The Crazy Idea: Why Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight’s memoir “Shoe Dog” is a must-read

I recently finished Phil Knight’s memoir “Shoe Dog”, which outlines his journey as to how he was able to turn Nike into a billion dollar brand. Spoiler alert: It was anything but easy. A sports and track aficionado, Nike’s co-founder began his business venture not as Nike, the iconic brand we know today but as a small California based company called Blue Ribbon Sports.

It would be years of obstacles, legal hurdles, and financial struggles before Nike would become the beloved brand that we all know today. With $32 billion dollars in revenue last year, it’s hard to imagine that Nike was at one point just Phil Knight’s “crazy idea.”

I respect and admire Knight for his decision to make the book’s focus more about his failures and struggles than on his successes. His book is honest and doesn’t make any efforts to hide the often painful struggles one has to go through in order to pursue their passions with no guarantee it will work out in the end. Knight’s success with Nike is truly a result of his grit and perseverance to build something great.

To conclude, Knight’s passion for Nike and entrepreneurship bleeds through the pages. I highly recommend you pick up the book and read it for yourself. But just to give you a glimpse, I will leave you with some of his top quotes that will likely inspire anyone to build something and mark your dent on the world.

Finding your calling

“Seek a calling. Even if you don’t 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”

Believing in Yourself

“Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart”

Dealing with failure

“Fear of failure, I thought will never be our downfall as a company. Not that any of us thought we wouldn’t fail; in fact we had every expectation that we would. But when we did fail, we had faith that we’d do it fast, learn from it, and be better for it”

Breaking the status quo

“You are remembered for the rules you break”

Building products that change the world

“We wanted, as all great businesses do, to create, to contribute and we dared to say so aloud. When you make something, when you improve something something, when you deliver something, when you add some new thing or service to the lives of strangers, making them happier, or healthier, or safer, or better, and when you did it all crisply and efficiently, smartly, the way everything should be done so seldom is — you’re participating more fully in the whole grand human drama.”

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