Have you read Shoe Dog? It’s a recent book about Phil Knight’s career and how he created one of the most iconic brads in the world, Nike. What a powerful and exhilarating read, I finished the book in three sittings. Phil’s explanation of his journey from being a college track star, to developing manufacturing relationships with Japan, to fighting the U.S. government head on is a gripping account that many may have not associated with the company that Nike is today.
Phil challenged the status quo. After his Stanford MBA, he took a worldwide trip to the depths of Tokyo, Philippines, Venice, and much more. With today’s corporate culture, it is extremely rare for any working professional to take anything more than one month off, yet our counterparts in South America, Europe, and Australia consistently take 6 month to one year journeys traveling and exploring the world. One saying that stuck with me as I traveled through Argentina was, “Americans live to work, and Europeans work to live”. However, taking a year off before college or your first job is becoming more and more commonplace, something that I wish I had done if given another opportunity. There’s something about traveling that is addicting, be it asking for directions in a foreign language or trying a piece of grilled guinea pig, traveling puts us out of our comfort zone. I digress, but as Phil Knight said, “you either grow, or you die.”
It’s incredible reading that Nike used to be called Blue Ribbon, a company that acted as a middleman selling Japanese shoes. Numerous times the company either almost went bankrupt or lost its supplier, but through each strife, Nike became bigger, more original, and evolved to the company we love and know today. Shoe Dog is an inspirational book that serves many lessons to the aspirational entrepreneur or the causal wearer of free runs. The ending was especially emotional for me, I emphasized with the raw emotions that Phil put into his book.
Next up on my reading list is Walt Disney’s autobiography, “The Triumph of My American Imagination”! I love books that challenge the status quo, and inspire creativity.