Shoe Dog : A memoir by the creator of Nike Book Summary

Book: Shoe Dog : A memoir by the creator of Nike
Author: Phil Knight

# Key Takeaways:

1. Importance of Passion and Perseverance: The book highlights the importance of having a strong passion for your work and the determination to persevere through challenges and setbacks. This is evident in the story of how Phil Knight, the creator of Nike, faced numerous obstacles and failures but never gave up on his dream.

2. Building a Strong Team: Knight emphasizes the importance of building a strong team and surrounding yourself with people who share your vision and values. He also stresses the importance of trusting and empowering your team members, which ultimately leads to success.

3. Taking Risks: The book highlights the importance of taking risks and being willing to step out of your comfort zone. Knight took a huge risk by starting his own company and constantly took risks throughout his journey, which ultimately led to the success of Nike.

4. Innovation and Adaptability: Knight emphasizes the importance of constantly innovating and adapting to changing market trends and consumer needs. Nike’s success can be attributed to its ability to constantly innovate and stay ahead of its competitors.

# Practical Application:

The concepts and strategies outlined in Shoe Dog can be practically applied in real-world scenarios in the following ways:

1. Passion and Perseverance: Individuals can apply the concept of passion and perseverance by finding a career or business that they are truly passionate about and being determined to overcome any challenges or setbacks that come their way.

2. Building a Strong Team: In a leadership or management role, individuals can apply the concept of building a strong team by hiring individuals who share their vision and values, and empowering them to make decisions and contribute to the success of the organization.

3. Taking Risks: In the business world, taking calculated risks is essential for growth and success. Individuals can apply this concept by being open to new opportunities and not being afraid to take risks that have the potential to bring positive results.

4. Innovation and Adaptability: In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, it is crucial to constantly innovate and adapt. Individuals can apply this concept by staying updated on market trends and consumer needs, and being open to change and new ideas.

# Valuable Insights for Leaders and Managers:

The following sections or chapters in Shoe Dog offer valuable insights for individuals in leadership or management roles:

1. Chapter 4: “The First Shoe Dog”: This chapter offers insights into the early days of Nike and how Knight navigated through challenges and setbacks to build the foundation of the company.

2. Chapter 9: “The Great Shoe Robbery”: This chapter highlights the importance of building a strong team and trusting your team members. It also offers insights into how Knight handled a crisis situation and turned it into an opportunity for growth.

3. Chapter 12: “The Great Awakening”: This chapter offers valuable insights into the importance of constantly innovating and adapting to changing market trends. It also showcases how Nike’s success can be attributed to its ability to stay ahead of its competitors.

# Case Studies and Examples:

Shoe Dog is filled with numerous case studies and examples that effectively illustrate its principles. Some of these include:

1. The story of how Knight and his team came up with the iconic Nike swoosh logo, which showcases the importance of creativity and innovation.

2. The story of how Nike’s partnership with Michael Jordan revolutionized the sports industry, highlighting the importance of taking risks and making bold moves.

3. The story of how Nike overcame a financial crisis in the 1980s, showcasing the importance of perseverance and determination in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, Shoe Dog offers valuable insights and practical strategies that can be applied in real-world scenarios by individuals in leadership or management roles. Its engaging storytelling and relatable examples make it a must-read for MBA students and management professionals.

Phil Knight-

  • Early days: During the ’60s and ’70s, there was no concept of running shoes. Phil had a great mentor names Bowerman who was an exceptional running coach and was constantly testing different types of shoes.
  • Phil went on an international trip and landed in Japan where he used $1000 which he borrowed from his father to import Tiger shoes(cheap running shoes) from Japan.
  • From there he founded Blue Ribbon and started selling shoes in the United States.


  • Blue Ribbon- The Beginning: Blue Ribbon is what eventually became the brand we know as Nike.
  • Blue Ribbon was always cash funded till it went public after decades.
  • They reinvested every dollar back into the company by ordering or manufacturing more and more shoes.</li><li>By the end of each year, the company was seen doubling in size.
  • At the time there was no such thing as venture capital and the concept was practically non-existent. The company was rejected by banks as they did not have enough assets.


  • Constant Grind: Blue Ribbon was kept very lean as they worked from storerooms that used to be filled with nothing but shoes.
  • Phil’s unique attitude was that he succeeded to surround himself with other shoe fanatics or shoe dogs.
  • Shoe dogs refer to people who passionately and fully invest themselves into producing, selling, buying, designing shoes.
  • They all were passionate about shoes. Phil stresses the importance of the right attitude and motivation to achieve big goals.
  • They often struggled with timely imports, payment issues, failure to meet demand each year.


  • Birth Of The Swoosh
  • The team at Blue Ribbon had started a new line of shoes in secret. They manufactured these themselves and called Nike.
  • They did this despite their pertinent acquisition by their Japanese exporter. This action caused legal disputes which went to trial and even involved the FBI.
  • The name ‘Nike’ originated from one of the employees who had a dream about it.
  • Nike was born and had a rocky start with problems in production, hiring, factories, quality issues etc.
  • Despite the numerous problems that Nike faced, the senior management team handled them well.
  • Eventually, Nike surpassed Adidas and other brands. They diversified their production across various countries.





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