Shoe Dog

A Memoir by the Creator of Nike
Length: 13 hrs and 21 mins
5 out of 5 stars (37,643 ratings)

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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)

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

42 people found this 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!

47 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this 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.

15 people found this 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!

6 people found this 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.

13 people found this helpful

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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.

30 people found this 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.

14 people found this helpful

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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.

17 people found this 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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • AJ the Tramp
  • 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.

8 people found this 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

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-22-19

Utterly Excellent

The best Audiobook I have ever listened to. cannot wait to listen again. An absolute must listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Neil
  • 11-22-17

Great story

I loved this. It is very much an early years account of Nike taking the company from inception to stock market flotation. As such it misses out some of the explosive global growth, some of the major endorsements etc which I'd have loved to learn more about. However, what is included is excellent and at times inspirational.

1 person found this 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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mr N D Lane
  • 05-23-20

Worth a Listen

A long but good listen, this turned into a “on in the background” book as it’s so long, but found myself skipping back often to listen to great nuggets of wisdom.

It drags on a bit in places, but it all ties up well at the end and left me feeling motivated 👍
Probably be 5 stars from me if it was a bit more concise!

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  • Matt Lewis
  • 05-23-20

Beautiful

Beautiful is the only word I can use to describe this book. It is for sure one the best books I have ever listened to.

What an amazing journey through the life of Phil Knight. Not just his business, but his life, his soul. For those of us in business, whatever the size, you will know that life is business and business is life.

Take your time with this one. Just sit down and enjoy. It’s not one to be rushed.

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  • Andrew LevistonCock
  • 05-23-20

Reflective & Inspiring

Great story - draws you in, fast paced, a rollercoaster ride of growing a business & family - truly inspirational.

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  • Eamonn Rafferty
  • 05-22-20

excellent book! really enjoyable to listen to

finished within a week, fantastic story and one I didnt realise about the creation of Nike and its struggles to become the success it is today

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  • H Gill
  • 05-20-20

Wow!!

This is the best book I’ve ever read - a truly remarkable story with twists and turns!

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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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-20

Inspiring and interesting

Inspiring story and insight into the life of a normal man and his team, achieving exceptional things through passion, perseverance and love. Performance of the narrator is fantastic. Warm and strong.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-05-20

Great book

The length of this book originally deterred me, however this book is impossible to stop listening to. Such a great book and keeps listeners interested the whole time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-04-20

Indescribably beautiful

A touching story of how one man's dream disrupted an entire industry whilst being told with humility, transparency and exquisite imagery.

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  • Pete
  • 05-03-20

Surprise read

Some good messages and a must for the entrepreneur, dogged story from a shoe dog

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-22-20

Just what I expected, amazing!

Loved the narrator. Was really easy to follow.
It’s such a real book I believe.
I really enjoyed it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-08-20

Amazing story, loved every minute.

This is one of the best books I have ever listened too.
WOW IS ALL I CAN SAY......
You won’t be disappointed.

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  • Timothy Llewellyn
  • 03-12-20

Great listen.

I'm not a runner, I just like biographies, and this was a really good book.

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  • Dan Treasure
  • 03-05-20

Engaging and Inspiring

A great story that is well narrated. It was amazing to hear about the numerous set-backs, challenges and uphill battles that Phil Knight and his team had to overcome to make Nike a success. Hearing his thoughts on his life (business and personal) made it easy to relate to his story and was deeply engaging.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-20-20

Best book I have ever read it listened to

I love this book as it starts right at the beginning and takes you on a journey through all the trials and successes.
Inspiring and I couldn’t wait to hear the next chapter each day in the car!