Title: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE Author: Phil Knight Published: April 26th 2016 by Scribner Format: Hardcover, 386 pages Genre: Memoir
I know that memoirs usually fall within the category of “it’s my story and I am sticking to it”, but if half of what Phil Knight wrote is true, he has had an awe-inspiring journey.
Phil Knight, one of Nike’s co-founders, along with his old track coach Bill Bowerman, takes the reader on his personal journey that started with his Master’s thesis on the topic of doing to shoes what the Japanese did to German cameras. An idea was formed, and with fifty dollars from his father, Blue Ribbon Shoes was started out of the trunk of his Valiant.
Phil had a simple goal, double sales each year. For some reason he could not get a bank to back this crazy idea, but that was not a detriment to him. He vowed to be honest, and this is one of the areas that I questioned since it seems like such a far flung idea in business, but accord to Phil that is who and what he is.
To say that there were a couple of stumbling blocks would be an understatement since no one believed in him or his idea. One gamble nearly ended it all and had the government authorities breathing down his back but somehow it all came together and today Nike, named after the goddess of victory, is a US institution.
Phil Knight does not have a public face and that was spelled out quite clearly when he ran into Bill Gates and Warren Buffet at a movie theater and people looking at them wondered whom that guy was, and this is after he was a multi-billionaire and was listed on Forbes Top 20.
There have been many loses in Phil’s life and they are mentioned. The most painful, the loss of his son, it touched up and it is obvious that the hurt is still too raw for him to go into too much depth but it is still there. He tells stories of his wife and their home, but once again, not too much depth. This is a book about building the Nike empire and with humor and insight, you can see this man’s passion to bring a brand name and an iconic swoosh to life.