There are many books that I know I’ll love before I even start. I love books that are full of heartbreak. I like most literature that has a house at its center. Gothic fiction is a genre that I love and whose novels I read over and over again without ever getting bored. Most of the books that are set in France have usually got me excited, and when I read a treatise it is usually one of my favorite books.
And while Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is essentially a memory, it’s also heralded as a ledger by many, and so when combined with the cover and theme – birth and subsequent growth – I didn’t do it from Nike’s I don’t have one particularly high expectations – although a number of people have recommended it to me over the past few years.
Show dog rating
However, once I started taking Shoe Dog, I found it almost impossible to put it down, despite my reservations. Shoe Dog is a reminder of the riots and struggles of Phil Knight as he worked tirelessly to make Nike the force it is today. It’s a fast-paced, undeniable story that breathes life into a brand that is known and loved today for being at the center of both sports and popular culture.
Shoe Dog is divided into chapters titled with the year the chapter takes place. It offers an intimate and insightful look at what was formerly known as Blue Ribbon Sports and has grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the world. We learn about the trip that Knight took with his school friend Carter around the world, which included an extended stay in Hawaii before seeing the sights of Asia and Europe. We learn that Knight has a background in accounting; that he worked at PWC to fund his business start-up; that he met his wife while teaching in Portland State (after leaving PWC to give himself more time to build his entrepreneurial endeavor).
There was so much I loved about Shoe Dog; I liked the colorful cast of characters who were all key factors in creating the brand – I loved Johnson – Nike’s first salesman – who was as eager as he was dedicated and who not only showed perseverance like no other, but also suggested the name Nike after the Greek winged goddess of victory came to him in a dream. I loved Bowerman; The American athletics coach who co-founded Nike after signing a handshake deal. I loved the innate human nature of the story and ripped the book through so I could read about the brand’s bankruptcy, the copious amounts of money borrowed and begged, the totally empty bank balances – anything but unimaginable for a brand that is such a household name . I loved reading about Knight’s relentless work ethic, the way he begged, borrowed, and pleaded, and working 24/7 with a team that became family, knowing that their vision would change and make your dream worthwhile.
I cried twice during Shoe Dog. Knowing almost nothing about the man behind the brand, little did I know that his beloved son Matthew died in a diving accident in 2004 when he was only 34, and I found the way Knight knew about his untimely death wrote, both devastating and deeply moving. And by the end of the book, the way Knight wrote about his wife Penny was ultimately worth it, just as the wait and the ups and downs and the late nights and long days ultimately paid off.
The ultimate American dream, Shoe Dog, is a real story of passion, perseverance, faith, loyalty and teamwork with a lot of heart. Shoe Dog is a brilliant book that I would recommend to absolutely anyone. It’s a breathtaking exploration of the power of persistence, hard work, dreams and opportunity. Inspirational, insightful and moving, I will remember the story for a long time.
I want to end with my favorite quote from the book:
Like books, exercise makes people feel like they have led a different life and participate in other people’s victories. And defeats. When the sport is at its best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete, and in this convergence, in this transmission, lies the unity that mystics talk about.
About shoe dog
In this sincere and compelling memory, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares for the first time the inside story of the company’s beginnings as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s best-known, most breakthrough, and most profitable brands.
In 1962, after graduating from business school, Phil Knight borrowed $ 50 from his father and started a company with a simple mission: importing high quality, affordable athletic shoes from Japan. Knight sold the shoes out of the trunk of his bright green Plymouth Valiant and made $ 8,000 in his first year. Today Nike has annual sales in excess of $ 30 billion. In the age of startups, Nike is the ultimate start-up, and the Swoosh has become a revolutionary global icon, one of the most ubiquitous and well-known symbols in the world.
But Knight, the man behind the Swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, he tells his story in an open, humble, courageous and ironic treatise, beginning with his moment of crossing. At the age of 24, after backpacking the world, he decided to take the unconventional route to start his own business – a business that would be dynamic and different.
Knight describes the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream – along with his early triumphs. Above all, he remembers the formative relationships with his first partners and co-workers, a ragged group of outsiders and seekers who became a close bond of brothers. Together, they harnessed the transcendent power of a shared mission and deep belief in the spirit of sport to build a brand that changed everything.
About Phil Knight
Philip Hampson Knight, nicknamed “Buck”, is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is co-founder and currently Chairman Emeritus of Nike, Inc. and was previously Chairman and CEO of the company.
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