Shoe Dog Book Review

Shoe Dog Book Review

Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator of Nike by Phil Knight tells how Nike got started and goes through all its ups and downs. The book is mostly about how his shoe business developed. However, we also learn about the author’s life along the way. I was interested in this book because I am a runner and often wear Nike shoes. When I saw the book, I thought it would be interesting to see how Nike began.

Shoe Dog synopsis

Phil Knight begins Shoe Dog with how the idea of starting a shoe business originated. Although Phil loved to run and wanted to be a professional athlete, he was not good enough. The second best thing would be to help runners. He thought seriously about pursuing this thought of selling shoes while he was on one of his morning runs.

Phil had just come back home after attending college for seven years. While running, it just hit him to consider his crazy idea again that he wrote about in a college assignment.

He often refers to his “Crazy Idea.” He came up with it when he was doing a research paper for an entrepreneur class in college—the report was about running shoes.

“I’d written a research paper about shoes, and the paper had evolved from a run-of-the-mill assignment to an all-out obsession. Being a runner, I knew something about running shoes. Being a business buff, I knew that Japanese cameras had made deep cuts into the camera market, which had once been dominated by Germans. Thus, I argued in my paper that Japanese running shoes might do the same thing. The idea interested me, then inspired me, then captivated me. It seemed so obvious, so simple, so potentially huge.” (p. 9)

crazy idea

In Shoe Dog, Phil describes his adventurous tour around the world. He began his adventure to pursue his crazy idea by taking a world tour. One of the places he would visit is Japan, where he met with Mr. Miyazaki at Onitsuka Co. to discuss if their company would allow Phil to sell their Tiger Shoes in the United States. To his amazement, they said yes. Phil had to come up with a company name spontaneously. He chose Blue Ribbon Sports because he thought of all his blue ribbons hanging on his wall in his room from races that he had won. That is how it all got started.

Phil waited months, after he finished his world tour, to receive the shoes from Onitsuka. Finally, they arrived, and Phil asked his former track coach if he wanted to join him in his company as a partner. His coach, Bowerman, agreed. Phil asked a few other people if they would be interested in selling the shoes. They sold a lot of shoes. Furthermore, they made recommendations to Onitsuka to improve the shoe.

Shoe Dog continues with how the business teetered on failing. They sold many shoes, but the financial books were always in the red because all the money they made had to be used for payroll and to purchase new shoes.

While building his company, Phil worked as an accountant to pay his expenses. Later on, he became a Professor at a local college, where he met his wife. Phil did not start paying himself a salary until seven years after the business started.

Nike brand

Eventually, Nike was born. Phil and some of his employees came up with a new name and a logo for the new company. They needed a new company name to go along with a contract they signed with a different factory to design the Nike shoe.

A local artist designed the new logo. Phil and his team all decided on which logo to choose.

“Gradually we inched toward a consensus. We liked . . . this one . . . slightly more than the others.
It looks like a wing, one of us said.
It looks like a whoosh of air, another said.
It looks like something a runner might leave in his or her wake.
We all agreed it looked new, fresh, and yet somehow – ancient. Timeless.” (p. 181)

Someone else came up with the name Nike in a dream.

“He says he sat bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night and saw the name before him.” (p. 183)

It took many years to get to this point. As you know, the business became a big success. It took a lot of work, but Phil never quit. He kept following his dream.

my analysis of shoe dog

I enjoyed the Shoe Dog. Phil Knight wrote about all the struggles he had to keep the business afloat. It took a lot of work. I liked the little insights he gave about his family. He didn’t talk about them much, but it was enough to know what Phil did when he was not working long hours on his business. It also showed his personality.

I have a lot of respect for Phil. Every time I see the Nike logo, I am reminded of this book. It puts a smile on my face.

How To Accomplish Your Goal Faster

How To Accomplish Your Goal Faster

How to Accomplish Your Goal Faster

Accomplish your goal faster by focusing on one task at a time.  Finish that task before going on to the next one.  The One Thing explains why this method works and details on how to do it.  This blog is a book review of the book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

Since the book isn’t very long, I read The One Thing in one day.  However, it is full of great information on how to focus on the one thing that will give you the biggest results.The chapters are short, between 3-10 pages long.

Focus on One Goal

The author experimented with coaching people to make some goals for the week.  At the end of the week, he and the client discussed the progress on the specified goals.  Usually, none of the goals were accomplished.  So he kept decreasing the number of goals.  Nothing significant happened until he gave his clients only one goal to reach for that week.  When people focus on one goal, extraordinary results happen.

“Achievers always work from a clear sense of priority.” (p. 35)

The focus needs to be placed on the most significant goal.  List all of your goals, and then choose the one that would make the biggest impact in achieving the rest of the goals.  Usually, it comes down to one goal that either eliminates the others or diminishes their importance.  Decide which one is the most important to do, and then do that well until it is accomplished.

“Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much and in the end accomplish too little. “ (p. 10)

Chip away at your goal by focusing on one task at a time.  If it is a big goal, divide it into smaller goals.

Multitasking slows down the progress of the project.  So much time is wasted trying to juggle more than one task at a time.

People do not have to put more hours into their work, but they do need to be more productive.  Block out time in your day to focus on that one most important thing that needs to be done, with no distractions.  Consequently, you will work fewer hours while getting more done.

My Review

My favorite part of the book is the chapter on productivity.  I plan my week ahead of time and block out specific times in my calendar to be productive and focused.  During that time, I work on just one project until it is done.  This resulted in a feeling of accomplishment.  I used to be stressed at the end of the day because I tried to work on too many projects and didn’t get anything finished.

I would read this book again to get more tidbits from it now that I have taken action on some of the recommendations.


Project Management System for Business

Project Management System for Business

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time is a business book which describes a project management system for business.  I found this book to be very easy to read.  Furthermore, there is a lot of information in this book that you can start using right away to be more productive and organized in your business, whether you have a whole team or you are an entrepreneur.  This book is written for a team.  Although I used a lot of the techniques described in the book and it has helped me.  I am a team of one.  Scrum is perfect for a company with many teams that work on a project together.

Synopsis of Scrum

A project management system provides businesses with an organizational tool for planning out projects.  Jeff Sutherland describes his system, Scrum, in the book.  It is a  proven project management system that helps teams be more productive in less time.  Scrum gives many examples of real companies who have used this system.  The book begins with the FBI computer system which failed.  It is especially relevant because the FBI computer team tried so many other systems before being introduced to Scrum.  The team was then able to produce a completed and successful computer system. Many examples are provided throughout the book to demonstrate how and why this system works.  Scrum is used in a variety of ways such as  teaching students, building a house, and planning a wedding, along with technology businesses.

“There are two ways of doing things:  the old “Waterfall” method that wastes hundreds of millions of dollars and often doesn’t deliver anything, or the new way, which, with fewer people and in less time, can deliver more stuff with higher quality at lower cost.”  (p. 7)

Implementing this Project Management System

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time emphasizes doing Sprints, which are doing a limited amount of work in a small time period.  The project is divided up into chunks, or sprints.  Following the completion of each sprint, the team evaluates the project to see if it is going in the right direction. The project is readjusted if it is not going in the right direction.  Maybe the clients changed their mind and want to add or subtract features.  It is best to change it in the beginning rather than wait until the project is all finished and the client is not satisfied.

Rather than focusing on individual performance, Scrum emphasizes teamwork.  As a result, this project management system helps people do their best work in the least amount of time.  If an individual is stumped in their project tasks, the team discusses it and comes up with a solution.  The problem doesn’t linger very long.  Consequently, the other team members aren’t waiting around for this task to be completed before they can begin their part in the project.  The team knows what every other member is doing.

“What are the things that actually make people happy?  They’re the same things that make great teams:  autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  Or to say it more expansively, it’s the ability to control your own destiny, it’s the feeling that you’re getting better at something, and it’s knowing that you’re serving something bigger than yourself. “  (p. 153)

Scrum provides an environment where all of these elements that make people happy are accomplished.

Scrum Takeaways

After reading this book, I implemented many of the recommended rules in this project management system to become more organized in my business.  I took the following takeaways from the book.

  • Create list of all my ideas that I need to do
  • Complete a task before starting another.
  • All tasks end in a deliverable product
  • Set each task up to be completed in no more than four hours.  If it will take longer than four hours, I will split the task into smaller ones.


This is an excellent book for businesses.  Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time provides teams with a proven system to become more organized so they can become more productive.  The book was written to complete projects with teams.  Although I don’t have a team right now, I still found this book to be very helpful.  As a result, I am a lot more organized now that I have implemented some of the concepts and integrated the system into my business.  Since there is a lot of good information and actionable steps outlined in the book, I will read the book again.

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