Entrepreneurs should read Phil Knight’s Memoir

“I wanted to leave a mark on the world.”

– Phil Knight.


I’m sure you did Mr. Knight, there’s a giant tick, a swoosh… everywhere.

I’ve always wanted to know how Nike came about – the story, the man who made it what it was today. It’s hard to find stuff about Nike and Knight, but I’m glad he wrote this book. Knight has always been trying to fly under the radar, and it shows in his last chapter when he bumps into Gates and Buffet. Everyone recognizes them, but not many will recognize Knight. A man worth $10 billion and climbing. A man sport idols recognize and look up to, Jordan, Kobe, Lebron and Tiger to name a few.

“Like it or not, life is a game. Whoever denies that truth, whoever simply refuses to play, gets left on the sideline, and I didn’t want that.”

– Phil Knight

Knight details his journey about his ‘Crazy Idea’ – Nike. It’s a pretty brutal (but fun) journey, and as he said – he would be happy to do it again. The journey involves many things, such as banks basically kicking him out, the Japanese suppliers denying him exclusivity in distributing the shoes, the government demanding a huge lump sum of $25 million which would bankrupt the company and even a personal flare of heartache and friendships. It’s a great reflection on how hard it can be to make a successful company.

So how did a man from humble Oregon make a multi-billion dollar company? A company who’s brand, its name alone – worth billions? Some think he is lucky, and you know what? Knight agrees.

“Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may determine the outcome.”

– Phil Knight

But I have always believed luck comes to those who do work hard. Knight worked really hard. Seriously. I probably would of broken down at some points in Knight’s story. Lawsuits from companies, FBI threats from the banks, people’s lack of belief in his dream goal – it’s endless, but all in detail in the book. It’s a journey worth a read, especially those wanting to make their own mark in the world.

Lessons Learned:

  • No journey is easy. Especially if your goals are huge – as they should be. Bigger goals, a longer journey, but what a journey that will be.
  • If you believe in something – pursue it.
  • Nike was a team effort, Johnson, Bowerman, just to name a few were crucial to Nike’s success.
  • Set ridiculous targets – isn’t it funny how people will hit those targets (When Knight told Johnson to sell 3250 shoes – which was almost impossible – I add almost after because it was deemed Impossible by Knight before Johnson made it happen!).
  • There is nothing wrong with ambition (Words from Ito, the Japanese company bankrolling Nike at the time to Knight).
Phil Knight's Memoir

Phil Knight’s Memoir

Give this book a read.