Chad Kohalyk's Reviews > Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
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really liked it
bookshelves: audio, working

3 stars for content but 5 stars for execution: J. R. Moehringer did a brilliant job ghostwriting this book, and Norbert Leo Butz’s narration is top notch. The narrative flow is smooth, easy to listen to, and sounds more like a season of Arrested Development than a dry autobiography by a CEO. It is like having Ron Howard walk you through Phil Knight’s life.

Moehrenger’s patterns can be quickly spotted (quirky lists, introducing a zany event to be used as a punchline later, etc) but they are still effective.

This book is a masterclass in PR. I say this because I have known many founders, and the rosy way how they reflect back, and I see many of the same patterns in this book. Like an Arrested Development episode, it is entertaining to see the story told, but you would never actually want to be involved. I would love to hear the perspectives of the other players in this story, and wouldn’t be surprised if they are wildly different from how Phil Knight remembers it. I think the corporate rationalizing in the final chapter strike a sour, yet more realistic note to this account.

Are there things to learn from this book? Not so much from a business or management perspective. Like most billionaire stories, this is not reproducible. But it was interesting to hear about the challenges of finding capital in the 60s and 70s. There are a few tidbits on corporate culture, but this book isn’t really structured for a business reader. It is more of an entertaining popular history, and an enjoyable one at that.

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Reading Progress

April 9, 2019 – Started Reading
April 9, 2019 – Shelved
April 9, 2019 –
April 10, 2019 –
April 11, 2019 –
April 12, 2019 –
April 13, 2019 –
30.0% "So far I really like the flow of this book. I wonder who ghost-wrote it? If Knight wrote this all himself then I really impressed. The audio is really great too. Easy-listening narrative with lots of self-referential points.

But I have finally hit a sour note, when he outright lies to his suppliers, and I am reminded that he is an "entrepreneur." I suppose we aren't always meant to identify with our protagonists."
April 15, 2019 –
April 16, 2019 –
April 17, 2019 –
April 19, 2019 –
April 21, 2019 – Finished Reading

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