Sep 01

“Shoe Dog” is a true, great, American story.

Phil Knight and how he created his company Nike is an amazing adventure!

shoe dogThis true story has a little bit for everyone. There are a myriad of themes in this book covering everything from adventure to David versus Goliath to invention. Whether you are a runner or an entrepreneur, I think you will enjoy it.

Phil Knight almost dropped out of running completely his junior year of high school because his doctor said that a wart on his foot would require him to stop. Instead, with the help of his mother they gradually shaved it down and run he certainly did. He eventually went on to join the track team at his beloved Oregon where he first met his coach and later to be partner, the legendary Bob Bowerman. Upon graduation, Knight goes on a world adventure lasting over a year that culminates in him deciding that he wants to get into the running shoe business.

The “Shoe Dog” is born as he begins selling a little-known brand of running shoe called Tigers out of his bedroom in his parents Oregon home. The little company he calls Blue Ribbon continues to grow in size year after year. Eventually, he and Bowerman begin designing and creating their own shoes. They are outgrowing the company they get their shoes from, and begin to produce their own. Changing their name to Nike, which came from the Greek goddess of victory, Knight and his Motley Crue personnel begin their quest to take over the athletic shoe world!

This really is a great American story. Starting with a dream and compassion, Phil Knight goes through great struggle pouring blood sweat and tears into his company. Going from nothing to the top, it is a fun and exciting adventure. Throughout his journey, he relates the business and life in general to his favorite thing in life which is running. It is the analogy for his existence, and he captures it beautifully in the foreword to the book. Though never as passionate about running, I felt a similar connection with fitness. I leave the two paragraphs in their entirety. Even if you don’t read the book, if you have a passion for anything, you will enjoy them.


 “For that matter, few ideas are as crazy as my favorite thing, running. It’s hard. It’s painful. It’s risky. The rewards are few and far from guaranteed. When you run around an old track, or down the road, you have no real destination. At least, nothing can fully justify the effort. The act itself becomes the destination. It’s not just that there’s no finish line; it’s that you define the finish line. Whatever pleasures or gains you derive from the act of running, you must find them within. It’s all in how you frame it, how you sell it to yourself.

Everyone knows this. You run and run, mile after mile, and you never quite know why. You tell yourself that you’re running towards some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death.”

Phil Knight