If you are into shoes and entrepreneurship, this book is certainly for you.

This is one of my favorite books of the year and favorite business books ever. I started reading it while on the runway of a flight and figured I will read a few pages before opening my laptop and working.

Instead, my laptop stayed in my bag during the flight and I read almost half of the book in one extended sitting.

Ostensibly the memoir of the founder of Nike, it is the story of a lost kid trying to find meaning in his life and it ends with him creating a multi-billion dollar company that changes sports forever.

I’m not sure if Knight used a ghostwriter (the acknowledgements are unclear) but his personal touches are all over the book, and the book itself is deeply personal and authentic.

The afterward is an incredibly moving reflection of a man looking back on his life. I loved this book. I hold out hope that there may be more books to follow.

I must confess before reading this book, I knew nothing about Phil Knight except that he is the founder of Nike. Partly because I’m not a fan of biographies but I bought this book because a friend recommended that I give it a chance.

In terms of business lessons, this book is a HUGE awekening that business is far more than cool ideas, creativity and innovation. The biggest business lesson that stood out for me in this book is cash flow management. Maybe it’s because Phil Knight is an accountant and that’s his worldview.

It is just ridiculously remarkable how Phil Knight managed to start and run Nike limping from one cash crisis to another.



It is easy to get lost in thinking that all it takes is innovation, ideas, and creativity. Phil Knight does an amazing job of sharing his experience. Oh he is very funny. I laughed all the time as I turned the pages.

My lessons from the book:

  1. Family over everything
  2. You need a little bit of accounting knowledge to succeed to an extent
  3. Leave your comfort zone and explore other environs even on a budget….

It is a bit long though, but it is worth every word, it is very insightful, oh and did I mention funny, yeah I think I did 🙂

My favorite quotes.

  • “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
  • “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.”
  • “When you see only problems, you’re not seeing clearly.”
  • “Life is growth. You grow or you die.”
  • “I’d tell men and women in their midtwenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be fuel, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt.”
  • “I refused to even consider ordering less inventory. Grow or die, that’s what I believed, no matter the situation.”
  • “Like books, sports give people a sense of having lived other lives, of taking part in other people’s victories. And defeats. When sports are at their best, the spirit of the fan merges with the spirit of the athlete.”
  • “You tell yourself that you’re running toward some goal, chasing some rush, but really you run because the alternative, stopping, scares you to death.”
  • “But that’s the nature of money. Whether you have it or not, whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not, it will try to define your days. Our task as human beings is not to let it.”
  • “History is one long processional of crazy ideas.”

One thought on “Book Review: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

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