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
"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)
I write this review having lied in bed with recent ill health and having had to make last minute changes in my business. Don't ever stop is what Phil Knight says in this book after many many obstacles and hurdles that could have stopped his company even with millions in turnover. lolling from one challenge to another but rising above it with his team and his family.
Who can forget the Nike sweat shop scandal which still lives on in some people's minds today but how they took that and reformed worker conditions not just at Nike but across other industries as they sought to do better and lead by example. To fail is not the issue but to fail and learn and embrace change in the face of failure is a lesson you can't hear enough.. fail faster.
A wonderful book I finished in one day while laying in bed in pain. Ready to recover and fight on and keep growing. An inspirational tour de force and highly recommendrd for entrepreneur and casual listener alike.
Just finished listening to the audiobook. I also have the e-book which I red in parts. The book is very well written and read almost like a novel it's not just about business but also a fascinating story from the very beginning. This type of biography which is written by the founder himself is my favourite because you get to know the person as opposed to biographies written by somebody else who has researched the business person.
As somebody who has recently started his business, finishing listening to this book left me quite inspired and there are many parts I would want to re-read to re-listen. That last final chapters I couldn't put it down.
For many years I had mixed feeling about the brand itself. I always thought was too expensive and too much overhyped with advertisement until a few years ago I bought their more minimalistic Nike flex and since then it has been my favourite shoe of all time. Phil knight himself is quite fascinating character and at times feel such an ordinary shy guy! that gives me some comfort, tying to make it in business as an introvert!
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
Couldn't wait to hear the next chapter. Engrossing and inspiring. I recommend everyone that likes audio books and Entrepreneurship list be to it.
"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.
"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!
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.
Well written and highly engaging. A modern classic business adventure - with heart. Nike's rise from class project to IPO.
"For the sneaker heads, Butt Faces and haters"
Shoes are such a simple thing. We put them on, tie them, slip them off and on, and all with little thought.
To Phil, it is so much more than that. Shoes were the rubber meeting the road, and that road has taken him on a wild, tiresome and fulfilling journey.
This book is for the bold, the creative, the spirited...not just the athlete. In short, if you have a pulse and a desire to achieve great things, this book is for you.
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