Nike co-founder Phil Knight, known for rarely speaking to the public, is ready to pull back the curtain on how he built one of the largest athletic companies in the world.
The 78-year-old industry icon, who recently announced he would donate most of his $25 billion net worth, today releases his candid tell-all, “Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.” Hardcover copies, published by Scribner, are available for $29.
The book recounts Knight’s journey from being a runner at the University of Oregon (though not one of the best) to his desire to find a career that would allow him to “play all the time, instead of working. Or else to enjoy work so much that it becomes essentially the same thing.”
Soon after, according to the book, Knight borrows $50 from his father to start a business with his former track coach, Bill Bowerman. The company would be named Blue Ribbon, based on the ribbons hanging on the walls of his childhood bedroom.
Over the course of the book’s 400 pages, Knight writes about its modest beginnings (much of it already well known in the public space), how he had sold shoes from the trunk of his car and the company’s growth through the 1960s and 1970, as well as some of the “setbacks and scares, the legions of haters and betrayers and hostile bankers.”
In addition, Knight details how he once wanted to change the name of the company to Dimension Six, but was quickly overruled by his employees. He also talks about how the company paid a struggling graphic artist $35 for one of the world’s most famous brand logos: the Swoosh.