Of all the business book autobiographies I have read, Shoe Dog is the most satisfying. It is a first look at how Phil Knight created the brand Nike and steps carefully through each of his successes and failures to ultimately create the world’s most successful athletic shoe company. Who should read it? Anyone interested in what it takes to create a brand.
Shoe Dog Book Review
Welcome back to The Book Club! We’re excited to have you here and joining us for book recommendations that will change your life, change the way you think, give you confidence to create, start fresh, change your path or just to let you escape through the pages. This week we’re featuring Shoe Dog, the story of how Nike was created.
Unlike most memoirs, this book does not glorify success or skim over the difficult points in Phil Knight’s business career that have led to the brand Nike is today. The book instead focuses mostly on the trials and tribulations of the early years of Nike – from the first spark of an idea, doing business across international waters and the common hurdles Nike had to overcome (like trademarks, the competition and lawsuits).
Through focusing on the formative years, Phil Knight gives readers a rare glimpse into what it really takes to build an international company. A common theme through the book is floating with Nike seemingly able to go under at any turn of the page. This makes the book both exciting and page-turning to the point that I read it in two days.
“The book instead focuses mostly on the trials and tribulations of the early years of Nike – from the first spark of an idea, doing business across international waters and the common hurdles Nike had to overcome (like trademarks, the competition and lawsuits).”
What many readers may not know before reading the book is that Knight had to work full-time for the first five years of Nike as it was not creating a steady enough income for him to quit his job. This kind of revelation is important for business minded people who might have read the occasional “overnight success story” as you quickly realise there is no such thing – not even for a company as successful as Nike.
Readers anxiously watch on as Nike goes from year one revenue in 1964, at $8,000 to year two revenue at $20,000. Year 41 revenue (2015) was $30.6 billion with a net income of $3.3 billion. It is this kind of in-depth first hand knowledge that will give entrepreneurs hope as equally as it provides rational thinking and what it really takes.
Just how good is it?
We’re giving this book a hefty 9 out of 10, which makes this book an unmissable read. The book is most likely to appeal to founders and business enthusiasts, especially if you have an idea of what sparks your passion and are looking for actionable advice. It is a much lighter read than traditional business books, so will also double as a plane or train read.