Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Phil Knight’s memoir is a wildly entertaining look at the founding – a difficult one – of the world’s most successful athletic company. As Knight makes clear, the path forward was never easy. He began by cooperating with the Onitsuka Company of Japan (now Asics) to sell its shoes on the west coast of the U.S.; and he eventually went to war with the company.
Shoe Dog shows us the value of grit, as Knight and his early partners were often down but never quite out. He also fully acknowledges the many instances in which luck, pure luck, was on his side.
This is not only Knight’s personal and professional tale, it is also the story of two major figures of the early days of the running movement: Coach Bill Bowerman of Oregon – inventor of the waffle sole, and Steve Prefontaine. Go Pre! If Knight was the mind of Nike, these two legends constituted its soul.
Oddly, this account appears to have been written back in 2007. Very late in the story, Knight refers to Nike’s sales “last year,” in 2006. No matter, this is an inspirational work that’s well worth reading.