Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike - Summary and review

Updated: April 7th, 2024
Published: January 12th, 2024


What is Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike about

Three main takeaways ✅

1. Throw yourself out there - don’t wait until your ready

If you are ever filled with doubt - just go for it. Fear of failure is huge and stands in the way of many potential unicorns and great ideas. Often the crazy ideas are the best ones. In the start, Knight describes his own idea with Blue Ribbon / Nike as simply “a crazy idea”.

Knight advocates daring to resist conformity. Parents, friends, and society all push us toward security. Dare to go your own way and put yourself out there. That’s how you learn and grow.

Also, putting yourself out there puts you in the way of luck. Serendipity is real, and taking action can put you in its way. Sitting still will not most likely make luck happen.Luck and hard work go hand in hand, something Knight emphasizes with many anecdotes - admitting Nike would not have happened without all those lucky strikes, but neither without all the blood and sweat.

2. Be innovative

Use innovation to grow. Employ people who have a growth mindset. Then trust and empower your team to be innovative.

A startup is all about innovation - both in ideas, the product, people, and technology.It does not have to be fancy. Start simple, but embrace the compounding effect of making small but steady improvements to your processes and your product, every day. That will compound over time and set you off on a growth journey that snowballs.

For Nike, an innovative mindset was key in outcompeting big companies like Adidas and Puma. Nike embraced the grow-or-die mentality, and innovation played a huge part in that.

3. Embrace failure

It is OK to fail. You should not avoid risks and play it safe, then you will die.Failure can not and should not be avoided. But do not take it personally, instead use it to make you grow and make you stronger - both individually and as a business.

Knight faced a crazy amount of tough times, failures, and challenges - including financial trouble, legal disputes, major logistical troubles, and problems with their manufacturers. They got through it all and embraced the challenge without being discouraged.