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Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  178,944 ratings  ·  11,807 reviews
In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simp
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Scribner (first published April 24th 2016)
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Travis Whitaker Ghost writer was JR Moehringer. Who also worked with Andre Agassi on his biography, and wrote his own memoir "The Tender Bar". …moreGhost writer was JR Moehringer. Who also worked with Andre Agassi on his biography, and wrote his own memoir "The Tender Bar". (less)
Neeraj Menta I think that portrayal is possible because many westerners who visited India earlier visited the more unique spots surrounding the spiritual destinati…moreI think that portrayal is possible because many westerners who visited India earlier visited the more unique spots surrounding the spiritual destinations in India where they see a lot of such people who confirm their pre-conceived notions thus further strengthening that impression. But I believe that narrative doesn't hold good in the current days.(less)

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Wendy S.
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: swoosh
This book made me cry. Twice! I did not know a book about what I had previously viewed as the definition of a big corporation could have that sort of power. I was wrong.

Phil Knight had been an unfamiliar name to me before I picked up this memoir. That, in itself, seems strange. I mean, I had no idea he's from Portland, Oregon, or that, by trade, he's an accountant, or that he identifies as an introvert. I didn't know he had met his wife while teaching at Portland State (after leaving PWC to buy
Brad Feld
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is the best memoir I’ve ever read by a business person.
I consumed it in a day last week. It’s about the origin story of Nike, which started out as Blue Ribbon Sports.

Unlike so many memoirs, it’s not an equally balanced arc through Knight’s life. It’s not an ego gratifying display of his awesomeness, heavily weighted in the success of the company and all the amazing things that went on around that. Instead, it’s a deep focus on the beginning years of Nike especiall
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, sports, memoirs
Growing up in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, as a collective society we were in awe of Michael Jordan. Not only did we imagine ourselves draining the decisive jump shot to seal the title, we also had to use every product that he endorsed; Gatorade, Wheaties, Coca-Cola, and, of course, Nike Air Jordan shoes. Nike most likely would not be where it is today without the sponsorship of Jordan and subsequent Jordan Brands, so when I found out that the company's founder Phil Knight had written a memoi ...more
Ned Frederick
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shoe Dog could have been titled, "Buck Naked", because of the way Phil "Buck" Knight bares his soul in this fine memoir. I'm grateful to Knight for putting it all down in black and white. My 12 years with Nike started toward the end of the timeframe of this memoir, and so a lot of what Knight chronicles in Shoe Dog was the core of the Nike creation myth, revealed piecemeal to most of us in the late 70's and early 80's... usually in the form of humorous anecdotes shared over a cocktail or three. ...more
TS Chan
“Let everyone else call your idea crazy.. just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

In other words, Just Do It!

Nike is the ultimate American dream. And it all started when a twenty-four-year-old Oregonian suddenly had this Crazy Idea of bringing Japanese running shoes, specifically the Onitsuka Tigers, into the country way back in 1962, just less than two decades after th
Huyen Chip
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Great story. There is grit, passion, and drama. Phil Knight described in amazing details his journey from selling shoes out of his car to building a multi-billion dollar company. It'd have been a perfect zero-to-hero story if it wasn't for its elitism.

All important people in Phil Knight's life seem to be rich and powerful. Knight's parents paid for his college and his expensive MBA. Then the 24 year old Knight asked for even more money to travel the world, beach-bumming in Hawaii for a while. W
Kristen Mann
Jul 27, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book but it was a push to get beyond the self-congratulatory, privileged, misogynistic words that oozed throughout this entire book. "I paid someone very little, isn't that funny?" "I was an asshole but that's just the way I am! Blame my dad!" Very little about working through the actual challenges that Nike came across besides revelling in being a white old dude and surrounding himself with old white dudes that never challenged him on it. Awful. ...more
Ivan K. Wu
Feb 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
A marketing rag that rebrands exploitation as entrepreneurial virtue, with enough rave reviews by endorsed celebrities to make George Orwell proud. To summarize: Stanford MBA returns from trip around the world (funded by parents), secures a Japanese connection (through his father) and hires a rag tag team of misfits to work full time on his shoe empire while he had one foot out the door working as an accountant for PwC. His only real talent was in taking advantage of people: $50 raises for his f ...more
Austin Haukinz
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Overall: Meh. This book doesn't contain much. No real business or leadership insight. Not even an interesting story about the formation of Nike. Mostly the life of Phil Knight and Nike's early legal trouble. Truth be told, Phil Knight sounds to be an all around self-absorbed individual. Not someone I'd ever look up to. I'm still a fan of Nike products, just not this book. ...more
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Picked this up hoping it would be a fascinating and inspirational book about leadership and passion. Well... it was an interesting book, at least. It follows Phil Knight's professional career starting from a small running shoe importer up until Nike becoming a publicly traded company. Other reviewers have said they were disappointed that it doesn't cover the birth of Air Jordan, and I would have to agree that it feels like part of the story is missing because of that. My biggest complaint, howev ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a long-time lover of Nike, it was only matter of time until I read Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, Nike’s founder. I was pretty sure I’d enjoy this one and I was right, I really liked it!

The story, told in first person by Phil himself, begins by focusing on his early life, most notably his post-college adulthood in the early 1960s. Phil was unsure of what exactly he wanted to do and had a strong desire to travel the world first. This is nothing new, in my opinion, if anything, this desire has only b
Wow! What a delightful read it was. Shoe Dog was in my reading list for a quite long time, but I never managed time to read it. But now I am gladsome that I read this stunning memoir. We all heard about brand NIKE, a shoe company. But we don't know about the journey of NIKE's founders Philip Knight and Bowerman. We definitely Google some facts, but Google will not connect us to their story emotionally.

In his autobiography, Phil talks about his personal and professional life in a very subtle man
Jason Navallo
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. It was very inspiring to read Phil Knight's story of how he built one of the world's most successful companies. It also inspired me to finish writing Underdog! ...more
Andrew Smith
I’m not sure when I became aware of Nike – maybe sometime around the millennium? Certainly not before that. I was therefore astounded to learn that the company had been founded in the early 1970’s, with the aim of producing and selling sports shoes. In fact, the co-founder (and major driving force), Phil Knight, was a runner in college and his driving goal was to produce top class running shoes. We first catch up with Phil, a native of Oregon, in the late 60’s when he’d already secured an MBA at ...more
Michael Payne
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
JUST DO IT. Those words are the life story of Phil Knight. To every athlete, entrepreneur, mother, father, and dreamer his greatest legacy will be a life well played. More valuable than his pledge of giving back to society $100,000,000 a year, Phil 'Found His Greatness' in life by inspiring us all to play harder, dig deeper and never quit. Thank you, Phil.

This book is well worth every hard-won word, shared and earned over 50+ years of grueling competition. More than once the story looked like im
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of my all-time favorite business books, out there with Liar’s Poker and The Snowball. From cover to cover it exuded positive vibes; a nice kick-start for my 2018 reading year.
The key messages conveyed by this memoir were not unlike those in biographies authored by founders of other successful businesses: marry career with passion, place subordinates according to their talents etc. etc.
And yet Phil Knight expertly presented the mortal side of a legendary CEO; he forsook platitudes an
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Never read something like this. The story of adventure, failure, friendship, love, triumph, highs and lows, banks and money, business, happiness and a journey to life. Try this one... Its recommendable 👍👍👍😍❤️
Maciej Nowicki
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I am so glad I bumped into this book. Explaining what Nike is would be just beating a dead horse. Nevertheless, my knowledge concerning Nike shoes was rather limited even though I had a few pairs when I was a teenager.

The book tells a brilliant, absolutely amazing, story of the Nike company (Blue Ribbon Sports), its founder – Phil Knight, and its Execom members who were also called butt-faces.

Anyway, the book describes Phil’s struggles and how he started out the company. It is a great recap of
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shoe Dog is an extraordinary hero's journey, an epic tale of faith, unparalleled determination, excellence, failure, triumph, hard-earned wisdom, and love. It's nothing short of a miracle that Nike exists. I finished the last sentence in complete awe, inspired and grateful for the experience.--Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Inside the O'Briens ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
"For some, I realize, business is the all-out pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us the business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn't our mission as human beings. It's a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life a ...more
Claude's Bookzone
Well it was interesting in parts but not really the book for me.

I thought the last chapter that touched on how he handled the sweatshop accusations was the most interesting.

It was just a blow by blow account of how a man aggressively created a very successful business. It didn't have heart and it wasn't inspirational.
Jeff Stern
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
I felt like I was in a country club, sitting at a round table, while an old white man blathered on about his past. Knight continually astounded me with his complete lack of self-awareness – of his white male privilege, of how he took advantage of his family and friends – and his obsession with trivial details from 40 years ago. Knight skips over so much of Nike's history that could be interesting, including everything post-IPO, and gave little insight into how grow and maintain an innovative and ...more
W. Whalin
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, has a remarkable life story of starting this world-wide shoe brand. I love reading memoirs and the story has places with keen interest--yet other areas are boring and could have been easily cut. The results is something OK but NOT amazing and page-turning for the reader. The 386 pages could have been cut to something like 200 or 225 and been much better. It's OK and worth reading. ...more
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I adored this book right from the beginning. The intro felt magical.

I read Bowerman's biography written by Kenny Moore, who was a teammate of Phil Knight's on the Oregon track team. So I got a little of the history of Blue Ribbon Sports through that account, but not much about the change into Nike. Plus that account focused more on the making/designing of the shoes, which was where Bowerman was revolutionary.

Phil Knight spills his entire guts in this book. While reading, I was thinking, did Ph
Melania 🍒
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction

I didn’t know anything about Knight before reading this, but I ended up having a special affection for him.
Throughout the whole book I sensed a truthfulness in his writing. He wasn’t shy in showing his weaknesses and his miss judgments; he didn’t want to make it seems like you need some kind of super powers to build a brand as big as Nike or that it’s a one man job or that you don’t need to make important sacrifices for it. And his commitment for what Nike represents,as a brand, which for hi
Kobe Bryant
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: big-ideas
Ive learned so much from Phil over the course of my career, but never understood the full story of how he started Nike. This book taught me about the tenacity and focus on quality that goes into building a company.
Mallika Saharia
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Any successful business has had its share of ups and downs which later on, makes for a absolute cracker of a story. But when narrated by an athlete with the same energy as that of Prefontaine, it can only fan your flames for pursuing your passion, in one way or the other.
Just do it.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When was the last time a business book made you cry?

Shoe Dog is the only business book that has EVER made me cry. Especially since I’ve gotten older and washed my hands of corporate America I've become a bit more jaded. The story of the rise of Nike as told by co-founder Phil Knight (and ghost written by J.R. Moehringer of Tender Bar fame) will have you harken back to a time when employment was a two way street of friendship and loyalty. It is *gasp* inspiring.

Tim Cook calls Shoe Dog “the busine
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, biography
"I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt."

Shoe Dog is the best business memoir I've ever read and the second most influential book I've read this year so far.

In fact it's quite narrow to call it just a "business" book.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating and seriously inspiring. First of all, I didn't know that an entrepreneur could write so well and with such a philosophical touch to it. I had this weird suspicion that this book was ghost written; such was the high quality of the prose created by Phil Knight, while his reminiscing about his journey from a small time shoe importer to the King of Athletic apparel and shoe market place.
His fondness for traveling , his inability to sell anything except something he loved, his backgroun
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Philip Hampson Knight, whose nickname is "Buck", is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and current chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., and previously served as chairman and CEO of the company. ...more

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