August 31st, 2016

Book Rec: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

nike logo

If you are interested in business, innovation and brands, read Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight. The Nike startup story is especially inspiring if you are interested in starting your own business.

This book tells the Nike, Inc. startup story from the perspective of its founder Phil Knight and it was absolutely fascinating the following reasons:

  • Nike was not anywhere close to an overnight success. Knight worked years to bring Nike to market.
  • For many, many years, Knight worked full time in other jobs — as a CPA, as a college professor — while managing the shoe company out of his parents’ house and then his own apartment. Shoes was his passion project and he worked his ass off to make it successful.
  • Regardless of exponential growth each year, the company constantly teetered towards financial failure. They were kicked out of multiple banks, but never gave up.
  • Knight understood the principle of “getting the right people on the bus.” He hired people he knew to be smart and talented, then he figured out what to do with them. And often, shuffled them around in different positions as he saw needs within the company.

Company origin stories are always fascinating, but this one is exceptionally so given they were building a company based on niche activities (like running) during the time of its inception. The ups and downs are encouraging to those who are building companies and need to understand that failures make you stronger.

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Link to book on Amazon