Book Review – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

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Shoe Dog By Phil Knight

I’d tell men and women in their midtwenties 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


In Shoe Dog, Phil Knight shares his story, a young boy living in Oregon, fascinated by the world, an athlete who held his coach in high esteem and later co-founded Nike with him. He relays his travel round the world, his discoveries, the instinct to see more and experience more. The drive to import running shoes from Japan, his athleticism, reception of his crazy idea by friends and family and the fire in him that wanted to make his dream a reality.

As a trained accountant, he left his job at a firm for a teaching job in Portland State University to enable him have more time for his side gig. He met his wife in his class. Their love started slow, shy, unsure but it blossomed still.

Shoe Dog captures the reader with its transparency, wittiness, uniqueness, life lessons and motivation.


So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.

Shoe Dog is brilliant! The style of writing, (I listened to the audiobook of Shoe Dog which was not narrated by the author except the introduction but I enjoyed the delivery).

It gets kind of tricky especially with memoirs, this is someone’s life story, it is not fiction that we can debate about the plot and protagonist. With memoirs, I ask myself if I enjoyed the story; the writing.

Phil Knight bared it all in Shoe Dog, he wrote about his shrewdness, questionable ways of doing things and unique style of leadership. He talked about other competitors like he was just having a conversation with a friend. He wrote about his son, his family and the vagaries of his relationship with different people.

With this book, I was able to learn and make research (mostly sport related facts). I was constantly rubbing shoulders with google while reading this book. These facts/events whether you read more or not about it does not in any way affect your understanding of the book.

Phil Knight’s tenacity is pressed on all sides of the book, it is easy for me to draw life lessons from his book now but I’m also reminded that at that time, his life story was made up of different chapters that did not seem it was going anywhere.

His travel stories caught my attention at the beginning, there was no part of this book I was bored with especially considering there were accounting/business terms in some chapters. I liked the end, his recall and reflection on life. His life was that of intentionality, even when he was not sure of what he was doing and was yoked with debts, he still went all in.


My few days of reading the book made Phil’s story my companion, when I finished it. I felt it. I knew I was going to miss it. Yes, definitely read Shoe Dog. It is a 4/5

Title: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Author: Phil Knight

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Format: Audiobook read by Norbert Leo Butz

Source: Scribd

Shoe Dog By Phil Knight

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