“SHOE DOG, a memoir”, by, Phil Knight (creator of NIKE), Simon and Schuster, New York, 2016, pp. 383.
For those of you who are regular readers of this blog and my particular posts you may have read my review(s) of the trilogy of books about NIKE. I have reviewed each book individually and mentioned them in the Christmas wish list posted in the December 2015 blog. To this list I will now add the aforementioned “Shoe Dog” a memoir written by THE Phil Knight, the creator of NIKE (along with Bill Bowerman). The other 3 books are:
1- “Out of Nowhere” , by Geoff Hollister
2- “Swoosh”, by JB Strasser and Laurie Becklund
3- “Bowerman and The Men of Oregon”, by Kenny Moore.
The first two books were written by former employees, employees who had some kind of falling out with Mr. Knight. The third book, written by Kenny Moore, was written with a bit of the voice of Bill Bowerman but also included insight from many of the U of O athletes and Nike employees for a rounded storyline. I felt “Out of Nowhere” written by Geoff Hollister, one of the original inner circle employees, gave a bit more of the inside story without pulling all of the punches. “Swoosh” was written by an inner circle employee(Strasser) who ended up being fired (or did he quit?) at great odds with Phil Knight (in fact in SHOE DOG, Phil mentions he wishes that he and Strasser could have reconciled but forgiveness wasn’t in eithers makeup. Since “Swoosh” was written by a disgruntled employee, it is the most expose’ like in its approach. “Shoe Dog” is definitely written in ‘vanilla’ like manner.
I am not sure which book about NIKE is closest to the truth but I feel ‘Shoe Dog’ is written in a veiled manner to give Phil Knight and NIKE the best appearance. Although some of the story seemed purposely incomplete, Knight’s writing style is quite good and makes for a smooth and easy read. Of course, as is my style, I would advise reading all four books now but if you can only stomach one book about NIKE I would read ‘Out of Nowhere” by Geoff Hollister. If you want to read all of the ‘dirt’, then read only, ‘Swoosh’. If you want to read a sanitized version of the author and owner of NIKE, then read ‘Shoe Dog’.
In grading this book I will split up the grades for readability and storyline:
Lastly, I feel any and all of the books are a worthwhile read. Take a chance(s?) and learn the true story of NIKE, Inc.