Shoe Dog by Phil Knight [Book Reviews]

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“I’d never witnessed anything quite like that race. And yet I didn’t just witness it. I took part in it. Days later I felt sore in my hams and quads. This, I decided, this is what sports are, what they can do. Like books, sports give people a sense of having lived other lives, of taking part in other people’s victories. And defeats. When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete, and in that convergence, in that transference, is the oneness that the mystics talk about.”

Phil Knight started a company called Nike, but the only thing I keep about him was that Kanye had mentioned him in a song once and that Michael Jordan had credited Phil with having the vision to sign MJ to an exclusive show deal in the mid eighties.

What I got from Shoe Dog was the amazing story of a well-traveled entrepreneur (and runner) who built a business one day at a time, never knowing if his fledgling company would even make it from one year to the next.

The wow stories in Shoe Dog are numerous, too many for me to share them all. But there were many times that I had to stop reading just to think of the what-if-ness of Knight’s story.

The co-founder whose book Jogging made running a mainstream normal-person exercise in the 1960s.

The designer who came to Nike with the idea of inserting an air bubble in a sneaker — and how much Knight & co. didn’t see a future in such technology.

How Knight had to be convinced that advertising and endorsements were an important and needed element of getting his shoes on as many feet as possible.

How Knight realized that his sneakers could actually appeal to people who didn’t even run — and that people would wear Nike clothes, too, not just the footwear.

And the story only goes up to the early 1980s.

You Should Read Shoe Dog IF: your a fan of first-person memoirs. You’re a Nike customer. You’re an entrepreneur and like to be inspired by the stories of how others have done it.

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