The slogan for Nike is Just Do It. The slogan of Shoe Dog, A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike, should be Just Read It.
Phil Knight’s account of how he took an idea and built an empire is an interesting historical account that is a mixture of philosophy and business. He took an idea to distribute running shoes, what he describes as a crazy idea, and built a company called Blue Ribbon with his former University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman. Blue Ribbon later became Nike, named by one of Knight’s employees for the Goddess of Victory.
It took a vision and a team of individuals who believed in Knight and his dream to accomplish the end goal. They collectively became indoctrinated in a culture of footwear, hence the term shoe dogs.
Bowerman comes across like a mad scientist developing ideas for inner and outer soles and track surfaces. Knight’s description of Bowerman and other key people who factored in the development of the company are the essence of the story, which seems more like fiction than fact.
Knight battled lending institutions, the U.S. government, rival companies and the Japanese company that originally allowed him to distribute its shoes in the U.S. He not only survived, he thrived. It’s like he was constantly in a race to finish ahead of his pursuers.
His father, mother and wife, who became one of his original employees, gave him the strength to find balance between business and family life. Tragedy is mixed in with the triumph.
Knight gets a swoosh mark for his memoir.