Review: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (founder of Nike)

Footwear has never really been a passion for me, I’ve tried and tried to understand the culture but it’s beyond me, maybe I’m just not overly fashionable. When someone suggested I read a book about Nike I saw no value in it. It took another 3 or 4 people suggesting it, and I copy that more or less fell into my lap before I decided to give it the time of day.

“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.” ― Phil Knight

Shoe dog is a memoir by one of Nike’s founders, a man by the name of Phil Knight. Almost from the moment I picked this book up I was sucked in, I could hardly put it down. He’s an amazing story teller and brutally honest. It really just feels like he’s sitting down with you and chatting with you as a friend. The memoir has it all, psychology, philosophy, spirituality, mythology and he even explores with concepts like coincidence. For better or worse, he’s extremely self critical and really tries to unpack how and why he reacts the way he does, not external factors. Above all else he gives a real understanding of what it took to build a billion dollar company from nothing. I really can’t recommend this book enough.

Starting my own business was the only thing that made life’s other risks—marriage, Vegas, alligator wrestling—seem like sure things. But my hope was that when I failed, if I failed, I’d fail quickly, so I’d have enough time, enough years, to implement all the hard-won lessons. I wasn’t much for setting goals, but this goal kept flashing through my mind every day, until it became my internal chant: Fail fast.” ― Phil Knight