Impressions on "Shoe Dog"

A couple of thoughts after finishing this book

Last updated on 17 February 2024. Created on 12 March 2022.

This is actually a good book. It's structured pretty well, and the story flows very nice, having a good pace. It's pretty easy to read and all the running references aren't hard to understand. The storytelling had moments where it captivated me.

So here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Pleasantly surprised to see the "right person on the right seat" concept mentioned and put into action.
  2. As atmosphere goes, it introduced you pretty good in his life, surrounding circumstances and all. But very little on the outside world. A few mentions here and there about the war, about a recession and all that but quite limited. Perhaps it is me who is focused much more on this aspect considering the current events (Russia attacking Ukraine but saying that in fact it's not a war, just a "special military operation" or some fucking bullshit like that). So I would have liked to see more of how the outside events influenced any decisions/growth of Blue Ribbon/Nike.
  3. There were a lot of times while reading when I wondered... why is Phil Knight CEO? He certainly had a lot of moments where he could do better, right? Strong attributes were:
  • Taking decisions! When time came, he took a decision, firm and convinced. No backtracking, no second guessing (at least publicly I feel).
  • His speeches! I think that some of them were key moments where it helped him a lot.
  • His pursuit of not making a simple business or doing stuff for money!

What I didn't admire about him were moments where he himself recognized, that he was very similar to his father (lack of communication, lack of engaging with employees). It seemed he also had a lack of work/life balance in terms of time spent with family and such. And while he did keep his health and his running habits (for the most part), those around him were not inspired at all. And it's a shame.

  1. Finally, many times during the book, I had a recurring thought (oh, how lucky!). Very pleased to have found that he himself acknowledges that at the end of the book. The persons he met along the way, the persons he was introduced to along the way, various events and such... luck/faith whatever you want to call it played a big part and without it, there would be no Nike right now.

This is it. A book about a man who had a dream, a vision and passion and pushed forward, overtaking all obstacles that came his way. And there were many! I still find it difficult to grasp how many years it took for the company to become "profitable". A lot of years they mentioned that they weren't broke, but they didn't have any money even though they were selling products like crazy.

One more thing that stuck with me was this: Buck wondered how could he create something that will impact the world, if he doesn't know or understand the world? For a 24-year-old that question got him really far.

PS. a person that I would like to get to know better is actually Hayami.

If you enjoyed this article and think others should read it, please share it on Twitter or share on Linkedin.