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Major Takeaway and Review of Shoe Dog By Phil Knight


This was an awesome book! One of my favorites ever maybe, and certainly the best one I have read when it comes to starting a company and entrepreneurship. I typically don’t go for these types of books, because who wants to hear a billionaire gloat about all the struggles they overcame, and how anyone can do it, but this book was different. Reading Knight’s words, you feel like he knows that this was a truly wild journey and that amount of s•#@ he overcame still surpises himself to this day.

We all know the brand Nike, but reading of all the trials and tribulations they had to go through to get where they are today is insane. It’s honestly a miracle they still exist. Phil Knight (founder and author of this book) had to overcome being sued, huge deficits, and more to keep Nike afloat since it’s founding. Even though i hate it when people try to inspire me, this book did just that.

“As ever, the accountant in me saw the risk, the entrepreneur saw the possibility. So I split the difference and kept moving forward.”

– Phil Knight, Show Dog

Major Takeaway

What I pulled from this book is just how much shit you have to overcome to build a massive company, or even just to have some “success” as you define it. Being someone who has only known Nike as the huge company of today, it was surprising to hear how many times they SHOULD have failed. The fact that Phil Knight didn’t throw in the towel dozens of times before is amazing. Here are the things that you probably didn’t know about the path Nike took to get to today:

  • Phil Knight basically walked into a Japanese show factory as a clueless 24 year-old and lied his way into importing that factories shoes. This was the initial company, Blue Ribbon Sports
  • Phil Knight gets sued by that company a few years later after he starts a new brand, named Nike, which should have crippled the business
  • They dealt with so many logistical nightmares that make you wonder how any of them got any sleep at night
  • US competitors that used sleezy tactics in efforts to try and bankrupt Nike. They evoked obscure laws against them, which Nike was eventually able to settle for $9 million. This was before Nike was anywhere near the size of today

Give this a book a read for yourself. It is absolutely worth it. This was the first book that made me feel like I could start a business myself, and the key to doing that is just to keep taking one step at a time. Let me know if you enjoy it as much as I did!

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