Author: Phil Knight
Sourced: Found at the public library, but also available on Amazon for about $17
Meows: 5 out of 5, even though Condy doesn’t particularly approve of the title
A first-person memoir from the creator of Nike about his business ventures through the 60’s/70’s and a hair into the 1980’s. Knight gives insight on his Japanese business dealings, what it was like to build a brand, understanding the power of influencers, and ultimately what it’s like to go public with your baby of a business. Spoiler alert: Nike makes it. Double spoiler alert: Phil Knight is a stand-up guy and business man, only ruthless when his back was against the wall.
“The best teacher I ever had, one of the finest men I ever knew, spoke of that trail often. It’s our birthright, he’d growl. Our character, our fate–our DNA. “The cowards never started,” he’d tell me “and the weak died along the way–that leaves us.”
“I’d never said good-bye to a true partner, and it felt massively different. Imagine that, I thought. The single easiest way to find out how you feel about someone. Say goodbye.”
“Put it this way. The harder you work, the better your Tao. And since no one has every adequately defined Tao, I now try to go regularly to mass. I would tell them: Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.”
TOE BEANS VALUE
On a scale of 1 to 10 toe beans, Shoe Dog deserves a hard 10. Not only would I put this book in my permanent collection, I’d reread it again and again.
For anyone who has ever struggled with something that was just yours and you wanted it to work (a business, a blog, a relationship), this book is filled with inspiration to remind us that nothing is free, nothing is easy, but it is worth it. Phil Knight is the definition of American entrepreneurship and while he certainly had his share of “white privilege” at the start, he lived in debt most of his life chasing a “crazy idea.” He took risks, he made his own path, and he listened to his inner voice that said to keep going even when the bank said please don’t. So Mr. Knight, if you ever stumble across this little blog, I’d like say well done and thank you for sharing your story. I hope one day, I too have a story as inspiring as yours to share.
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