Phil Knight is one of the richest men in the world, but few people would recognise him even if he were standing right next to them. He built and ran the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel that now has more than US$30 billion in sales annually.
Despite his phenomenal success, Knight remains humble and he tell his story in an unassuming and honest in the book, “Shoe Dog.”
After graduating from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree and, later, an advanced degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business, Knight worked as an accountant. An avid runner, Knight did a lot of his thinking with his running shoes on. He knew he didn’t want a career figuring out other people’s taxes. That’s when it hit him: runners in America did not have high-quality running shoes at affordable prices. The market and the world’s best running tracks were dominated by two German brothers who owned Adidas and Puma. He flew to Japan and visited running shoe factories that at the time were producing great quality shoes but had no viable outlet to sell them in America.
In the early 1960s, Knight took a small loan from his father and together with his co-founder, Bill Bowerman, formed Blue Ribbon Sports, the forerunner of Nike. “Shoe Dog” tells how Knight chose Nike as the company’s name and how the famous “Swoosh” came into being.
The book tells about how Knight started a business not knowing if he was going to be able to pay for his next shipment of shoes and about his fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants management style. It also delves deep into telling how Nike signed Michael Jordan to a big shoe contract and how the company developed other product lines besides shoes.
“Shoe Dog” is a well-written page-turner that tells about Knight’s and Bowerman’s bold vision, the power of sports and how one of the world’s most known brands was created.
The newly released softcover edition of “Shoe Dog” is available at Books & Books for CI$20.