Shoe dog : a memoir by the creator of Nike / Phil Knight.

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  • Additional Information
    • Edition:
      First Scribner hardcover edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "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 simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business--a business that would be dynamic, different. Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream--along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year, 1963. Today, Nike's annual sales top $30 billion. In this Age of Startups, Knight's Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it's one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. Now, for the first time ever, in a memoir that's candid, humble, startling, funny, and beautifully crafted, he tells his story at last. He begins with his crossroads moment: twenty-four years old, backpacking around the world, wrestling with life's Great Questions, he decides the unconventional path is the only one for him. Rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, something new, dynamic, different. Knight details the many terrifying risks he encountered along the way, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors, the countless doubters and haters and hostile bankers--as well as his many thrilling triumphs and narrow escapes. Above all, he recalls the foundational relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers. Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the redemptive, transformative power of sport, they created a brand, and a culture, that changed everything"-- Provided by publisher.
    • ISBN:
      9781501135910 (hardback)
      1501135910 (hardback)
      9781501150111 (paperback)
      1501150111 (paperback)
      9781501150111 (export edition)
      1501150111 (export edition)
    • LCCN:
      2016010080
    • OCLC:
      ocn945804148
      945804148
    • Accession Number:
      fay.484235

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2016 May #2

*Starred Review* "How long do you think you're going to keep jackassing around with these shoes?" That's what Phil Knight's father said in 1964, when his 26-year-old son asked for money to help pay for $1,000 worth of Tiger running shoes, manufactured by a Japanese company that improbably had agreed to make Knight its West Coast distributor (it helped that Knight's partner in the venture was legendary University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, whose wife had written Knight a check for $500 from her Christmas fund). After stowing the shoes in his parents' Portland, Oregon, basement, under and around the ping pong table (leaving room on top for his mother to fold laundry), Knight began driving to high-school track meets and selling his Tigers from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant. So begins the story of how the multibillion-dollar Nike empire was born.Knight's memoir of his early years as an entrepreneur extends from his whirlwind, post–grad school trip around the world, including the crucial stop-off in Tokyo to make the distributorship deal, to 1980, when Nike went public. Much of the story he tells will be familiar to those who have read the several, previously published Nike histories (Donald Katz's Just Do It, 1994, among them), but this is a very different kind of book, adding Knight's immediately ingratiating personal voice to the mix and offering a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh. We learn about Knight's own, ultimately frustrating career as a middle-distance runner, during which—first in high school and then, under Bowerman, at Oregon—he was always good but never great; we hear about his nearly life-long efforts to please his father and about his own difficulties as a parent; we are treated to intimate portraits of his closest colleagues, especially the enigmatic bookworm Jeff Johnson, "employee number one," who came up with the name Nike; and, perhaps most revealing, we hear Knight's personal mea culpa for the 1990s sweatshop scandal (after chastising himself for his initial reaction to the charges, he does credit his company's later efforts to improve factory conditions worldwide).Most of all, though, what makes this book so very different from nearly every other billionaire memoir is the writing itself. Knight cites various authors in his acknowledgements for their help in making him a writer—notably, Abraham Verghese and J. R. Moehringer—and whatever they did, it worked. This book is no plodding recital of one great deal after another—cha-ching, cha-ching—but rather reads with real narrative flair and surprising eloquence. And never more so than when he is writing about shoes—the selling of them, yes, but also the making of them. Take this snippet from his portrait of Bowerman, retired as a track coach but forever tinkering in his workshop to build a better running shoe—the shoe that became the waffle-soled trainer, which launched Nike into a whole new stratosphere: "I wonder if he knew, if he had any clue, that he was the Daedalus of sneakers, that he was making history, remaking an industry, transforming the way athletes would run and stop and jump for generations. I wonder if he could conceive in that moment all that he'd done. All that would follow. I know I couldn't."But now and again Knight has his own moments of prescience: "Watching the waffle trainer evolve from popular accessory to cultural artifact, I had a thought. People might start wearing this to class. And the office. And the grocery store. And throughout their daily lives." Has anyone else ever written as evocatively about selling shoes? Well, George Pelecanos wrote a crime novel called Shoedog, and there's a character in it who sells shoes with a definite flair, but that's really something very different. And, yet, maybe not. Pelecanos brings his street characters to vivid life and makes us care about them. Remarkably, Knight does the same thing for a giant corporation—certainly an even more formidable task. And he's surely the only billionaire businessman ever to merit even a mention in the same paragraph as the great Pelecanos. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Spring

On a run in 1962, twenty-four-year-old Knight revisited a "Crazy Idea" he had in business school: import and sell Japanese running shoes in America. Knight recounts the formation of Blue Ribbon Sports, later the wildly successful company Nike. Budding entrepreneurs may find Knight's story and his "Don't stop" mantra inspirational, but many young readers will be disappointed--and bored--by the memoir's business focus. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.