Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight, is one of my favorite company founding story books. Phil Knight is the founder of Nike, and he is now worth an estimated 37.6 billion dollars. I am personally a big fan of Nike as a company, and I really enjoyed reading more about its origins.
Nowadays, everyone considers Nike to be THE company in the athletics industry, and it is valued at over 100 billion dollars. Still, it was not always like this, and up until the 1980s or so, it was always considered more of an upstart rather than a dominant company. As you will read in the book, Nike had difficulties managing relationships with suppliers and finding people to wear its shoes. It was popular amongst some hard core runners, but it struggled to find a mainstream appeal.
Nike now has some of the most famous athletes of all time such as Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and others under contract; however, if you were watching The Last Dance, you will know that Michael Jordan did not even want to sign with Nike coming out of college (his top choice by far was Adidas). Since its founding in 1964, Nike has come an incredibly long way, and it is easy to assume that success was handed to it and Phil Knight; after reading Shoe Dog though, you will see that Knight worked incredibly hard for all of the successes he got, and in the end it all paid off.
Similar to the Netflix origin book, That Will Never Work, Shoe Dog is an incredible book to read to get perspective on what it takes to be successful. There is luck involved in every single big company, but incredible hard work and determination from founders is what separates successful companies from others. There is no easy way to becoming a billionaire (other than being born into it or winning the biggest lottery of all time), and Phil Knight’s memoir proves it.
Shoe Dog Recommendation Rating: 4
1: Something worth checking out if you have time
2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone
3: Something worth prioritizing if interested
4: Something worth making time to check out
5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for