ، وتقديم استشارات. هذا أيضـًا رفع من مصداقيّته. في ذلك الوقت (بداية الستينيات)، كان محبّي الركض أقلية ولا يوجد مكان يجمعهم. قام شريك فلِ نايت (المتحمّس) بتحويل متاجرهم إلى أماكن تجمّع لمحبّي الركض مما رفع مصداقيّته أيضًا. بعد سنوات انقطعت العلاقة مع شركة (Tiger) واضطر أن يصنع أحذية من نفسه وأسماها نايك. سجل فِل نايت في أهم معرض للملابس الرياضية، ووصلت الأحذية من المصنع قبل المعرض بيوم. واكتشف أنّها كانت سيّئة للغاية ومليئة بالأخطاء. لكن ما فاجأ الجميع أنه تحصّل على طلبات تفوق كل توقّعاته، وذلك لأنّه عُرِف بمصداقيّته في السّوق. وهذا بالنّسبة لي درس مهم: المصداقية قد تأخذ وقت للبناء وقد يكون طريقها طويل، لكنّها أهم عامل للنجاح. الدرس الثاني لم يتردد فِل في إضافة أعضاء لفريق عمله إن كانت لهم 3 صفات (متحمّس للمجال + متعدّد المهارات + يتقبّل إنّه يضحك على أخطاءه). وهذه الوصفة السرية لازم نتبنّاها في المؤسسات المتوسطة والصغيرة. فالمتحمّس ما يحتاج تخشى برود منّه أو إنه ما يعطي 100% للعمل. ومتعدد المهارات يقدر يساعد في نمو الشركة اللي بتتطلّب إنّك تدخل في مجالات مختلفة. ويضحك على أخطاءه لأنه بيمر في ضغط شديد كما هي الشركات النامية. والضحك هنا المقصود فيه إنّه ما ينهار من الخطأ ويتعلّم منه (مو إنّه غير مبالي). الدرس الثالث توفّى ابن فِل نايت وهو في شبابه، كما توفّى العديد من شركائه. يختم فِل نايت الكتاب بذكّر أهمّية وجود غاية تعمل نحوها. غاية معنويّة. لأنّ حقيقة الحياة: أنّها قصيرة. قصيرة جدًّا. وكل المكاسب المادية لا قيمة لها إن لم تكن هناك غاية تعمل تجاهها.

  6. 4 out of 5

    peiman-mir5 rezakhani

    دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب، خاطراتِ <فیل نایت> مالکِ شرکت بزرگِ "نایکی" میباشد و به بهترین شکلِ ممکن نشان داده است که چگونه از کجا به کجا رسیده است و همچون دونده ای تیزپا از منطقهٔ پورتلند، این مسیرِ پیشرفت را طی کرده است... نمیتوان کتاب را چکیده کرد، امّا به انتخاب بخشی از نوشته هایِ کتاب را در زیر برایتان مینویسم که مربوط میشود به دورانی که او در دانشگاه درس میخوانده است و خاطراتش از شخصی به نامِ <بیل بُوِرمن> که تأثیر بسیار زیادی در پیشرفتِ او داشته است و از مربی تبدیل به شریکِ کار ‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، این کتاب، خاطراتِ <فیل نایت> مالکِ شرکت بزرگِ "نایکی" میباشد و به بهترین شکلِ ممکن نشان داده است که چگونه از کجا به کجا رسیده است و همچون دونده ای تیزپا از منطقهٔ پورتلند، این مسیرِ پیشرفت را طی کرده است... نمیتوان کتاب را چکیده کرد، امّا به انتخاب بخشی از نوشته هایِ کتاب را در زیر برایتان مینویسم که مربوط میشود به دورانی که او در دانشگاه درس میخوانده است و خاطراتش از شخصی به نامِ <بیل بُوِرمن> که تأثیر بسیار زیادی در پیشرفتِ او داشته است و از مربی تبدیل به شریکِ کاری برایِ او میشود و شرکتِ "روبانِ آبی" را تأسیس میکنند و نزدیک به هفت سال بعد تبدیل به شرکتِ "نایکی" میشود ----------------------------------------- ‎سالِ دومِ دانشگاه بودم و برنامه هایم کاملاً مرا از پا انداخته بود. صبح ها کلاسهایِ دانشگاه و عصرها تمرین و ورزش و تمامِ شب تکالیفم را انجام میدادم... یکروز که از این میترسیدم که نکند دچارِ سرماخوردگی شوم، جلویِ دربِ اتاقِ کارِ <بُورمن> ایستادم تا به او بگویم که بعد از ظهرِ آن روز را نمیتوانم تمرین کنم.. بُورمن گفت: آهااا.. که اینطور... مربیِ این تیم کیه!؟ ... گفتم: شما هستی... بُورمن گفت: پس به عنوانِ مربی بهت میگم که امروز باید سرِ تمرین حاضر باشی... ضمناً امروز رکوردگیری داریم ‎نزدیک بود اشک از چشمانم جاری شود، امّا جلویِ خودم را گرفتم.. تمامِ احساساتم را خرجِ دویدن کردم و یکی از بهترین رکوردهایِ سال را ثبت کردم ‎وقتی از زمین بیرون می آمدم، با اخم نگاهی به بُورمن انداختم و در دلم به او گفتم: حالا راضی شدی حرامزاده؟!؟... نگاهی به من انداخت و کرنومترش را چک کرد و باز نگاهی به من کرد و سرش را به نشانهٔ تأیید تکان داد ‎او مرا آزمایش کرده بود.. مرا درهم شکسته بود و دوباره مرا سرهم کرده بود، دقیقاً کاری که با کفش ها میکرد... من از پسِ آن کار برآمده بودم.. از آن روز به بعد من واقعاً یکی از "مردانِ اورگن" او بودم (منظور انتخاب شدن در ایالت اورگن یا همان اورگون بوده است) ... از آن روز به بعد من یک ببر بودم ‎بلافاصله از بُورمن در موردِ مسابقه جواب گرفتم.. نوشته بود که هفتهٔ آینده برای برگزاری مسابقاتِ داخل سالنِ اورگون، به پورتلند می آید و مرا برای صرفِ ناهار به هتلی که محلِ جایگیریِ اعضایِ تیم بود، دعوت کرده بود ********* ‎بیست و پنجم ژانویهٔ سال 1964... هنگامی که پیشخدمتِ هتل، ما را به سمتِ میزِ ناهار راهنمایی میکرد، استرس بسیار زیادی داشتم.. به یاد دارم که بُورمن همبرگر سفارش داد و من با صدایی که از تهِ چاه در می آمد (تته پته کنان)، گفتم: دوتاش کنید ‎چند دقیقه ای حال و احوال کردیم و برای بُورمن از جاهایی که از دور دنیا سفر کرده بودم، تعریف کردم و او نسبت به آن زمان که در ایتالیا بودم، علاقهٔ ویژه ای نشان داد.. با آنکه در زمان جنگ جهانی، ممکن بود در ایتالیا کشته شود، بازهم از آن دوره به نیکی یاد میکرد ‎بالاخره رفت سرِ اصلِ مطلب و گفت: آن کفش هایِ ژاپنی خیلی خوب هستش. چطوره من هم وارد اون معامله بشم؟ ‎نگاهی بهش کردم و گفتم: معامله؟؟ مدتی زمان برد تا آنچه بُورمن گفته بود را هضم کنم و بفهمم.. اون نمیخواست فقط ده الی دوازده تا کفش برایِ اعضایِ تیمش خریداری کنه! بلکه قصد شراکت با من را داشت!؟ اگر خدا هم از درونِ گردبادی به من پیشنهادِ شراکت میداد، به همان اندازه تعجب میکردم ‎تته پته کنان، در حالی که زبانم بند آمده بود، به او گفتم: بله --------------------------------------------- ‎امیدوارم از خواندنِ این کتاب لذت ببرید ‎<پیروز باشید و ایرانی>

  7. 3 out of 5

    TS Chan

    “Let everyone else call your idea crazy.. just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.” In other words, Just Do It! Nike is the ultimate American dream. And it all started when a twenty-four year old Oregonian suddenly had this Crazy Idea of bringing Japanese running shoes, specifically the Onitsuka Tigers, into the country way back in 1962, just less than two decades after the “Let everyone else call your idea crazy.. just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.” In other words, Just Do It! Nike is the ultimate American dream. And it all started when a twenty-four year old Oregonian suddenly had this Crazy Idea of bringing Japanese running shoes, specifically the Onitsuka Tigers, into the country way back in 1962, just less than two decades after the United States of America bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima. There had been some unauthorised biographies or stories about how Nike came to be, but this is the first time we are graced with the words from the creator himself, Philip H. Knight. Shoe Dog is a well-written, captivating and candid account of how Knight’s Crazy Idea came into fruition and eventually metamorphosized into probably the most recognizable name in the athletic shoe and apparel industry. While not a business book per se, there are a lot of insights herein about entrepreneurship and challenges of running a successful business. The journey undertaken by Blue Ribbon Sports, the name of the company with which Knight started his distribution of the Onitsuka Tigers, was monumentally challenging in spite of encouraging sales and demand. What with the difficulties of dealing with the Japanese halfway across the world in a snail-mail era coupled with problematic and delayed shipments time and time again, and lousy conservative bankers who preferred equity (i.e. cash) over reinvested growth, Knight and his team of partners were constantly fighting a relentless uphill battle to stay afloat. Even when Nike as a brand was created, the challenges were far from over as manufacturing capacity and capital availability struggled to keep pace with the phenomenal growth. And what a team he was able to garner, the foremost of them all being arguably the most renowned American running coach ever, Bill Bowerman. The story of Nike has strong parables to sports as its massive success was built on strong and loyal team work. A lot of the ideas that brought Nike to bear were not solely Knight’s. It was also almost paradoxical to learn that Knight was not convinced on the powers of advertising, what with Nike being so revolutionary in its advertising campaigns and ideas. What he did bring to the table was his sheer passion and stubbornness (as stopping means losing) and a bunch of people who were willing to dedicate all their money and efforts into where their hearts lie. At its core, the firm was essentially founded and nurtured by running geeks who understood the spirit of the sport and embraced innovation. Like books, sports give people a sense of having lived other lives, of taking part in other people’s victories. And defeats. When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete, and in that convergence, in that transference, is the oneness that mystics talk about. Another highly notable mention in this book is, of course, the legendary Steve Prefontaine, whose greatly inspiring yet tragic story still resonates within the hallowed grounds of Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon. Admiration bordering on worship for Pre, who was famously known for once saying “Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it”, provided further fuel for the inner fire within Knight’s competitive psyche. It was also enlightening to learn about the origins of the Nike Cortezes and finally understand its cult status amongst shoe addicts. Admittedly, I have always been more of an Adidas fan. However, this frank, emotional and in-depth look into the history of Nike and people behind its success has significantly boosted my appreciation of the brand. Taglines like “Just Do It” and “There Is No Finish Line” are not merely marketing propaganda but the embodiment of the spirit of the brand and its founding fathers. This is a real life story of passion, perseverance, belief, loyalty and teamwork with a lot of heart. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves biographies. More so for budding or even seasoned entrepreneurs, sneaker or athletic shoe fans, and especially for runners, athletes or just sports fans in general. And if you are a fan of Nike, what are you even waiting for?! This review can also be found at Booknest

  8. 3 out of 5

    Supreeth

    "I’d tell men and women in their midtwenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt." All I wanted to Hear !

  9. 3 out of 5

    Brandice

    As a long-time lover of Nike, it was only matter of time until I read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Nike’s founder. I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this one and I was right, I really liked it! The story, told in first person by Phil himself, begins by focusing on his early life, most notably his post-college adulthood in the early 1960s. Phil was unsure of what exactly he wanted to do and had a strong desire to travel the world first. This is nothing new, in my opinion, if anything, this desire has only b As a long-time lover of Nike, it was only matter of time until I read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Nike’s founder. I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this one and I was right, I really liked it! The story, told in first person by Phil himself, begins by focusing on his early life, most notably his post-college adulthood in the early 1960s. Phil was unsure of what exactly he wanted to do and had a strong desire to travel the world first. This is nothing new, in my opinion, if anything, this desire has only become more common with young adults. I enjoyed the whole book but began to get impatient with this part - Only because I felt this young adult desire to travel the world wasn’t too unique, and I was eager to get started on the Nike story. Of course, we never know which life experiences will shape us and how they will leave lasting impacts, and this did tie back into the ultimate story of Nike. ”Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.” I liked learning about the origins of a company I’ve loved and supported for most of my life, and seeing how certain products came to be. I would’ve enjoyed a little more on the endorsements and relationships with athletes in the 90s and 2000s, like Jordan, Tiger, Lebron, etc. but the majority of the book is set well before this timeframe. Before Nike became what it is today, it was Blue Ribbon Sports, being run out of Phil’s parents’ home in Oregon. Like most successful companies, there were many challenges and growing pains. I admire people who continually have the strength to overcome such obstacles and keep pursuing the vision they believe in. It’s daunting and much easier said than done! It was interesting to read about the other key players who helped craft Nike’s culture and footprint too. ”I’d never witnessed anything quite like that race. And yet I didn’t just witness it. I took part in it. Days later I felt sore in my hams and quads. This, I decided, this is what sports are, what they can do. Like books, sports give people a sense of having lived other lives, of taking part in other people’s victories. And defeats. When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete, and in that convergence, in they transference, is the oneness that the mystics talk about.” I especially enjoyed the last chapter of the book, which jumps forward to 2007, where Phil reflects on how far the founding group has come, where they all are at that point, and where Nike now stood, several years later. It also sheds more of a light on Phil’s personal life, which was nice to read about. Shoe Dog is a great story; one that shares the origins of an iconic global brand, and provides many lessons for both the aspiring entrepreneur and the ultimate sports fan.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jason Navallo

    Loved this book. It was very inspiring to read Phil Knight's story of how he built one of the world's most successful companies. It also inspired me to finish writing Underdog!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    I’m not sure when I became aware of Nike – maybe sometime around the millennium? Certainly not before that. I was therefore astounded to learn that the company had been founded in the early 1970’s, with the aim of producing and selling sports shoes. In fact, the co-founder (and major driving force), Phil Knight, was a runner in college and his driving goal was to produce top class running shoes. We first catch up with Phil, a native of Oregon, in the late 60’s when he’d already secured an MBA at I’m not sure when I became aware of Nike – maybe sometime around the millennium? Certainly not before that. I was therefore astounded to learn that the company had been founded in the early 1970’s, with the aim of producing and selling sports shoes. In fact, the co-founder (and major driving force), Phil Knight, was a runner in college and his driving goal was to produce top class running shoes. We first catch up with Phil, a native of Oregon, in the late 60’s when he’d already secured an MBA at Stanford and had decided to travel the world. Off he went on his voyage of discovery – and what a journey it was. In listening to an audio version of this book I was pretty much captivated from the very start. This wasn’t at all the book I’d anticipated it to be - it was much more literary than the account I’d expected. The descriptions of time and place and people and events transported me directly there. I was stood beside him, drinking it all in. When visiting Japan Phil came across the Tiger brand of running shoes and he decided to set up a business importing the shoes and selling them in America. His his old college running coach, Bill Bowerman, became a trusted adviser and then a partner. Along side this, Knight also took up a job in an accounting firm, eventually gaining a full accounting accreditation. In fact, these early days were a real struggle for his infant business, there were many challenges to overcome and it often seemed inevitable that the enterprise would fail. The author comes across as a bit of a romantic – he really wanted to produce the perfect shoe and worked tirelessly with Bowerman and his Japanese supplier to evolve their offering – but also as a workaholic, super-ambitious businessman not prepared to let any challenge stop him. Eventually, however, the challenges of working with his supplier did wear him down and as it became inevitable that he’d lose the ability to import their shoes he decided to start producing his own. So was the company that became Nike born. The details of his struggles are compelling as are his descriptions of the people he met along the way. At one point he describes a tough looking businessman he’s just met thus: light seemed to bounce off him differently. No, rather light didn’t bounce off him - he absorbed it like a black hole. Nike started to grow steadily, but Phil was in the habit of spending every last cent the company could raise on producing more stock. He knew this was a dangerous strategy but he was convinced it was the only way to ensure growth. He operated very close to the edge – in fact sometimes way over the edge - but still he continued to do things his way. It brought him perilously close to ruin, but (as we know) the business survived and went on to become the leviathan it is today. If it was fiction it’d be a great story, but as non-fiction it comprises a tale of almost unbelievable tenacity in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. The account of his business adventures is wound up at the point the company is floated (at the same time as Apple) in 1980, by which point Nike had attained a 50% market share in the American athletic shoe market. The final section of the book comprises Knight’s reflections on his life and updates on the key figures featured in the book. What I like most about this book is the way the story is told. The author gives much credit for his successes to others – people he worked with through the years – and he explains not just what he did but also his motivations for taking the actions he did. Sometimes these seemed counterintuitive, and he acknowledges this, but he took them all the same. He is humble and self-deprecating in his portrayal of himself throughout. I grew to like him a lot. I can’t recall when I’ve enjoyed a memoir as much – maybe I never have. It was a joy and an inspiration to spend time with Phil Knight and to learn his story. NB: I was running in the early 70's when the leading brand of shoe in the UK seemed to be New Balance (the shoes I wore). I then played many other sports (soccer, tennis, badminton) again never wearing Nike but trying out Puma and Addidas amongst others. Later I ran again, this time buying Asics, Mizuno, Brooks and Hoka. Just as as was despairing of the fact that I'd never bought a pair of Nike shoes I spotted my current golf shoes in the garage - yes, you've guessed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    JUST DO IT. Those words are the life story of Phil Knight. To every athlete, entrepreneur, mother, father, and dreamer his greatest legacy will be a life well played. More valuable than his pledge of giving back to society $100,000,000 a year, Phil 'Found His Greatness' in life by inspiring us all to play harder, dig deeper and never quit. Thank you, Phil. This book is well worth every hard-won word, shared and earned over 50+ years of grueling competition. More than once the story looked like im JUST DO IT. Those words are the life story of Phil Knight. To every athlete, entrepreneur, mother, father, and dreamer his greatest legacy will be a life well played. More valuable than his pledge of giving back to society $100,000,000 a year, Phil 'Found His Greatness' in life by inspiring us all to play harder, dig deeper and never quit. Thank you, Phil. This book is well worth every hard-won word, shared and earned over 50+ years of grueling competition. More than once the story looked like impending failure. Most would have given up. Perhaps Phil's greatest advice, and example, are the words he shared on his book tour in Portland where he told us all, "The only time you must not fail is the last time you try." Pick your heroes with the greatest of care. Phil Knight, your name shall stand beyond your lifetime in our generation's Pantheon of Heroes for never failing to try.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Masoud Irannejad

    تبدیل شد به بهترین کتابی که تا حالا خوندم فیل نایت با نوشتن این کتاب مارو دعوت میکنه تا به مدت 19 سال از زندگیش رو همراهش باشیم قدم به قدم همراهش به جلو میریم، از روزی که ایده ی واردات کفش از ژاپن به ذهنش رسید تا روزی که سهام شرکتش رو عرضه عمومی میکنه تو این نوزده سال پر از سختی ، همراه فیل به مسافرت دور دنیا میریم عشق زندگیش رو ملاقات میکنیم و تلاش های بی وقفه و تحسین برانگیزش رو برای سرپا نگهداشتن شرکتش میبینیم تلاش هایی خستگی ناپذیری که کاملا ارزشش رو داشت شرکت فیل نایت که سال اول تنها یک کارم تبدیل شد به بهترین کتابی که تا حالا خوندم فیل نایت با نوشتن این کتاب مارو دعوت میکنه تا به مدت 19 سال از زندگیش رو همراهش باشیم قدم به قدم همراهش به جلو میریم، از روزی که ایده ی واردات کفش از ژاپن به ذهنش رسید تا روزی که سهام شرکتش رو عرضه عمومی میکنه تو این نوزده سال پر از سختی ، همراه فیل به مسافرت دور دنیا میریم عشق زندگیش رو ملاقات میکنیم و تلاش های بی وقفه و تحسین برانگیزش رو برای سرپا نگهداشتن شرکتش میبینیم تلاش هایی خستگی ناپذیری که کاملا ارزشش رو داشت شرکت فیل نایت که سال اول تنها یک کارمند داشت (که اون هم خواهرش بود) الان تعداد کامندانش از 70000نفرهم فراتر رفته و فروش سالیانه محصولات شرکت از 8000دلار سال اول به بیش از 32 میلیارد دلار رسیده(تقریبا دو برابر شرکت آدیداس)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wen

    Easily one of my all-time favorite business books, out there with Liar’s Poker and The Snowball. From cover to cover it exuded positive vibes; a nice kick-start for my 2018 reading year. The key messages conveyed by this memoir were not unlike those in biographies authored by founders of other successful businesses: marry career with passion, place subordinates according to their talents etc. etc. And yet Phil Knight expertly presented the mortal side of a legendary CEO; he forsook platitudes an Easily one of my all-time favorite business books, out there with Liar’s Poker and The Snowball. From cover to cover it exuded positive vibes; a nice kick-start for my 2018 reading year. The key messages conveyed by this memoir were not unlike those in biographies authored by founders of other successful businesses: marry career with passion, place subordinates according to their talents etc. etc. And yet Phil Knight expertly presented the mortal side of a legendary CEO; he forsook platitudes and business jargons, instead opted for relatable anecdotes that he could trade with general reading public over cocktail. In the bulk of the book Knight told his stories with resounding humor and self-deprecation. Himself, his co-founder and first employees were all more or less misfits, with, at times, uncompromising temperament; it was the love for running and the devotion to the company that bound them firmly enough to endure otherwise unsurmountable challenges. in the last chapter he shifted his tone, and delivered heart-felt reflection and reminiscence of the last 40 years. If until then I saw Knight as a bohemian, who employed a playboy attitude toward barriers and setbacks, in this chapter I could clearly felt his heaving emotions, from grief to joy, from proud to anger… The book covered the founding of Nike, first formed as Blue ribbon Sports, through its 1980 public offering. We witnessed how a group of early-1960s entrepreneurs turned a novel business idea of selling imported Japanese running shoes (as a business school assignment) into an iconic sports brand worth hundreds of millions of dollars at its IPO. That was before the existence of venture capital fueling today’s startups like Facebook and Uber. Back then they were under the mercy of commercial banks, who were extremely risk-averse, and would trade growth for balance sheet cash/equity in a heartbeat. Not surprisingly the most suspenseful parts were when Blue Ribbon/Nike several times narrowly escaped bankruptcy. Several times Knight rejected the idea of IPO for fear of losing control. Ironically his original idea “futures”, then designed to preserve liquidity, later became a key gage for Nike’s financial health, or a catalyst for Nike stock. Like that Bill Gates was late to recognize the potential of internet browser, Knight was not totally sold on either the Nike company name or the swoosh logo at first. For some reason I found it comforting that these business magnates are humans; they don’t possess God’s perfect vision. Knight was honest, if not humble, to publicly acknowledge the power of luck. One does not have to read Outlier by Malcolm Gladwell to echo this view. Yet Knight’s humbleness was also reflected throughout the book by how much he attributed each breakthrough to his teammates and luck. Blue Ribbon’s first employee Jeff Johnson was my favorite character. He was handsome, creative, loyal and oh so addicted to books. I felt somewhat unjust, and thought he was not sufficiently compensated despite being instrumental to Nike’s success. I only wish the memoir had included post-IPO period of Nike, at least until Knight retired from his CEO role in 2006.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    "For some, I realize, business is the all-out pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us the business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn't our mission as human beings. It's a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life alw "For some, I realize, business is the all-out pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us the business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn't our mission as human beings. It's a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life always strives to transcend the basic process of living ..." I really enjoyed the message of this book. I actually found it to be rather inspiring. It's all about doing things your own way; being true to yourself. Phil Knight pursued his Crazy Idea, even when no one was backing him, and he fought for it when people tried to bring him down. He overcame obstacles through the sheer determination to keep fighting. And he gathered around him people who believed in the dream as wholeheartedly as him. It's also fascinating to learn how this iconic brand began and all the brilliant little Nike trivia throughout. I'd never heard of most of the people mentioned in this book, yet they were big names back in the day. It's amazing all the effort that went into building this brand. I work for a company that sells predominantly Nike products, and to be surrounded by it - and dressed in it - while reading about those humble beginnings was an awe-inspiring experience. Plus, it'll be fun to tell customers and colleagues all these new and interesting facts. I'm always thirsting for knowledge. The writing was surprisingly good and I, like many, wonder if there was some ghost-writing involved. If not, it's pretty impressive. I was actually entertained throughout, even with all the mentions of numbers, loans, shoe materials, factories, etc. There's a great human element that's evident in the storytelling, and it helps you to connect. It's also incredibly honest. Knight was kind of a jerk, and did some questionable stuff. But he reflects on himself and is able to admit when he was acting petulant, or whiny, or stubborn. The story of how Nike got its name was my favourite. It would have been nice to have some pictures, but I guess there's always Google for that. I was also hoping to read about the signing of Jordan, whose first choice was Adidas, but alas, he only gets a brief mention in the final few pages. There was some stuff that I feel didn't really need to be included, though I can see why it was, and was still interesting to read. All in all, a fascinating look at the beginnings of a sports giant, and a rather inspiring memoir about doing things your own way, being true to yourself, and making more out of life than just money. Anyone interested in the brand will enjoy the trivia, but this is also an inspiring memoir for people who are interested in stories of overcoming adversity, of the little guy with sharp teeth, of a start-up business that ultimately became one of the most successful in the world. Highly recommend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Shoe Dog is an extraordinary hero's journey, an epic tale of faith, unparalleled determination, excellence, failure, triumph, hard-earned wisdom, and love. It's nothing short of a miracle that Nike exists. I finished the last sentence in complete awe, inspired and grateful for the experience.--Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Inside the O'Briens

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    Picked this up hoping it would be a fascinating and inspirational book about leadership and passion. Well... it was an interesting book, at least. It follows Phil Knight's professional career starting from a small running shoe importer up until Nike becoming a publicly traded company. Other reviewers have said they were disappointed that it doesn't cover the birth of Air Jordan, and I would have to agree that it feels like part of the story is missing because of that. My biggest complaint, howev Picked this up hoping it would be a fascinating and inspirational book about leadership and passion. Well... it was an interesting book, at least. It follows Phil Knight's professional career starting from a small running shoe importer up until Nike becoming a publicly traded company. Other reviewers have said they were disappointed that it doesn't cover the birth of Air Jordan, and I would have to agree that it feels like part of the story is missing because of that. My biggest complaint, however, is that the book largely just revealed to me that I just don't like Phil Knight very much. He basically brags throughout the book that he never told his children or employees "I love you" or "I'm proud of you," even though one of his main partners ended each of his letters (of which there were thousands sent) with "Please send words of encouragement," in times of doubt and unsure footing. He speaks of his oldest son as if he's not much more than a nuisance, and as a result sounds completely insincere talking about how paralyzed he felt in response to his death. In fact, it seemed like he only wrote about it in his book so he could name drop all of the A-List athletes that shared condolences with him. Maybe other people won't interpret his stories the same way as I did, but I came away with a pretty poor impression of Phil Knight.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Huyen Chip

    Great story. There is grit, passion, and drama. Phil Knight described with amazing details his journey from selling shoes out of his car to building a multi-billion dollar company. It'd have been an perfect from zero to hero story if it wasn't for its elitism. All important people in Phil Knight's life seem to be rich and powerful. Knight's parents paid for his college, for his expensive MBA. Then the 24 year old Knight asked for even more money to travel the world, beach-bumming in Hawaii for a Great story. There is grit, passion, and drama. Phil Knight described with amazing details his journey from selling shoes out of his car to building a multi-billion dollar company. It'd have been an perfect from zero to hero story if it wasn't for its elitism. All important people in Phil Knight's life seem to be rich and powerful. Knight's parents paid for his college, for his expensive MBA. Then the 24 year old Knight asked for even more money to travel the world, beach-bumming in Hawaii for a while. When he was in Japan, his dad's friends checked in a nice hotel, took him to trade exchange, introduced him to importers. His dad then paid for his first order of shoes, paid for his second order of shoes, then wrote a guarantee so he could work with a respectable bank. The moral of the story is almost: Take as much risk as you could as long as you have your rich parents to catch you when you fall.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Fryeday

    I adored this book right from the beginning. The intro felt magical. I read Bowerman's biography written by Kenny Moore, who was a teammate of Phil Knight's on the Oregon track team. So I got a little of the history of Blue Ribbon Sports through that account, but not much about the change into Nike. Plus that account focused more on the making/designing of the shoes, which was where Bowerman was revolutionary. Phil Knight spills his entire guts in this book. While reading, I was thinking, did Ph I adored this book right from the beginning. The intro felt magical. I read Bowerman's biography written by Kenny Moore, who was a teammate of Phil Knight's on the Oregon track team. So I got a little of the history of Blue Ribbon Sports through that account, but not much about the change into Nike. Plus that account focused more on the making/designing of the shoes, which was where Bowerman was revolutionary. Phil Knight spills his entire guts in this book. While reading, I was thinking, did Phil Knight really write this book himself, but then I learned of his background, his extensive love of reading and that he kept journals and the book just definitely felt like something he wrote. This book is eloquent in its telling and its vocabulary. It reads like good fiction through instances that I might normally find mundane. Knight is humble in places where it's fitting for him to be. I quickly saw that Nike is Nike because of his first employee (Johnson) and Knight doesn't shy away at all from making that clear himself. He also makes it clear that he didn't seem to quite deserve the loyalty he got from great employees that built Nike almost more than he did. The book is so detailed also. There are numbers and years' earnings and bank loan amounts and contract prices. I really felt I was on the ride of this crazy successful business from its infancy to when it finally got some breathing room. I was at first perplexed that Knight doesn't go into the endorsement contracts with someone like Jordan that clearly made Nike a behemoth, but I later changed my thoughts after talking to a friend about the book (S/O to Janeen). I think by eliminating those huge endorsement deals, the book felt gritty. It really was an account about the start of Nike and the struggle and the deceptions, and the lies told in the beginning and the balancing payrolls against paying back short term loans. All those things small biz owners understand all too well. I also appreciate the honesty about his family life and how he feels they suffered because he had this huge dream that he couldn't let go and how that was really his first priority. I think that's a hard thing to say, but it seems true for many people that don't like to admit it. There's a searingly honest account of his life now as an older man, the death of his son, and what's next for him. I'm pretty sure I shed tears maybe twice during the reading of this book. The one line that I kept thinking about this book that sums it up for me is that it's a beautiful, honest, detailed love letter to the entrepreneur. And not just to the entrepreneur who's trying to build a Nike, but to that entrepreneur that may reside in all of us whether expressed or not. Wonderful job Phil Knight.

  20. 5 out of 5

    W. Whalin

    Co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, has a remarkable life story of starting this world-wide shoe brand. I love reading memoirs and the story has places with keen interest--yet other areas are boring and could have been easily cut. The results is something OK but NOT amazing and page-turning for the reader. The 386 pages could have been cut to something like 200 or 225 and been much better. It's OK and worth reading.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Austin Haukinz

    Overall: Meh. This book doesn't contain much. No real business or leadership insight. Not even an interesting story about the formation of Nike. Mostly the life of Phil Knight and Nike's early legal trouble. Truth be told, Phil Knight sounds to be an all around self-absorbed individual. Not someone I'd ever look up to. I'm still a fan of Nike products, just not this book.

  22. 3 out of 5

    Shalini Sinha

    "I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt." Shoe Dog is the best business memoir I've ever read and the second most influential book I've read this year so far. In fact it's quite narrow to call it just a "business" book. "I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt." Shoe Dog is the best business memoir I've ever read and the second most influential book I've read this year so far. In fact it's quite narrow to call it just a "business" book. It seems wrong to throw all those hectic days and sleepless nights, all those magnificent triumphs and desperate struggles, under that bland, generic banner: business. Shoe Dog is the autobiography of Nike - featuring its founder Phil Knight, co-founder Bowerman and it's valuable makers - Woodell, Hayes, Strasser and Johnson - whom Knight describes as "a paralyzed, two morbidly obese guys, a chain-smoking guy and the one with whom he had most in common. While everyone else was laughing, rioting, he (Johnson) would be the sane one, sitting quietly in the middle of the table reading a book." What once started as a "crazy idea" of Knight in 1962, despite being dizzy with existential angst, and fears about the future, and doubts about himself, as all young men and women in their mid-twenties are, later on went on to become a billionaire business and asset to the world. And this is an account of every important event that took place at Nike from 1962 to 1980 when Nike went public. Each and every year has the same inspirational message - "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." This was what was missing in the biography of Elon Musk. That was written by an outsider, there were nearly no accounts of internal struggles, fears and burn-outs from the perspective of the makers themselves. Favorite Quote : "The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us." Strongly recommended to anyone who is interested in knowing how great things are done.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ivan K. Wu

    A marketing rag that rebrands exploitation as entrepreneurial virtue, with enough rave reviews by endorsing celebrities to make George Orwell proud. To summarize: Stanford MBA returns from trip around the world (funded by parents), secures a Japanese connection (through his father) and hires a rag tag team of misfits to work full time on his shoe empire while he had one foot out the door working as an accountant for PwC. His only real talent was in taking advantage of people: $50 raises for his A marketing rag that rebrands exploitation as entrepreneurial virtue, with enough rave reviews by endorsing celebrities to make George Orwell proud. To summarize: Stanford MBA returns from trip around the world (funded by parents), secures a Japanese connection (through his father) and hires a rag tag team of misfits to work full time on his shoe empire while he had one foot out the door working as an accountant for PwC. His only real talent was in taking advantage of people: $50 raises for his founding employees, taking money from a disabled employee's family, and paying the woman who designed his logo $35. And despite loathing the word "equity," Knight manages to keep all of his. But no, true American success story. *slow clap*

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mallika Saharia

    Any successful business has had its share of ups and downs which later on, makes for a absolute cracker of a story. But when narrated by an athlete with the same energy as that of Prefontaine, it can only fan your flames for pursuing your passion, in one way or the other. Just do it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sadjad Abedi

    چقدر شیرین بود این کتاب! 1- کتاب بر روی مرزی بین اتوبیوگرافی و فیکشن حرکت می کرد و گاهی به فراخور روایت به این سو یا آن سو میغلتید و این خود یکی از علل جذابیت این کتاب بود. غذای مرکبی بود که در هر قاشقش بالاخره چیزی بود که آدم را مشتاق کند به ادامه دادن. اینکه فیل نایت که اصولا نویسنده نیست تا این حد در این کار موفق بوده قابل ستایش است. 2-فضای داستان صمیمی و بی تکلف بود. شخصیت پردازی برای شخصیت های اصلی داستان بسیار قوی بود و کنش ها کاملا واقعی و معقول به نظر می رسیدند. شکل روایی البته مشکل کوچکی چقدر شیرین بود این کتاب! 1- کتاب بر روی مرزی بین اتوبیوگرافی و فیکشن حرکت می کرد و گاهی به فراخور روایت به این سو یا آن سو میغلتید و این خود یکی از علل جذابیت این کتاب بود. غذای مرکبی بود که در هر قاشقش بالاخره چیزی بود که آدم را مشتاق کند به ادامه دادن. اینکه فیل نایت که اصولا نویسنده نیست تا این حد در این کار موفق بوده قابل ستایش است. 2-فضای داستان صمیمی و بی تکلف بود. شخصیت پردازی برای شخصیت های اصلی داستان بسیار قوی بود و کنش ها کاملا واقعی و معقول به نظر می رسیدند. شکل روایی البته مشکل کوچکی داشت (شاید هم بزرگ) اینکه زاویه روایت بین اول شخص و دانای کل در رفت و آمد بود. البته این تغییر روایت به دانای کل در برخی موارد می توانست به عنوان حدس های اول شخص در نظر گرفته شود اما در مواردی مشخصا راوی اول شخص علم ماورای مکانی و زمانی داشت! 3- مطالعه کتاب سراسر لذت بود و فقط در انتهای کتاب، پس از مطالعه ی پسگفتار این نکته به ذهنم رسید که اگر این تنها یک ترفند تبلیغاتی باشد که مخاطبان را نسبت به برندهای آدیداس و غیره مظنون و به نایکی علاقه مند کند، چه؟ چون واقعا اینچنین تاثیراتی بر من داشت!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Prashasti

    “To study the self is to forget the self. Mi casa, su casa. Oneness—in some way, shape, or form, it’s what every person I’ve ever met has been seeking.” The very first memoir that made me stick to it until the last page, it gives an insight into Phil Knight's life, author of this book and founder of NIKE , shows you all the uncut footage, behind-the-scenes world of building and running a legendary American multinational corporation. It's startling to read how a young boy who once borrowed $50 in “To study the self is to forget the self. Mi casa, su casa. Oneness—in some way, shape, or form, it’s what every person I’ve ever met has been seeking.” The very first memoir that made me stick to it until the last page, it gives an insight into Phil Knight's life, author of this book and founder of NIKE , shows you all the uncut footage, behind-the-scenes world of building and running a legendary American multinational corporation. It's startling to read how a young boy who once borrowed $50 in a quest to create something of his own who never thought that someday will own his own company and would be a billionaire and not just that, how he has struggled all through those years to get where he is...HATS OFF _/\_ Definitely, reading this book has given me a technical understanding of the business world, how horrifying it could get and how not to stop at any point in time, no matter how much you're failing- “Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.” Because “Life is growth. You grow or you die.” Not to forget “Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart. In” This one surely would be a highlight in the book- "I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt." An exceptionally well-written memoir by a brilliant mind to all those who believe in the saying JUST DO IT.

  27. 4 out of 5

    macy

    This book was really inspirational and I think that it's a great book for people that would want to do business in the future or if they just need some inspiration. People's accomplishments always amazes us and we praise and remember people for their achievements but we never look on the other side. The side of failure. Mistakes. Grit. And most importantly, hope. What we don't see is all the teamwork, determination, and hard-working people and the effort that was put into Blue Ribbon, the former This book was really inspirational and I think that it's a great book for people that would want to do business in the future or if they just need some inspiration. People's accomplishments always amazes us and we praise and remember people for their achievements but we never look on the other side. The side of failure. Mistakes. Grit. And most importantly, hope. What we don't see is all the teamwork, determination, and hard-working people and the effort that was put into Blue Ribbon, the former company name. That is what Nike, what we now know as the billion dollar shoe enterprise, is made up of.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Adam Alexander

    Wow! What an unexpectedly brilliant book. I wasn’t expecting such a thrilling emotional ride. I absolutely loved it. You don’t have to be a business buff to enjoy Shoe Dog. Phil Knight tells the story of the birth of Nike. From an entrepreneur’s point of view, I enjoyed picking the business lessons from the story, but there’s a lot more story, people and characters than there is Business takeaways. I got really emotional as the story reached the end. Absolutely brilliant, highly recommend.

  29. 3 out of 5

    Melania &#x1f352;

    4,15/5 I didn’t know anything about Knight before reading this, but I ended up having a special affection for him. Throughout the whole book I sensed this truthfulness in his writing , he wasn’t shy in showing his weaknesses and his miss judgments; he didn’t want to make it seems like you need some kind of super powers to build a brand as big as Nike ,or that it’s a one man job , or that you don’t need to make important sacrifices for it. And his commitment for what Nike represents,as a brand, wh 4,15/5 I didn’t know anything about Knight before reading this, but I ended up having a special affection for him. Throughout the whole book I sensed this truthfulness in his writing , he wasn’t shy in showing his weaknesses and his miss judgments; he didn’t want to make it seems like you need some kind of super powers to build a brand as big as Nike ,or that it’s a one man job , or that you don’t need to make important sacrifices for it. And his commitment for what Nike represents,as a brand, which for him is so much more than a business that’s making him extremely rich , was very enduring .By the end of this book I was completely sold .

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aldo Aguirre

    My favorite book of the year so far. Knight shares the personal, honest, vulnerable side of building an empire. The prose is beautiful, the lessons are great. My favorite thing of this book is that it portrays perfectly how building a business isn't about being a smart 'businessman', but about the people that surround you, hard work and good luck. I had never been a sports fan until very recently. In the last 3 years I found a new interest in tennis and football. Until very recently I didn't und My favorite book of the year so far. Knight shares the personal, honest, vulnerable side of building an empire. The prose is beautiful, the lessons are great. My favorite thing of this book is that it portrays perfectly how building a business isn't about being a smart 'businessman', but about the people that surround you, hard work and good luck. I had never been a sports fan until very recently. In the last 3 years I found a new interest in tennis and football. Until very recently I didn't understand what being a sports fan meant; why would a grown up scream at their tv? Why would they cry if their team lost? This quote explains why: “When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete, and in that convergence, in that transference, is the oneness that the mystics talk about.” I think something similar happens in entrepreneurship. Those of us that work helping entrepreneurs are the athlete's fans. Our spirit merges with the entrepreneurs'. We feel the rush and excitement of seeing someone else succeed and break their own records. Every founder should read this book. By the way, Knight thanks J.R. Moehringer in the end of his book. I think I can see Moehringer's style in the book. I'm sure he helped Knight create that amazing prose, like he did with Andre Agassi in his book Open (my favorite memoir so far). If you haven't read Agassi's Open, go read it. These are some of my favorite quotes of the book: “When you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is—you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama. More than simply alive, you’re helping others to live more fully, and if that’s business, all right, call me a businessman. Maybe it will grow on me.” “And those who urge entrepreneurs to never give up? Charlatans. Sometimes you have to give up. Sometimes knowing when to give up, when to try something else, is genius. Giving up doesn’t mean stopping. Don’t ever stop. Luck plays a big role. Yes, I’d like to publicly acknowledge the power of luck. Athletes get lucky, poets get lucky, businesses get lucky. Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome. Some people might not call it luck. They might call it Tao, or Logos, or Jñāna, or Dharma. Or Spirit. Or God. Put” “It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad.” “Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.” “Fear of failure, I thought, will never be our downfall as a company. Not that any of us thought we wouldn’t fail; in fact we had every expectation that we would. But when we did fail, we had faith that we’d do it fast, learn from it, and be better for it.” “There were many ways down Mount Fuji, according to my guidebook, but only one way up. Life lesson in that, I thought.” “You are remembered, he said, prophetically, for the rules you break.” “He was easy to talk to, and easy not to talk to—equally important qualities in a friend.” “No idea was too sacred to be mocked, and no person was too important to be ridiculed, it also summed up the company spirit, mission and ethos.” “I do not like stupidity,” he said. “People pay too much attention to numbers.”

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