In Nike founder Phil Knight’s memoir Shoe Dog, Knight discusses a man who would be Nike’s mortal enemy – Shoji Kitami, an executive at Japanese company Onitsuka. Onitsuka is supposed to be Knight’s partner, but Kitami selfishly has other plans. He undermines Phil Knight and harasses him over years, eventually leading Knight to found Nike to get out of Kitami’s reach. These are highlights about Onitsuka’s Kitami from Shoe Dog.
Bob Woodell was one of Phil Knight’s early hires at Nike, just a few years after starting the company. A former runner, he was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident. Phil likes that Bob therefore has a chip on his shoulder and is eager to prove himself. Learn more about Bob Woodell and his early history at Nike.
Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, started what would later become Nike in the 1960s when he was in his mid-20s. What was young Phil Knight like? How did he come upon the idea of Nike, and how did he build it into the world’s most recognizable athletic brand? Let’s start at the beginning of Phil Knight’s young life.
One of Phil Knight’s key partners at Nike was Bill Bowerman, a star Olympic track coach and Phil’s former running coach from college. Bowerman was the mad scientist of the group, experimenting with new shoe designs and rubber formulations to produce a better running shoe. In one landmark experiment, he squeezed rubber in his wife’s waffle iron, producing the waffle sole. Learn more about Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman’s partnership here, with an excerpted summary of Phil Knight’s autobiography, Shoe Dog.
Who was Otto von Bismarck? How did he keep his power in a rapidly-changing Europe? What can he teach us about maintaining power? Otto von Bismarck was a Prussian diplomat and politician who controlled German foreign affairs for 30 years in the mid- to late-1800s. We’ll cover what made Otto von Bismarck so powerful and how you can apply those lessons to your relationships and careers.
We know P.T. Barnum as one of the most celebrated and controversial showmen of all time. But he wasn’t a success right away. What can his rise to power teach us about how to be successful in our own careers? We’ll cover the 2 most important lessons from the life of P.T. Barnum and how you can apply them in your own career.
Who was Joseph Duveen? And what can he teach us about power? Joseph Duveen was one of the most successful art dealers of the 1920s and ’30s. Many people believe he found success in part because he knew how to manipulate wealthy Americans. Learn how to use Joseph Duveen’s strategies yourself to become more powerful and successful in your career.
In 1965, Nike founder Phil Knight hires his first full-time employee, a fellow Stanford runner named Jeff Johnson who will sell shoes in Los Angeles. Jeff Johnson has a messianic view on running – believing running done right is akin to enlightenment – and Phil hasn’t met anyone with his passion for running. This is the story of Jeff Johnson and Nike, from Phil Knight’s book Shoe Dog.
Rob Strasser was an attorney on a critical lawsuit between Nike and Onitsuka. He did such an impressive job that Phil Knight hired him to be in-house legal staff. Later, Strasser signs Jordan to Nike and creates the Air Jordan brand. But he gets a bit too ambitious and leaves Nike for their rival Adidas, a move that Nike founder Phil Knight never forgave.
Penny Knight is Nike founder Phil Knight’s first and only wife. They met in 1968, in the early days of Nike’s founding, married the same year, and have been together since. Learn the history of Penny Knight, Phil Knight, and Nike, in this excerpt from our summary of Shoe Dog.