Shoe Dog: A memoir by the creator of Nike

shoe dog

I simply loved this book. I rate this one a 10 out of 10 for all entrepreneurs. It reads like a thriller and I found myself not wanting to put it down and planning my days to get back to finish it.

Phil Knight takes us through his real life (and, oh so relatable) story of how he developed a business idea for selling running shoes while at university. At the time no one other than athletes ran and it was not uncommon for road runners to have passersby hurl cans of Pepsi and a dose of insults as they drove past.

Phil saw something different and with a small investment from his reluctant father set out on a trip around the world, via Japan, to investigate if this crazy idea of his to import cheap running shoes from Japan would work. 

His journey is one that many entrepreneurs will relate to – from begging a relative to help with start-up capital, to winging it at meetings, surviving impossibly difficult bank managers, the ongoing stress of cash flow issues, supplier treachery, and constant gnawing self-doubt. I was particularly taken by his gnarly leadership style, which frankly disproves everything one reads on leadership today, and how, despite being a less than copybook perfect leader he managed to surround himself with others that shared his passion for winning against the odds, and for shoes. 

The book will teach you that determination is the driver of success and that business partnerships can and do work, especially where there is mutual trust and respect. It will also remind you that the journey to global success is not without its cost (in Phil’s case on his family), and that along the way one has disappointments that can feel totally overwhelming, yet when the passion to win is strong enough, success does come. 

This is a story that spans many decades and is a reminder that to be iconic, to be legendary in your field you need to play the long game. And that takes great reserves of strength, courage and determination. 

His story is real, engaging and inspiring. I found myself in tears and filled with laughter. 

He gives recognition to the challenging story that all business founders face in a way that makes you feel “here are my people”. Perhaps it is this connection that many of us yearn for – as it’s hard to find people crazy enough to step outside their comfort zone and start, run and succeed in business – and enjoy doing it! 

Highly recommended! 

If you’d like to just do it and read this book then run on over to Exclusive Books, Takealot or Loot.