I haven’t written a book review since the 11th grade, but it’s never too late to start writing again. This Summer I read the Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight. It was truly the first time, in a long in a while, that I thoroughly enjoyed a book start to finish. This is an inside look at Phil Knight’s life while creating one of the most well-known, iconic brands ever.
Knight spent his early 20’s backpacking around the world, paying no attention to what he’d do after traveling. When he came home, he asked his father for help starting a business. It all started with a $50 investment for Knight to import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. He was a true salesman. He sold these Japanese shoes out of his trunk and profited $8000 his first year. Knight is a true example of not giving up on your dream. In the beginning years of his company, he worked full-time as an accountant because he didn’t have the funds to support both the company and his new family. He spent all of his time in between to focus on NIKE (known as Blue Ribbon, at the time).
The most exciting part of the story for me was finding out the meaning behind the famous Swoosh. It was so highly anticipated that I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud when I actually found out the reason. Turns out this well-known symbol was created for $35 from a previously unknown student graphic designer. Knight doesn’t believe in advertising, he believes that if it is a good enough product it will sell itself.
Knight does not hold back on sharing the amount of challenges and struggles the company faced in the early years. This is what kept me reading... I was so excited to read about the company becoming successful, that I didn’t want to put the book down till I got there. The ups and downs were extremely intense and captivating, it almost didn’t feel real. Knight does not hold back on sharing the exact details, and let me just say that the people he used to deal with were fucking crazy. Despite this, he never turned around and gave up. I admire, more than anything else, that Knight embraces being different. Knight and his team remind me that I should be always working with people who allow me to be my true, authentic self.
I’ve never been so invested in a book to the point where I would cry, but I can proudly say that this book did just that. It is truly remarkable to get an inside look on the life of a man who is worth $46 billion. This is a must read. I don’t think I’ve ever truthfully recommended a book to someone, so this means a lot.
In other words, “Just Do It!” Read the book.