Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

“Shoe Dog” is an engaging autobiography of Phil Knight, the creator of Nike. Written with great candour, wit and literary merit, this is one of the best autobiographies I have read in recent times. The book is replete with lessons on entrepreneurship and management, innovation, sports, running, brand-building and lessons on Life.

I couldn’t resist sharing a passage from the book, which emphasises, how if one had belief in the product one is selling and what it stands for, then it can make up for any shortcomings one might have in selling skills:

Driving back to Portland I’d puzzle over my sudden success at selling. I’d been unable to sell encyclopaedias, and I’d despised it to boot. I’d been slightly better at selling mutual funds, but I’d felt dead inside. So why was selling shoes different? Because, I realised, it wasn’t selling. I believed in running. I believed that if people got out and ran a few miles every day, the world would be a better place, and I believed these shoes were better to run in. People, sensing my belief, wanted some of that belief for themselves.
Belief, I decided. Belief is irresistible.

Here is another passage from the book on competition:

The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of the fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!” And when it’s not possible to forget, you must negotiate with it. I thought over all the races in which my mind wanted one thing, and my body wanted another, those laps in which I’d had to tell my body, “ Yes, you raise some excellent points, but let’s keep going anyway…”

The book Shoe Dog is a must read not just for fans of running, sports and of Nike, but also for a general reader who seeks inspiration from the lives of men like Phil Knight.