A Slam-Dunk Look at Success Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog”
“We wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don’t end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour.” –Phil Knight When an entrepreneur or company becomes massively successful, it’s easy to construct a narrative that makes that success seem like destiny. They look back on the past with rose-colored glasses, interpreting every decision as a stepping stone on their way to eventual victory. Of course, real success stories are never this linear. Honest accounts of what it takes to dominate an industry are hard to come by, which makes Nike CEO Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog” a refreshing change of pace from the standard business memoir. If there’s one word that best describes “Shoe Dog,” it’s “candid.” Knight gives equal space to his successes, failings, and insecurities. He also isn’t afraid to admit when luck was the deciding factor. Take the story of famous
Nike swoosh, for example. These days, it’s universally regarded as one of the greatest logos ever conceived. Knight could easily claim that he saw its brilliance from the get-go, but that’s not what happened. When an art student came up with the design — for the meager price of $35 — Knight’s response was, “It’ll have to do.” That’s not to say that Knight isn’t a visionary in many ways. In the early days of Nike, Knight hustled to an extreme degree. Even when he was selling track shoes out of his trunk, his belief never wavered. Signing Michael Jordan in 1984 revolutionized not just the athletic shoe industry, but celebrity sponsorship in general. He surrounded
himself with smart, capable people, expanded sensibly, and never lost sight of his vision. If you want a book that gives you simple, cliché takeaways about how to become massively successful, “Shoe Dog” is not the book for you. If, instead, you crave what Bill Gates calls an “honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like,” then you should check it out. With a personal perspective, suspense, and more than a few wild anecdotes, “Shoe Dog” soars in a way few business books manage to. But, then again, that’s what Knight’s shoes have always promised to help athletes do.
AND BARLEY SOUP SAUSAGE It’s a great time of year to warm up with a cup of soup, and this comforting, guilt-free dish comes together in a flash.
Recipe courtesy of CookingLight.com.
• 2 cups water • 1 (141/2-ounce) can
• 1/4 cup uncooked quick- cooking barley • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach
• Cooking spray • 6 ounces turkey breakfast sausage • 21/2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry 1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; DIRECTIONS
Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
mixture to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.
2. While sausage cooks, place stir-fry and 2 cups water in a blender; process until smooth. 3. Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring
cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat.
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