Reads #1 - Shoe Dog



“So that morning in 1962 I told myself: Let everyone else call your idea crazy . . . just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”
Phil Knight, Shoe Dog


Shoe Dog, a memoir by Nike’s Founder Phil Knight, was published back in 2016 and takes us on a journey of highs and lows from the conception of what was then known as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1962, through to the company going public in 1980.

The book is one which resonated with a number of our TGC team and has been a source of inspiration, to be applied not just in business & design but in life itself. It was for this reason it seemed fitting for Shoe Dog to be the focus of our first instalment in our series, Reads.

As kids growing up in the 90’s, to us Nike always was. A brand firmly rooted in sport, but which transcended the realms of ‘Activewear’ and into those of film, music, culture & lifestyle. One that was free from the confines of the fashion cycles to which the others conformed, and which decided on it’s own versions of ‘cool’. It never occurred to us that, like everything, one of the most iconic and valuable brands in the world was once merely an idea, and the designing of the famous Nike swoosh a side project for a young graphic design student - Carolyn Davidson, for which she was paid just $35.00 (a fair price at the time).

Shoe Dog provides us with raw insight into how Nike went from an order of 12 pairs of imported Japanese sneakers, made by a kid in his mid 20’s, to the brand it is today.

Phil holds many beliefs with which our team align, such as the importance of always surrounding yourself with the right people and never thinking of yourself as unworthy to compete with anyone, in any aspect of life, business or otherwise.

However, perhaps our biggest take away is that through his story, Phil never pretends to have all the answers. He didn’t have access to a magic formula of success which you and I don’t have. He simply had the tenacity to never stop working towards his goal. The rest he figured out along the way.

Anyway, we reckon it’s worth a look.

You can get your hands on it here.


— TGC.