I have read over five hundred biographies, and this is one of the best. “Shoe Dog” is a memoir by Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike, first published in 2016. The book chronicles Knight’s journey from selling shoes out of the trunk of his car to building one of the world’s most iconic and successful brands. The memoir is a fascinating and inspiring story of entrepreneurship, innovation, and perseverance.
The book begins with Knight’s early life, including his upbringing in Oregon and his experience as a runner in college. After a trip to Japan, where he discovers a new type of running shoe that he believes could be successful in the United States, Knight sets out to start his own company. Along the way, he faces numerous challenges and setbacks, including financial struggles, legal battles, and personal losses.
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is its portrayal of the early days of Nike. Knight describes the company’s humble beginnings, including the decision to use the name Nike, which was inspired by the Greek goddess of victory. He also discusses the company’s early marketing efforts, including the creation of the iconic Nike swoosh logo and the development of the first Nike athlete endorsement deal with runner Steve Prefontaine.
The memoir is also a candid portrayal of Knight’s personal life, including his relationships with his family and friends. He is open about his struggles with depression and his complicated relationship with his father, who disapproved of his decision to start a business. Throughout the book, Knight reflects on the sacrifices he made to build Nike, including missing important moments with his family and putting his personal life on hold for the sake of the company.
Knight’s writing style is engaging and conversational, making the reader feel as though they are sitting down with him for a conversation. He is honest and reflective, providing insight into both the successes and failures he experienced throughout his career. The memoir is also well-paced, with a mix of tension, humor, and emotion that keeps the reader engaged throughout.
In conclusion, “Shoe Dog” is a well-written and inspiring memoir that offers valuable insights into the world of entrepreneurship and the creation of a global brand. While it may be somewhat self-serving, Knight’s honesty and candidness make the book a compelling read for anyone interested in business, marketing, or innovation.
I listen to the audio version which was great! It was one of my favorite books of the year.