Shoe Dog: A Memoir by Phil Knight, the Founder of Nike

Everybody knows Nike. The swoosh has become a symbol of one of the world’s most profitable and iconic sports clothing brands which now has close to 1,200 stores around the globe. Though I have worn many Nike products throughout my life, I have never paused to think of where it had all started. I never would have guessed that such a successful company was the product of such a long and turbulent road until I came across the memoir “Shoe Dog”.

A friend of mine recommended the book to me and said that it inspired him to take risks and start his own company. This recommendation moved me to read it. In the memoir, Nike’s co-founder Phil Knight shares the story of the company’s early days.

Phil Knight begins by writing about his first major decision in life, which was whether he wanted to choose a stable job or do what he loved. In the end, he chose to go down what was the unconventional road at the time and start his own business. Nike originally started as Blue Ribbon Sports with the goal of selling sports shoes imported from Japan. This idea seemed strange at the time, as the United States and Japan were in a tense relationship after the 2nd world war. After struggling to create a stable relationship with Onitsuka, which was one of the best shoe companies at the time, Phil Knight looked for other ways to develop his business.

I was very impressed by the memoir, as I could almost hear the voice of Phil Knight in my head as I read each page. I thought that it gave a very personal and humble account of past events, which differed from other memoirs of accomplished people like Phil Knight that I had read before. I think that “Shoe Dog” is of the best memoirs that I have ever read.

When looking at the great accomplishments of Phil Knight, I used to see it as something far in the future. But “Shoe Dog” has made large accomplishments seem more accessible. As an HS student, I am at a point in my life where I am searching for something I want to do in the future. Graduation is just a few years away, and I have been pressured by my parents to earn good grades so I can apply to top universities and get a high-paying job. Though this seems like a good idea at first, I sometimes want to find my passions and interests above anything else.

I want to share this quote from the memoir:

“I’d tell men and women in their mid-twenties not to settle for a job or a profession or even a career. Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know 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.”