A memoir by the founder of Nike.
BY PHIL KNIGHT
I struggled at the start of this book as I was expecting a more inspirational Hollywood style success story, complete with takeaways I could implement. Something along the lines of: “Man has a dream. Man launches dream. Man becomes an overnight success. Man has a failure. Man overcomes failure and achieves even greater success. The end! I have read a few business books in this style, and I must admit to enjoying them. A bit like a Jack Reacher novel or a holiday romance tale, you know they don’t have great substance, but they are an enjoyable escape! As soon as I let go of my expectation for this book, I realized that it was a rare commodity. The book is not an ego trip or rose-tinted look back down memory lane. Instead, Phil Knight has written a book at the other end of the spectrum. Almost to the point of being too self-deprecating. This book is a brutally honest review of what it took to get a business manufacturing a product with small margins off the ground and keep it going. As a business coach to lifestyle entrepreneurs I usually deal with companies in the service sector, so reading about the manufacturing process and challenges Nike encountered was a real eye-opener for me. O.K. I’m going to be real… It scared me to death! The book does not come with a set of inspirational quotes, moments of enlightenment and rags to riches in 6-months anecdotes. It is a very frank account of the path to success from one of the biggest brands out there!
Thrive Notes from Shoe Dog.
The Team Is More Important Than The Individual.
One of the biggest things I took away from this book was that you have to have the right people on your team. More than qualifications, experience or even talent your team members need to share your vision and passion for what you are doing. No-one is suggesting they need to equal your passion but they have to share your drive and company message. Then together, you will work to make it a success.
Not everything has to cost a fortune.
Anyone of you reading this that knows me personally will testify to my thrifty nature. I advise many of my clients to not make the mistake of throwing money at an opportunity or problem straight away. Nikes logo the Swoosh cost $35 and was designed by an art student. In the beginning, you can look for creative solutions that do not cost the earth.
To grow you need to invest.
For years Nike ploughed it’s profits back into the company to allow it to grow. This was no “get rich quick” company that inflated its value to try and sell itself within a couple of years of trading. They settled in to build something truly impressive and were willing to do the hard work required.
And Finally… My Favourite Excerpt from Shoe Dog.
“For some, I realize, business is the all-out pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us, business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn’t our mission as human beings. It’s a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life always strives to transcend the basic processes of living.