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Phil Knight

Författare till Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

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Philip Knight is an American businesman magnate and philanthropist. He was born in 1938 in Oregon and is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is the co-founder and former chairman and CEO of Nike, Inc. His memoir entitled Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the visa mer Creator of Nike, is a New York Times bestseller. (Bowker Author Biography) visa färre

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Phil Knight’s often funny 2016 memoir “Shoe Dog” a tale about the rise of Nike from a classroom paper Knight wrote as a Stanford graduate student to the world’s largest shoe manufacturer, isn’t exactly a rags-to-riches story.

Knight came from a well-to-do Oregon family. His father was a successful lawyer and newspaper publisher.

But like many entrepreneurs, myself included, Knight found himself constantly in debt throughout the many years he grew the company with co-founder and track genius Bill Bowerman.

Knight knew early on that he wanted to sell shoes and he was a passionate runner. Bowerman was a tinkerer extraordinaire and along with early Nike employee Jeff Johnson came up with many of the innovations that distinguished Nike’s Japanese imports. But it’s pretty clear in this book that Knight had no inkling of the revolution that was headed his way as a footwear manufacturer until many years of struggling in a niche market.

Knight almost always owed far more money than he ever had before the company went public in 1980. And that story begins in 1963. Despite being a trained accountant and a highly literate fellow, Knight apparently couldn’t read his own financial statements, or if he could, ignored them.

He had been shipping millions of dollars of imported goods into the USA ignoring US import restrictions until his competitors almost sunk his company with an enormous tax bill, even though he supposedly had “real great” lawyers on hand.

He placed larger and larger orders with Asian factories whose working conditions were Dickensian (and he certainly had read Dickens and knew what was going on in those factories).

What he also saw was the Asian miracle powered by US demand: millions upon millions of people lifted out of poverty in the aftermath of WWII and later after ping-pong players and Richard Nixon broke the ice with Mao Tse Tung.

Something else Knight points out that most people don’t appreciate: that without Wall Street, the creation of these manufacturing behemoths is virtually impossible. Yes, venture capitalists produce seed capital for tech start-ups. But the really big financing comes from the capital markets, from going public, and from institutional investors. That’s why Wall Street is so important. Bank financing would only take Knight as far as his personal security would stretch; and that was really nowheresville. amazon, Apple, Nike, Exxon. These companies sop up the endless flow of investor capital and convert themselves into massive valuations. That’s why investors love them.

Another cultural phenomenon that catapulted Knight’s company: celebrity athletes. Before Nike, before John MacEnroe, who ever heard of pro athletes. Michael Jordan. Tiger Woods. Bo Jackson. They all became so much bigger than Cary Grant or George Burns or Rita Haworth. Nike played a big part in this cultural shift.

Almost a century after the USA ended slavery, its entrepreneurs moved the enforced labour model to Communist China, with willing overseers and a completely enslaved nation. Commerce grew. Huge amounts of US capital moved into the coffers of mainland China. And the pollution of Asia grew, a by-product.

Today Nike wealth is showered on the campuses of the University of Oregon and Stanford, Knight’s alma maters. Innovations in worker safety have been taken to factories around the globe.

And the world is a much changed place.
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MylesKesten | 42 andra recensioner | Jan 23, 2024 |
A very good account of Nike from its horse's mouth. So many things achieved by Phil Knight and his team has been narrated in a matter of fact manner. What a ride these guys have had while building such an iconic brand. Very good read.
Santhosh_Guru | 42 andra recensioner | Oct 19, 2023 |
"I thought of that phrase, “It’s just business.” It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad."
This was a very engrossing memoir, made all the more say by the very likeable personality that is Philip Knight.
He takes you on the rollercoaster ride of Nike and himself, his ambitions, his fights with the government, with his former creditors, with Adidas and Puma, and much, much more.
You can absolutely taste the depths of Phil's despair and the heights of his joy, leaping at you from the pages, which is a marvellous quality for a writer to have, but even more so when you're writing your own autobiography.
TL;DR - must read if you're into memoirs. One of the best such pieces ever written, as is apt for such an unconventional life.
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SidKhanooja | 42 andra recensioner | Sep 1, 2023 |
The story of a fortunate one, but still quite an adventure, told from the inside. It's fascinating to see the beginnings of a very successful company like this, being in the right place at the right time, with the right idea, and the wherewithal to pull it off. I had a few factual quibbles (i.e., the oil embargo and gas lines were 1973, not 1972) but they don't interfere with the story. I am familiar with most of the places he talks about, albeit at a later time, but that made it more alive for me. His success and generosity has transformed the University of Oregon, my alma mater, and for that alone I am grateful.… (mer)
Cantsaywhy | 42 andra recensioner | Aug 20, 2023 |



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