A sanitized retrospective on the days before Nike was Nike.
In 1962, Phil Knight is 24 years old, an MBA living in his parents’ house again, searching for a direction for his life. While on a run, he returns to an idea he had in college: importing Japanese track and field shoes and selling them in America. Knight heads to Japan and a meeting with the Onitsuka shoe company, makers of the Tiger flat—a term Knight never explains. Through luck and moxie, he forms a partnership with Onitsuka and names his company Blue Ribbon Sports. With the help of dedicated employees, over the next 10 years Blue Ribbon sells more and more shoes, held back only by bankers and Onitsuka itself. Knight is personally successful, too, falling in love, getting married and having a child. When Blue Ribbon is renamed Nike, it is a turning point that concludes the memoir. A final chapter covers the next eight years, detailing some of Nike’s successes and setbacks. This memoir is more focused on 1960s accounting practices and interpersonal dynamics than the shoes—and what else would you want to read about when it comes to Nike?
Only for the most dedicated fans of the company. (Memoir. 12-16)