Share on whatsapp
Share via Whatsapp
Share on twitter
Tweet it out
Share on facebook
Share on FB
Share on linkedin
Post on LinkedIn

When I read non-fiction books, I keep myself daily minimum targets to get through it in reasonable time – at least 100 pages a day, or in some tough reads, 50 pages a day.

With Phil Knight’s ‘Shoe Dog’,  I had to set for myself daily maximum reading targets – not more than 150 pages a day – so as to not let my other work suffer.

shoe dog

I could not, however, hold myself to the target – I finished the 400-page tome in a day and half flat. In one word, it’s ‘unputdownable’.

Chandra, my partner from FundsIndia, gave me the book 2 or 3 years ago and exhorted me to read it, and I’m ashamed that I just got around to it. Of course, as with the other books I am reading these days, I am wishing this book existed and that I read it, 15 or 20 years ago.

‘Shoe Dog’ chronicles the advent of Nike and the adventures of Phil Knight. It captures the period between 1962, when Phil first embarked on the journey (literally, actually), and 1980, when the company went IPO and Phil and his company, finally, made it.

It took 18 years to become an overnight success.

The tribulations that they went through during these years are, at the same time, totally pedestrian and incredibly arduous. From backstabbing partners to disloyal employees to relentless problems with bank and cash flow to lawsuits to fighting government bureaucracy – there is not a stripe of a problem they seem to have quite missed out on.

Through it all, they – Phil and his coterie of carefully assembled colleagues – persisted somehow – with a sleight of hand here, a slice of good fortune there, and honest to goodness hard work everywhere – to realize their vision and dreams.

It is a tale of dogged perseverance – and Phil alludes to it often in the book – the Oregon spirit. The state of Oregon is famous for the trail that it’s named after it – the Oregon trail. The path followed by migrating settlers who moved west in the early 19th century. The adage that accompanies the legend is that “The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.”

And it’s not a dry business book either. As an autobiographical memoir, Phil opens up with extraordinary candour about his personal life as well. And it will be hard to be dry-eyed at the end of the book. And the quality of writing – the style and the narrative flow – is absolutely top-notch. It has all the flair and cultivated skill of a well-published author. The language is alternately poetic or dramatic as the narrative calls for. Not a dull moment.

I have a bit of a personal connection as well. Nike was my first “employer” – I interned at their sprawling headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon for two hot summer months in 1994. I caught a glimpse of Knight only once – as he walked by with his lunch tray in the cafeteria. By then, he was a god among men, at least in that campus. The road that led up to the main building from the outside world was called Bowerman drive (I used to cycle to the office – I would ride up this drive to the security block where they would hand out canteen coupons for people who biked to work). Back then, I had no idea about that name or the other names that the remaining lanes in the campus were called. 

I wish I did – the streets are all named after the people who were instrumental in the founding of Nike – all who are the protagonists of the story in the book.

My key takeaway from the book is this one thing, that is not said out loud in the pages. Phil Knight did not invent anything – sneakers were there before him, his partner invented waffle soles, people outside the company came up with the Air idea, and heck, even the name Nike was a colleague’s idea. But he had one thing – a passion for running and good shoes. Essentially, he had taste in footwear- he could tell bad shoes from good shoes. And he turned that love into a business and he never, ever let go.

‘Shoe Dog’ in Amazon

(Not an affiliate link)

Share on whatsapp
Share via Whatsapp
Share on twitter
Tweet it out
Share on facebook
Share on FB
Share on linkedin
Post on LinkedIn

Please note that any specific queries on any of our recommendations will be answered ONLY through email. If you are a subscriber, please mail contact@primeinvestor.in.  Only general queries or discussions will be answered through the comment section of the blog. For full details, please refer to this post – How to communicate with PrimeInvestor.

2 thoughts on “Just doing it”

  1. After reading this piece, two thoughts are coming to my mind:
    1. That I should definitely read Show Dog
    2. With writing like this, I’m looking forward to a book by Srikanth Meenakshi

    Regards

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Register for FREE!

Gain instant access to more PrimeInvestor articles, researched products, and portfolios

The essence of PrimeInvestor

Register for FREE!

Gain instant access to more PrimeInvestor articles, researched products, and portfolios

Legal Disclaimer : Redwood Research (with brand name PrimeInvestor) is an independent research entity offering research services on personal finance products to customers. We are a SEBI registered Research Analyst (Registration: INH200007478). The content and reports generated by the entity does not constitute or is not intended to constitute an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to an offer to buy or sell financial products, units or securities. All content and information is provided on an ‘As Is’ basis by PrimeInvestor. Information herein is believed to be reliable but PrimeInvestor does not warrant its completeness or accuracy and expressly disclaims all warranties and conditions of any kind, whether express or implied. The services rendered by PrimeInvestor are on a best effort basis. PrimeInvestor does not assure or guarantee the user any minimum or fixed returns. PrimeInvestor or any of its officers, directors, partners, employees, agents, subsidiaries, affiliates or business associates will not liable for any losses, cost of damage incurred consequent upon relying on investment information, research opinions or advice or any other material/information whatsoever on the web site, reports, mails or notifications issued by PrimeInvestor or any other agency appointed/authorised by PrimeInvestor. Use of the above-said information is at the user’s own risk. The user must make his own investment decisions based on his specific investment objective and financial position and using such independent advisors as he believes necessary. All intellectual property rights emerging from this website, blog, and investment solutions are and shall remain with PrimeInvestor. All material made available is meant for the user’s personal use and such user shall not resell, copy, or redistribute the newsletter or any part of it, or use it for any commercial purpose. PrimeInvestor, or any of its officers, directors, employees, or subsidiaries have not received any compensation/ benefits whether monetary or in kind, from the AMC, company, government, bank or any other product manufacturer or third party, whose products are the subject of its research or investment information. The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results. Investing in financial products involves risk. Mutual Fund Investments are subject to market risk, read all scheme related documents carefully. As a condition to accessing PrimeInvestor’s content and website, you agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use, available here. This service is not directed for access or use by anyone in a country, especially, USA, Canada or the European Union countries, where such use or access is unlawful or which may subject Redwood Research or its affiliates to any registration or licensing requirement.

Aditya Birla Mutual FundAxis Mutual Fund Baroda Mutual FundBNP Paribas Mutual FundBOI AXA Mutual FundsCanara Robeco Mutual FundDSP Mutual Fund Edelweiss Mutual FundEssel Mutual FundFranklin Templeton Mutual FundHDFC Mutual FundHSBC Mutual FundICICI Mutual FundIDBI Mutual FundIDFC Mutual FundIIFL Mutual FundIndiabulls Mutual FundInvesco Mutual FundITI Mutual FundKotak Mahindra Mutual FundL&T Mutual FundLIC Mutual FundMahindra Mutual FundMirae Asset Mutual FundMotilal Oswal Mutual FundNippon India Mutual FundPGIM Mutual FundPPFAS Mutual FundPrincipal Mutual FundQuant Mutual FundQuantum Mutual FundSahara Mutual FundSBI Mutual FundShriram Mutual FundSundaram Mutual FundTata Mutual FundsTaurus Mutual FundsUnion Mutual FundsUTI Mutual FundsYes Mutual Funds

Equity: Large Cap Funds | Mip Cap Funds | Large And Mid Cap Funds | Small Cap Mutual Funds | Contra Mutual Funds | Dividend Yield | Focused Mutual Funds | Find Top Index Funds | Best Sector Funds | Thematic Mutual Fund | Best Value Mutual Funds | Equity Linked Savings Scheme | Tax Saving Funds
Debt: Banking And PSU Funds | Corporate Bond Funds | Credit Risk Funds Mutual Funds | Dynamic Bond Funds | Floating Rate Funds | Gilt Mutual Funds India | Find Top Liquid Funds In India | Long term debt funds | Low Duration Funds Debt Funds | Medium Duration Debt Funds | Medium To Long Duration Funds | Money Market Debt Funds | Overnight Debt Funds | Short Duration Debt Funds | Ultra Short Term Debt Fund
Hybrid: Aggressive Hybrid Funds | Arbitrage Mutual Funds | Balanced Advantage Mutual Funds | Conservative Hybrid Funds | Dynamic Asset Allocation | Equity Saving Funds | Multi Asset Funds | Multi Asset Allocation

Mutual fund rolling returns by category: Balanced Advantage | Conservative Hybrid Fund | Corporate Bond | Dividend Yield | Dynamic Bond | Equity Linked Savings Scheme | Floating Rate | Index Funds | Large and Midcap fund | Large Cap Fund | Liquid funds | Low Duration | Mid Cap Fund | Multi Cap Fund | Short Duration | Small cap Fund | Solution Oriented – Childrens Fund | Ultra Short Duration

Login to your account
OR