Shoe Dog


For those who are not aware, Phil Knight is the founder of Nike. In this book, Knight charts the history leading up to the establishment of Nike’s precursor, Blue Ribbon Shoes, through to Nike becoming an established player in the sports arena.

It’s an interesting story because it was far from a straight and easy road. Doing most things in the early sixties was a lot of hard work, but things like finances proved the biggest challenge, and it takes up a lot of time here. It’s an issue you feel wouldn’t exist today.

Most new businesses fail, and, no matter what you feel about the brand, it’s testament to the hard work, innovation and nerve that Knight, his co-founders and their early employees showed that underpins the behemoth Nike became.

I admired the level of honesty shown — Knight never claims to be a business genius, never claims to have done it alone, criticises his own management style and isn’t afraid to show how close he came to going of business on numerous occasions. That’s rare in the myth-based world of business celebrity.

That said, he breezes past a number of the accusations that have been leveled at the company over the years.

As an account of what it takes to build a company from selling shoes from the back of your car to global recognition, it’s hard to beat though.

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Reviewed: 20th May 2019