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Shoe Dog

A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

By Phil Knight
  • Read in 12 minutes
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  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog (2016) tells the story of the man behind the famous footwear company Nike. These blinks offer a peek into the mind of genius entrepreneur Phil Knight and detail the rollercoaster ride he went to through to build up his company.

Key idea 1 of 7

Nike’s path to success started with a “crazy idea” and a trip around the world.

It was 1962 and Phil Knight was fresh out of business school. He was shy and a terrible salesperson.

But that didn’t stop him from following a vision he had. Phil wanted to import Japanese running shoes to America and had his eye on the Tiger brand that was manufactured by the Japanese company Onitsuka.

The idea had first occurred to him while he was at Stanford Business School. At the time, neither his professors, classmates or even his father thought much of it.

But that didn’t stop Phil, who traveled across the Pacific to sell his bold proposition to a room full of Japanese businessmen.

He didn’t expect the pitch to be a success, but when the Onitsuka CEO told him that his timing was perfect and asked him the name of the company with which he would be working, Phil was stunned.

Completely unprepared, he blurted out the name, “Blue Ribbon.” Onitsuka then agreed to send him 300 pairs of Tiger shoes to start him off. Over the next several months, Phil would sell the Japanese shoes out of the trunk of his car!

After securing the deal with Onitsuka, Phil traveled the world. During his travels, he found a lot of inspiration through the things he saw and experienced.

Much of what he learned about the cultures he explored would influence him later in life. For instance, Phil was particularly inspired by the Greek Acropolis. He found himself standing in front of the Temple of Nike, the goddess of victory, for hours on end.

Years later, Phil came across a play written by ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes called “The Knights.” In it, a warrior gifts the king a new pair of shoes – in the Temple of Nike.

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