In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company's early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world's most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.
In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime-green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today.
But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path to start his own business - a business that would be dynamic, different.
Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream - along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.
This book was full of everything I ever hope for in a book. It was super interesting, and hard to put down. Iit was funny, and I found Knight to be a person I was cheering for throughout the book as he faced one trial after another. It was a truly inspirational story. I wish everyone I know could read this book
It was also an awesome business book. It discussed significant business challenges Nike faced throughout its journey to becoming the world leader it is today. As a business owner I was very interested to read about the number of times it seemed as though Nike may need to close down due to challenges it faced, yet each time they found a way to overcome the problem. It is an amazing story of Knights resolve to never give up. I also loved hearing about Knight's leadership style of allowing the voices of his employees to be heard, even when they ran counter to his ideas. I think this is a must read for business owners, but everyone who's heard of Nike will enjoy it too.
The only negative about this book is that it's not nearly long enough. I would love to hear there will be a sequel to this book. There are so many aspects that could be delved into more deeply, and with the way Knight wrote this book I know they would be just as riveting as everything in this book.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful
I don't typically review books that I've read or listened to. Even the ones I love. But this one is different. I couldn't be more grateful for having come across this story. One of those perfect books at the perfect time. As I listened to the last hour I had to pull my car over and just absorb it all. And I had tears rolling down my cheek. I hate being a softy but this story hit me at a time when I needed to hear it. All entrepreneurs should take this one in. This is the inspiration I needed to keep the grit alive. Thank you Mr Knight!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
I don't know much about Nike - aside from the fact that I owned a pair of Nike street shoes that lasted me longer than any pair of shoes I ever owned.
This book is a terrific look at the origins of Nike - the bluster, the bravado, the fear, the mistakes, everything that went in to the birth of a billion-dollar company.
Phil Knight is not always likable, but he has a way of introspection that is both charming and accessible. He acknowledges his mistakes - even big ones - with a combination of humour and regret. Sometimes the only way to proceed is forward, and that's what he's done. It's amazing that a billion-dollar brand came out of - in its beginning - the trunk of a car supplying someone else's shoes.
I also found that Phil Knight described the world events surrounding him and his little company in the early days. It provides more than a glimpse of Blue Ribbon (which became Nike), but how it had to adapt to the changing world around it.
I understand why all of the origins of the company were detailed - leaving something out wouldn't have worked - but I would have preferred more than an epilogue detailing the last 25 years of Nike. Even adding another 1-2 hours to this accessible, compulsively readable book would have been less jarring than having it jump forward from 1980 or so to 2007.
But this is a minor quibble with a riveting book with a terrific narrator.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book is the story of the man who built the Nike shoe Empire. It had never occurred to me that I was a Nike customer, but during the course of the listen I realised that I own 3 pairs of Nikes (a pair of golf shoes and 2 pairs of ‘trainers’), so they’re obviously sufficiently globally ubiquitous to have had an impact on my life. When I started at University, in 1980, I remember my new friend Jez Brown showing me his pair of Nikes as if they were something special. At the time they seemed a bit odd and I wasn’t sure if they would catch on or just be a flash-in-the-pan. That was my first exposure to the brand.
The story of Nike starts in 1962, the year I was born, when an ambitious young man, passionate about running, has the wild idea of going to Japan to import running shoes, pretending that he already owns an established shoe business in the US. He throws his heart and soul into building this business, recruiting a posse of similarly devoted eccentric characters along the way. He’s always up against adversity, always on the brink of bankruptcy – but somehow he survives and scrapes through to the next phase, even though selling the shoes is never a problem. The problems are always supply and cash flow.
The book ends in 1980, when Phil and his band of odd-bods finally yield to the pressure to allow Nike to go public. This is something they had resisted because they liked the home-spun ethos of the company. Once the company went public it signalled an end to the author’s financial worries (he instantly became a very rich man), an end to the company’s constant battles against adversity, and an end to the story (apart from an epilogue).
This is a great listen. Completely compelling and entertaining from the first to the last word. Recommended.
23 of 26 people found this review helpful
The best book I have ever read. Thank you Phil Knight for taking the time to inspire, comfort, or warn us all out here. Thank you.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
Couldn't wait to hear the next chapter. Engrossing and inspiring. I recommend everyone that likes audio books and Entrepreneurship list be to it.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
This was a super close up view of how Phil Knight and his gang built Nike. What I found most interesting was Knight's play-by-play on some of the key moments...what he was thinking and why he chose the path he took.
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
As an entrepreneur, I identified with this book like no other that I've read - the well written narrative makes reading this book like living the experience moment to moment - wow.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
I wasn't expecting Phil to be just like any one of us. Lost in his way; finding his way; escalating challenges. As I lived through his journey through this audiobook, it helped me go through my day to day work/life challenges.
Highly recommended. Nike fan or not.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Shoe Dog is highly transformational and inspiring. It will move you and keep you engaged the whole time. Usually I'd pace a book throughout a week or so, however I couldn't resist the urge to binge chapter to chapter. I can truly say this book has changed my life for he better!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What an amazing book. I had no idea about Nike until I read this. What a book. Buck Knight's grit and determination. What a guy. Complete new view of Nike and great read for entrepreneurs who are stuck in the daily drudge of making it work. Genuinely gutted this book is over. Well written. Laughed, smiled and genuinely cried... Fantastic. 10/10.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Never really knew about the history and origins of how the Nike brand started - what a story!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Phil Knight has a real gift for writing, wonderfully written for someone who is not a professional writer. The story of Nike is inspiring - the guts and bravery shown by all involved is astounding.
This book definitely made me laugh and nearly made me cry. Both Phil Knight and this story are truely authentic, a refreshing change from the modern era of entrepreneurs whose anecdotes and perspectives are tainted by vanity and insecurity.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this fantastic journey. I found that the depth of which Phill would explain certain things was completely over the top and slightly draining at times and found myself saying more than once 'oh just bloody get on with It' the depth of his admiration for Bowerman for example was just embarrassing and cringe worthy. saying that it was still a great listen and a great story and I would highly recommend it 👍
I was unsure at the beginning if I was going to like the book or not as the early dialogue seemed to me to be a bit pretentious. However, stick with it as it is a really interesting story about growing a business from scratch, the ups the downs, the challenges.
For anyone looking to build any business, of any size, this book will help you enormously.
Loved it. Well worth sticking with if you find the beginning slightly slow.
A great audiobook. Reccomended.
A story that captivates the listener from begining to end, it unveils the amazing journey of a brand that everyone can relate to and admire. Many valuable lessons for the budding entrepreneurs from any walk of life.
Great entrepreneurial journey and story behind the founder of Nike. A must read for entrepreneurs
honestly the best book ever. I loved every minute of it. highly suggest it. I wish I could find more books like this one!!
Brilliant, emotional recount of a great story, surprising personal and humbling and I would absolutely read it again.
Very interesting book. I very much enjoyed learning the history of such an iconic brand. Fantastic narantion also!
Phil knight story is an amazing story of hardships, highs, lows, and perseverance. As a young business owner, I found comfort and reassurance in his work and story.
Thank you for sharing your story Phill