Learn valuable stories from the founder of NIKE. Just Do It.

A Book Review – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

By Phil Knight

Just Do It. Shoe Dog. Memoir of Phil Knight, creator of Nike.
ChubbiCheese chooses his own Nike shose! Just Do It.

Short Summary

“Shoe Dog” is a memoir written by Phil Knight, the creator and founder of NIKE. Unlike famous business founders such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, etc, we seldom hear about the story of Phil Knight. This book tells you more about this amazing entrepreneur, and how he built a billion-dollar sports empire from scratch.

“Belief, I decided. Belief is irresistible.”

Chapter – 1964

It all started with one crazy idea Phil developed when he was 24 years old. Graduating from college and earning a master’s degree from Stanford, Phil did not settle for a typical career path. Instead, he pitched to his father for an opportunity to travel around the world to see wonders. In addition, his main goal was to try secure a deal from Japan to import running shoes to be sold in America.

As wild as this idea sounded, Phil got his father’s support to do his world tour, and surprisingly, he did manage to negotiate a deal with a Japanese shoe supplier to import running shoes back to his hometown. It was back in 1962, and Phil started a small local company selling imported shoes to track runners and sports athletes. The book picks up from this point.

Every chapter was a recollection of events by Phil on one particular year, and it goes all the way from 1962 to 1980. Onward it brings you along the journey with Phil on starting his company, selling his first shoes, and building up his team and his global sports empire bits by bits.

You will read about the numerous tough challenges Nike faced and how each time Phil and his team weathered through the difficulties, eventually bringing the firm to prosperity.  

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog. Just Do It. Leave a mark in the World.

(Paid link via Amazon)

Personal thoughts

This is a rather long book, consisting of 386 pages and it took me longer than expected to finish. However, Shoe Dog is a very interesting read and an inspiring book which you cannot put down once started. I finished reading it yesterday and felt emptiness and hunger for more content. This book is really that good.

Phil Knight, as he always described himself as a shy and non-expressive person, is actually a humble and brilliant storyteller. This memoir is not a thriller, but the stories Phil shared kept readers hooked and I forgot I was reading a non-thriller. As you can imagine, Nike faced so many difficult challenges in its early days, and basically Phil and team have been fighting to keep the company alive on a daily basis.

The challenges included unstable supply lines, tight loan deadlines, betrayal and subsequently legal battles with the Japanese supplier, settlement with the US Government on hefty import duties, etc. The list goes on. The characters in the memoir are interesting and lovable, as they are all real persons and Phil instilled so many personal touches on their personalities and characteristics.

A small startup now a billion dollar empire

Today Nike stands as a global sports brand famous for its stylish and innovative shoes, which are worn and promoted by many famous athletes globally. If you have not heard of Air Jordan, I bet you must have heard of their famous slogan “Just Do It”. The slogan is simple yet inspiring, coupled with their eye-catching “Swoosh” logo creates a deep impression on users.

I am so moved and touched by reading this book as it highlighted what it takes to build a successful business from scratch. To start small is never an issue, the key is to continue working things out and have perseverance. In addition, do not fear to fail. When we fail, just have the faith that we’d do it fast, learn from it, and be better for it. As a practice, this is what I am determined to do by trying to build and grow this site.

I will end this note by quoting some memorable text I found in Shoe Dog.

“I wanted what everyone wants. To be me, full-time.”

“Life is growth. You grow or you die.”

“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 disappointment will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.”

What else is interesting

  • Blue Ribbon Sports was the company’s original name. Nike was merely a shoe brand created by Blue Ribbon. Due to Nike’s brand popularity, later the company name changed to Nike, Inc
  • In order to build a successful business, it requires lots of painstaking hard work, enthusiasm and a team of supportive talents
  • Before Nike was born in the world, the more famous sports brands had been Adidas and Puma

The Mouse talks to the The Creator

Do you own any Nike sports shoes?

Yes. I had always been a huge fan of Nike shoes since I was small. In particular, I like the air-cushion built into them and always wear them as I travel!

Own the book

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog. Just Do It. Leave a mark in the World.

(Paid link via Amazon)

From Amazon

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