One of the recent books that captured my attention was Shoe Dog, and if you’re also interested in reading memoirs that you just can’t put down, then look no further. Written by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, it traces the story behind the iconic brand that has impacted our culture in countless ways, and I found it to be a powerful account of the triumphs and pitfalls that can come with building your own business from the ground up.
Phil Knight tells his personal story candidly and traces the extraordinary history of the company he created from scratch. In 1962, after graduating from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Knight had an idea to import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan into the American market. After traveling to Kobe and becoming impressed by the craftsmanship and quality of the shoes in the country, he started selling the Japanese running shoes from the trunk of his car and ended up grossing $8,000 in his first year of business.
After starting a budding company named Blue Ribbon Sports and spending several years of driving around track meets throughout the Pacific Northwest, Knight renamed it after the Greek goddess of victory, becoming the Nike company that we all know today. It’s now a global brand that topped 37.4 billion dollars in revenue last year, and its products are now some of the most widely recognized in the world.
What I like best about this particular memoir is the way that Knight seamlessly weaves together stories of success with the challenges and hard choices that he had to make as a young entrepreneur. He had to make a decision to follow an unconventional path in his career, and he proved that sometimes taking the road less traveled is the best decision someone can make. Knight also doesn’t shy away from detailing the many challenges, setbacks, doubts, and failures he experienced, and these form a crucial part of anyone’s story and deserve to be shared along with everything else he was able to achieve.
For me, reading Knight’s memoir brought back so many memories of starting my own business and choosing to take a path that wasn’t always typical or guaranteed. In his book, I also liked that he chooses to highlight the employees, partners, and relationships that guided him forward, proving that no one really can do it alone. It’s a great business memoir, and I recommend it to anyone who’s interested in Knight’s story as well as entrepreneurship as a whole.