Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog 

Shoe Dog is a memoir from the creator of Nike, Phil Knight. Which also happens to be my latest read! 

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Have you read Shoe Dog from Phil Knight? Come on in and let me tell you about it! 

Shoe Dog
Shoe Dog

About Shoe Dog 

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his lime green Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed $8,000 his first year. 

Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of startups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all startups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognizable symbols in the world today.

But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always remained a mystery. Now, for the first time, in a memoir that is candid, humble, gutsy, and wry, he tells his story, beginning with his crossroads moment. At 24, after backpacking around the world, he decided to take the unconventional path, to start his own business—a business that would be dynamic, different.

Knight details the many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream—along with his early triumphs. Above all, he recalls the formative relationships with his first partners and employees, a ragtag group of misfits and seekers who became a tight-knit band of brothers. Together, harnessing the transcendent power of a shared mission, and a deep belief in the spirit of sport, they built a brand that changed everything.

Thoughts on Shoe Dog 

“I was following a path that felt like my path, and though I wasn’t sure where it would lead, I was ready to find out.”

Phil Knight, Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog is the story of Phil Knight and how he got started building a company that is known around the world as being the leader in shoes and athletic apparel. Phil Knight has created not only an empire with the brand being known simply by the logo and as being the best, but a legacy that will continue long after he is gone. 

For anyone looking to build not just a company, but a brand, Phil Knight is the person to look up to. He started a company from absolutely nothing and built it into one of the most well-known brands in the world. 

As an entrepreneur and someone trying to build my business, I definitely look up to Phil Knight. He is an inspiration. But not only an inspiration. A role model, really. I find this especially true with blogging and online businesses. 

As I read Shoe Dog, I could relate so much to Phil Knight’s story. One of my favorite aspects of this book is how real it is. There are struggles, setbacks, failures, fear, rejections, and so many other “normal” things for anyone trying to build a business or follow a dream will experience. 

One of my favorite phrases is “it is hard work building an empire.” Which is absolutely true. I often wish more business owners would be transparent like this. It is more inspiring when you can see the hard work and the bumpy path to success. It normalizes the burning roller coaster that we all jump on as we build any kind of business. 

Shoe Dog
Shoe Dog

Final Thoughts on Shoe Dog 

Shoe Dog evoked multiple emotions from me, and I appreciate that. I laughed, cried, related, learned, and understood. Shoe Dog is a book I strongly recommend for anyone building a business and especially if you are struggling to build that business. It is a success story, for sure. But it is a real and true success story, without filters. 

Every time I tell Nathan about a dream aspect of my business, he looks at me like I’ve suddenly grown an extra eyeball or something similar and tells me I certainly don’t lack ambition. There is a certain skepticism that comes with that sentence, let me tell you! 

My response is always, “so I’ve told you Phil Knight is my hero, right? I will build an empire as well.” This is why this book stood out to me, my dreams and my goals of building an amazing business. I am inspired to put in the work building my own business, legacy, and empire. Because Phil Knight is proof that you can build something from nothing, and impact many lives for the better in that process. 

“I wanted to build something that was my own, something I could point to and say: I made that. It was the only way I saw to make my life meaningful.”

Phil Knight, Shoe Dog


Have you read Shoe Dog from Phil Knight? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

If you’ve enjoyed my review of Shoe Dog, have a look at my other favorite books and see if you find your next favorite! 

About the Author 

Shoe Dog
Nike founder and author of Shoe Dog, Phil Knight

Philip Hampson Knight, whose nickname is “Buck”, is an American businessman and philanthropist. He is the co-founder and current chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., and previously served as chairman and CEO of the company.

Shoe Dog
Phil Knight, author of Shoe Dog

Purchasing Shoe Dog 

If you are interested in buying the paperback version of Shoe Dog, click here.

The hardcover version can be found here.

Click here for the Kindle version.

Click here for my favorite Kindle I currently own.

Amazon Notice 

The Reading Wife is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, at no added cost to you. 

Shoe Dog
Shoe Dog


  • Scott DeNicola

    I am more than inspired when I read books like this one and hear the stories behind these major companies. People like Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Jeff Bezos and Phil Knight are inspiring to say the least. I don’t know too much about Phil but would love to read Shoe Dog and learn more. Working in the pharmaceutical industry for so many years I’ve gotten to see first hand what goes into branding and building a brand. I’m fascinated by the companies who do it so well and stay on brand regardless.

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    I don’t know much about Phil Knight, but it sounds like an interesting book to read. When you read about people who have come from nothing and made it big by working hard and following their dreams, it’s so inspiring.

  • Stephanie S

    This books sounds very interesting. I have never heard of Phil Knight, but I’m so happy to come across this and learn more about him. He sure does sound like an inspiration. I definitely will check this out. I had started an online business, and truth is I gave up so easily. My motivation was down. I really need to start it back up. Thank you for sharing this review on his book.

  • Melissa

    I’ll have to check it out! I’m not a big reader, but have been doing a lot of motivational audiobooks lately. It’s also good to know that he’s fairly philanthropic; normally when I think of Nike I think of child labor (sorry).
    Thanks for the rec!

  • LuLu B

    I love learning about how important and successful business owners like Phil Knight found success. It’s often so inspiring. Having a vision is everything, then we need to go out there and…. as the Nike slogan says, “Just do it”.

  • Ben

    This sounds like a great read. As a self-employed person, I always love reading about how someone built a business and then took it waaay past the next level.

  • Nkem

    I read this a long time ago while in college. I went to school for and worked in fashion merchandising, so his story was required for people in my program since he was one of the big dogs in merchandising. I remember it being inspiring to me.

  • Kat

    Oh, this sounds like a super interesting and inspiring book, thanks for posting about it. I have a quote on my lock screen that says: “Timing, perseverance and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” This is a very important reminder for me, as it’s easy to get discouraged when success is not instant.

  • Subhashish Roy

    Very inspiring story of Phil Knight and how he built this super successful brand, Nike. You are so right when you say that behind every success there is a story of failures,struggle and much more. Success is like an iceberg, we see only the top.Nice read.

  • Britt K

    I love reading about the struggles, challenges, trials and tribulations of those who are successful – it helps to remind us that they are just human like the rest of us. Suddenly, that person you put on a pedestal is relatable and showing you that anyone can do it. I have read many biographies and memoirs, but I haven’t had the chance to work through this one yet. That being said, it sounds like it’s definitely worth adding to my ‘must-read’ list!

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