This week I finished reading “Shoe Dog”, the memoir by creator of Nike. I enjoyed it, a mix of entertaining and motivating stories.
I’ve heard that most entrepreneurs say that, if they knew all the risks and hardships they would have to face before hand, they would likely not go through it. This book.
Yes, the guy is a millionaire, leads one of the most well known and best brands in the world but, for the love of Athena, the guy was in debt for most of his early efforts. Talks about the feeling of “about to lose everything” countless nights. Got sued by companies, the government, payment delays almost got one of the first employees lynched because of lack of liquidity… I got stressed just reading it.
Still, I feel would take on an entrepreneurial venture in the future. But after reading the typical successful entrepreneur story, will do with adjusted expectations.
I can’t help but to chuckle at his stories involving ASICS. “Oh! OH!.. I worked there!” If you didn’t know, ASICS was like Nike’s mom. Nike was the child who rebelled, perhaps justifiably, cut ties with mom (sued). Then when to show everyone they were able to make it – kick ass.
At ASICS there were always rumors about the treacheries from Nike, though it was obvious some these rumors evolved into unbelievable feats. We all knew they were either made up or exaggerated – but being part of the opposing team, we enjoyed hearing them. I’m not going to say it Nike was the angel this memoir suggests, but the accounts sound more believable. Mr. Onitsuka also wrote a book a while back. I will read it soon.
…now that I think of it, pitching a book and possible film about the Onitsuka and ASICS was an idea we discussed internally about 5 years ago. And now (surprise! surprise!), here comes Phil Knight with a Nike memoir and a Netflix movie. Will the battle ever end?!
The other book that came to mine a lot was Rand Fishkin’s “Lost and Founder”. I actually liked Rand’s story a bit more (though he says it’s not a story). Perhaps because it’s more recent; perhaps because I was in the sidelines while all of this was happening; or perhaps it because Rand sounds more relatable the Phil. I’m not sure.
One thing I am sure though, for the first half of the book I felt contempt for Phil Knight. He came across as the type of person who is way to introverted to connect with, ordering everyone around. For some reason I didn’t like it.
By the end I felt motivated and realizing I really enjoyed the story. For a book about Nike, the story felt very much like going for a long run.
One of the phrases that stuck with me was a mantra he brings up a few times “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us.”
I’d recommend this book if you like Nike, ASICS, or entrepreneurial stories.
Any thoughts from you guys?