Everyone recognizes the Nike Swoosh, but in his memoir, “Shoe Dog,” Nike co-founder Phil Knight details the turbulent process of developing a multibillion dollar company.
Fresh out of business school at 24, Knight had what he dubs a “crazy idea”: to import Japanese running shoes into the U.S. In the early 1960s, Knight set off on a world trip that included a stop in Kobe, where he found Tiger-brand running shoes manufactured by Onitsuka Co. (now part of Asics) and brokered a distribution deal. When the first shoes finally arrived a year later, Knight immediately shipped a pair to his former track and field coach at the University of Oregon, the famed Bill Bowerman. Impressed with the shoes, Bowerman offered to partner with Knight and the two founded Blue Ribbon Sports (Nike’s forerunner) in 1964.