My favorite book of 2016 was Nike co-founder, Phil Kight’s memoir of the history of Nike, “Shoe Dog.” It’s not really about sports or dropping names of famous athletes (yet it does that only when needed), but rather about an unlikely cast of characters who reinvented footwear, and were undaunted in their mission. They fought their competitors, the US Congress, the US Customs Department, and even their own supplier. They were sued, cheated, lied to, and bloodied at every step in their climb to the top. Sure they prevailed, we know that, but it’s how they succeeded that makes for great reading. I came to admire Phil Knight because he never quit. He always found a way.
I call books like this Adventures In Business. As an entrepreneur, of course, I’d be interested in a success story like Nike’s, but corporations aren’t always compelling bedtime reading material. Knight’s story is the exception and begins with a journey that takes him around the globe as a young man and prepares him in ways he never imagined.
As with all books on business, I’m always looking for pearls of wisdom; Shoe Dog is full of them. Not just for business, but for many other aspects of life.