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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2016 Phil Knight (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Norbert Leo Butz...infuses his delivery with drama and suspense, keeping the listener engaged with each chapter. Knight claims to be a shy introvert, but Butz isn't fooled, portraying the chairman as a straight-shooting, no-nonsense leader who keeps winning because he's relentless in his pursuit of success...." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Brock
  • Poulsbo, WA
  • 06-02-16

A must listen to book- It's the perfect biz memoir

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.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Just read it. (or listen, whatever)

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!

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 03-19-17

Highly readable autobiography

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

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Breathtaking

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Raglan, New Zealand
  • 07-17-16

Just do it

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.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic listen

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

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  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 05-30-16

great story about building a business

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

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Epic book - absolutely loved it!!

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

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A Must Read For All Entrepreneurs!

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

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Great writing

Well written and highly engaging. A modern classic business adventure - with heart. Nike's rise from class project to IPO.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr Adam John Warriner
  • 02-07-18

Wow. 10/10. A must for entrepreneurs...

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

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-05-17

Fantastic! A great read

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

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  • phil chadwick
  • 07-08-17

Fantastic story - beautifully written

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.

Bravo

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gottskalk Kristjansson
  • 10-21-18

Can't wait to see the movie

An awesome story. Exciting, fun, sad and educational. Makes me want to work.for Nike and be a part of their amazing forthcoming history.
I hope this story will be made in to a movie. Who would play Phil, Hays, Wooddell or Johnson ?

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  • Hannah Evans
  • 10-19-18

inspirational, humbling and easy to listen

loved it! couldn't stop listening to it. Leo narrates, Phil's story so well. I didn't know anything more about Nike, other than it's brand, it's presence on tv and in my wardrobe. But hearing the story, the history of Nike and Phil Night, has left me feeling inspired, amazed and quite emotional at times. definitely a 5 star read!!

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  • Joe T
  • 10-15-18

very one dimensional Story

not much more than a series of anicdotes and war stories.
was well narrated and i had no problem listening to the end.

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  • Andrew Nicholas
  • 10-14-18

A great story.

Inspiring and honest tale of building a business with lots of challenges, luck and tenacity. Given everything that happened to Blue Ribbon and the Nike it’s amazing they made it. All businesses face big challenges and most are limited by them. Nike are one of the small number of businesses that somehow managed to power through and really be something on the world stage. At the heart of this story are the people that made it happen, a collection of random people committed to a cause and who stuck with it. If it wasn’t for them, Bowerman, Johnston, Hayes, Strauser there would be no Nike. Phil Knight was a genius to get these people on board and delivering with such a light touch and mostly working remote.

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  • Mr Patrick Mohan
  • 10-11-18

loved it.<br />

really interesting book. I love the nike brand. great story well told. would highly recommend.

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  • Fintech Business Associates Ltd
  • 10-10-18

Awesome! Great story with fantastic narration...

I was recommended to listen to this by a friend and boy did it pack a punch. Let me start off with the narrator - such a theatrical performance that it felt like i was living the story. The story itself was inspiring and uplifting and has turned me into a Nike fan. Must listen to anyone keen on entrepreneurism and to learn how a small timer turned his business into a large multinational organisation whilst keeping in line with his values.

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  • David Taylor
  • 10-10-18

Superb

The best autobiography I have ever read. Dramatic, inspiring, darkly comic, deeply moving. A must read/listen!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-18

One of the most amazing stories ever!

One of the most amazing stories told by a truly inspired entrepreneur. Delving into the why a peraon does anything remotely crazy, Phil is able to uncover some of those common threads that made his crazy idea seem like an inevitable outcome. Written and told with poetic grace!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-17-18

<br />

Very interesting book. I very much enjoyed learning the history of such an iconic brand. Fantastic narantion also!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • CYD
  • 10-12-18

Best book I have read!

9 deaths and 1 life (a Chinese saying) of Nike and Phil Knight! How inspiring and real the recount is for his life. I encourage every entrepreneur aspiring entrepreneur young student seasoned professional to read this wise man’s memoir.

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  • MR P HAYES-ST CLAIR
  • 10-11-18

Compelling. Brilliant

An incredible story told with the True Tone of a humble entrepreneur. I hope there is a sequel for the last 10 years.

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  • Anton
  • 10-11-18

Absolutely inspiring

An excellent narator tells the most unexpectedly awe inspiring story behind the logo that's everywhere

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-18

The best book I have ever listened to...

The author, narrator and this story are beyond. Not only is it educational, but it is a story for the history books!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-18

Best story ever!

Such an inspiring and amazing story. This audiobook is full of wisdom, inspiration and motivation. And funny too!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-03-18

inspiring for any entrepreneur

And a reminder that family is more important than money or success. Time stops for no man (or woman!).

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-24-18

get in there! what a fantastic book.

i loved it! got better and better as it went on.
so many lessons in one book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-23-18

Great story of resilience and entrepreneurship.

Inspiring recital of Nike's evolution into the global business it is today. Very hard to stop listening