Books,  Excerpts

Excerpts from “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight

After completing the book on Elon Musk, started reading this amazing memoir by Phil Knight. The book is very gripping, especially getting to know the emotions in various situations, world tour planning, relationship with Bowerman, Pre, Johnson, Strasser, Hayes, Woodell, the details of law suits, managing the persistent situation of “Pay Nissho first”, etc. etc. I would highly recommend this book for any entrepreneur at any phase, and this book really fits the “entrepreneurial thinking” philosophy.

[Page 21] The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer.

[23] I was a linear thinker, and according to Zen linear thinking is nothing but a delusion, one of the many that keep us unhappy. Reality is nonlinear, Zen says. No future, no past. All is now.

[36] Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.

[52] He [Phil’s Dad] hadn’t sent me to Oregon and Stanford to become a door-to-door shoe salesman, he said. “Jackassing around” that’s what he called it. “Buck” he said, “how long do you think you’re going to keep jackassing around with these shoes?”

[55] So why was selling shoes so different? Because, I realized, it wasn’t selling. I believed in running. I believed that if people got out and ran a few miles every day, the world would be a better place and I believed these shoes were better to run in.”

[86] Inspiration, he learned, can come from quotidian things. Things you might eat. Or find lying around he house.


I am sure this relates to a lot of us (including me) 🙂 She is Penny, Phil’s wife.

[162] Woodell’s mother said, “if you can’t trust the company your son is working for, then who can you trust?”

[164] I wished I had more [confidence]. I wished I could borrow some. But confidence was cash. You had to have some to get some. And people were loath to give it to you.

[186] Shoe dogs were people who devoted themselves wholly to making, selling, buying, or designing of shoes.

Such (below) feelings don’t come frequently!

Pre refers to Steve Prefontaine!

[271] “There are worse things,” he said, “than ambition.”

[275] “No. brilliant idea was ever born in a conference room,” he assured the Dane. “But a lot of silly ideas have died there,” said Stahr.

[278] “Somebody may beat me–but they’re going to have to bleed to do it.”

Steve Prefontaine

[311] Clearly they liked our story: Oregon firm founded by running geeks. Clearly they liked what wearing a pair of Nikes said about them. We were more than a brand; we were a statement.

[313] “Beating the competition is relatively easy. Beating yourself is a never-ending commitment.”


[364] I think of the countless Nike offices around the world. At each one, no matter the country, the phone number ends in 6453, which spells out Nike on the keypad. But, by pure chance, from right to left it also spells out Pre’s best time in the mile, to the tenth of a second: 3:54.6

[366] It wasn’t much of a chance. He was pretty close to a sure thing. But taking a chance on people–he’s right. You could argue that’s what it’s all been about.

[370] I keep thinking of one line in The Bucket List. “You measure yourself by the people who measure themselves by you.”

Associate Professor @ IIIT-Delhi