Shoe Dog, a memoir from Phil Knight, the Founder of Nike, is one of the best books I have read in recent times. From the beginning, the book is filled with gripping and inspiring stories. At the age of 24, having embarked on a world trip, his interpretation of the experiences in the trip was amazing. I wondered if anyone could ever describe the world in the way that he experienced. I also felt as if those experiences laid strong foundation towards the world class brand he went on to build.
Phil uniquely opens up on his personal struggles as well as early setbacks running his company, and the multiple times drove the company to the verge of bankruptcy. But I felt the book was filled with immense passion — passion for sports, passion for running, passion for Oregon, passion for growth and passion for doing something better. Probably those passions helped him to overcome the struggles on the path to glory.
It may have been a rough balance between personal and professional lives, but I enjoyed reading the kind of relationships and connections he had with his family, early employees, and partners.
I also liked Phil’s philosophy of what doing business is all about and what it should aspire to be. His definition of business comes from the words “When you make something, when you improve something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you do it all crisply, efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done but so seldom is – you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama”.
Though he wasn’t direct about it, I could sense some great advice to the younger generation to be optimistic, to be bold, and to embrace risk and seek challenging paths in their careers.