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Phil Knight Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Last updated: June 27, 2019


Entrepreneurs and aspiring athletes alike will find Phil Knight's "Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike" inspiring. The Nike founder recounts his journey to making his shoe company one of the most recognized brands in the world. His struggles will be inspiring to anyone who has ever had a dream.

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Product Details

In our analysis of 33 expert reviews, the Phil Knight Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike placed 1st when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

In this instant and tenacious bestseller, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh” (Booklist, starred review), illuminating his 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. Bill Gates named Shoe Dog one of his five favorite books of 2016 and called it “an amazing tale, a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s a messy, perilous, and chaotic journey, riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. Phil Knight opens up in ways few CEOs are willing to do.” Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last. At twenty-four, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. He details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs. Above all, he recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers. Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the transformative power of sports, they created a brand—and a culture—that changed everything.

Expert Reviews


What reviewers liked

The title of the memoir is apt, for much of it is a rather dogged struggle through the minutiae of shoe distributorship and manufacture, with all the deals and lawsuits that entails.
The book is solid material for everyone interested in business, entrepreneurship, because you can learn a lot from this book.
Shoe Dog is brilliant! The style of writing, (I listened to the audiobook of Shoe Dog which was not narrated by the author except the introduction but I enjoyed the delivery).It gets kind of tricky especially with memoirs, this is someone’s life story, it is not fiction that we can debate about the plot and protagonist. With memoirs, I ask myself if I enjoyed the story; the writing.
Worth to say that Phil Knight is an excellent writer and a storyteller. He did a great job as the book is absolutely astonishing not only by the inspiring story it tells but also by its abundance of useful information for experienced an inexperienced entrepreneurs. I really enjoyed reading about real financial struggle (cash flow in particular) as so few popular books underline that.
I really think this book is a great motivational book for people in any business. Se the opportunity around you and go for it. This book belongs in my top five biographies of all time, I really enjoyed every last minute of the book.
I was very surprised how well the book is written. I am not sure but I think most of the memoir is written by Phil Knight himself. The book reads much more like a Thriller than like a (somewhat boring) “How I did it” memoir.For the first 200 pages or so I couldn’t put the book down.
his is an entertaining book and contains a lot of useful business lessons.
On my reading list was Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. Having grown up in the period of Air Jordan and the rise of Nike, the story Phil Knight tells of building one of the greatest retailers and most recognisable brands in the world was almost impossible to put down. This is a must read for anyone who has started or wants to start a business as his story is fascinating.
This book also surprised me by how clean it was. There was probably about a dozen swear words in the entire book, and other than that, nothing else objectionable in the entire thing.
I think Knight wanted to write scarily honest account of what starting a business is really like. And, according to my heart rate, he certainly managed to do so.

What reviewers didn't like

Unfortunately, much of the book conforms to the dry formulas of business writing, borrowing in turn from business speechifying: tell a joke, show a slide, read the text and expand on the bullet points, move to the next slide.
My biggest problem with the book is that it stops right as the good stuff happens in the Jordan era. It would be great to read more about the modern history of Nike, competition with Adidas and other brands as well as the latest trends in manufacturing and marketing in the shoe industry.
It’s not clear whether Knight used a ghostwriter or if he’s done the dead himself, but whether it was one, the other, or a mixture of the two, it’s a strangely gripping read.
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