I have done a few book reviews on the blog, but none of them have fascinated and inspired me as much as my recent read of Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. There is so much this book shows about the power of dreams, persistence, taking chances and just being you and telling it like it is. The truth sells.
I pre-ordered Shoe Dog months ago on Amazon when I first heard it was coming out. I have read a lot of other books about the rise of Nike, but none of them captured the essence of the start, the passion, the struggle and the triumph. This comes right from the source and you can feel it. You can feel the pages almost come alive. Especially if you are a runner. This book will inspire you to no end. It’s real and it’s a page turner.
I purposefully tried to take a few weeks to read it, to make the story last longer, but I just couldn’t put it down. One night I tried to, with 80 pages to go, I shut the book and went to bed. But I couldn’t sleep! I snuck back out of bed, into the living room, and finished up the book at 1:00am.
So what was so riveting? I don’t want to give it all away, and honestly there is no way that I would be able to do the book justice. You will just have to read it. But I did come away with a lot of takeaways and I know I will be rereading this book many, many times.
Shoe Dog – The Takeaways
If you have a dream, follow it. Don’t listen to those that try to steer you otherwise. They don’t share your passion, but that’s ok. It’s yours and you are the one that must follow your heart.
Perseverance in the face of all odds goes a long way. If you truly know in your heart you are doing something worthwhile, it’s easier to continue when everything is going wrong around you. Hard times will always be there, but persevere and find a solution. Keep finding solutions.
Nike was never about the money. No dream should be about money. It should be about what you are passionate about. Something that makes the world a better place. In the 60’s, running shoes were not well made, Nike (Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman) helped to change that.
Friends and those that believe in a product, a brand, a person can make the best allies. They will weather the storm with you. They will give you their last dollar because they believe in you and your ideas. Those are the ones that count.
Life isn’t black and white and struggles make us stronger. Take your mistakes and failures and learn from them. That’s how you grow. In a way it’s a lot like sports and running. Analyze your performance and then go back to the drawing board and become a better version of yourself.
There is nothing wrong with a little luck! Luck is a great thing and often it’s what helps you succeed or fail, so embrace it!
How I’ve Applied Shoe Dog to My Life
For me, I’ve always had this crazy dream (not so crazy to me) to work for Nike. Truly, I’ve had the same dream for over 15 years. And while I may be in the wrong state and still a ways off from perhaps ever achieving that, I don’t have to stop working towards it even when everyone around me says I’m crazy. When they tell me to give up and do something “sensible.”
I have to live for me and pursue my passions, whatever they are. Life is full of crazy ups and downs. It’s full of unexpected things.
I’m not Phil Knight. I don’t think anyone else ever can be; but I do relate to him in many ways:
- We’re both born and raised Oregonian’s
- We are both runners
- Both a little introverted
- Both insanely passionate about our beliefs
- I’m sure my Nike collection would make him proud 🙂
I’ll probably never meet Phil Knight – but never say never! However, through his dedication to Nike and running, I have had many Nike experiences that he would be extremely proud of from the company he built.
Nike was always about the product serving the runner and my Nike’s have always served me. I’ve experienced the compassion and care of Nike even for runners that aren’t World Class (but wish they were!). I’ve felt like they built a shoe just for me and that they care what I think – because they actually do.
And I’ve spent way too much money on shoes. I admit it. But passion doesn’t always make sense. Someday I hope it all will. And perhaps, someday soon, you’ll be reading this blog and I’ll be writing about that pretty sweet office I suddenly have at my dream job on One Bowerman Drive in Beaverton, Oregon.
Yes Nike, you’ve stolen my heart and my career goals.
Thanks, Phil, for writing Shoe Dog and for sharing your journey. It truly is one that makes me proud to sport the Swoosh.