It’s easy to overlook the story of a mega company like Nike. At a glance it seems they’ve always been there, at that scale, on everybody’s minds. But it began with a couple of guys wanting to make a better shoe. Who knew Phil Knight would be able to tell such a lucid, illuminating, and warm hearted memoir?
Some things I learned:
- Business is not just about finding raw talent, but also about surrounding yourself with people who believe in your vision with more fervor than yourself. More importantly, the founder must embody and convey that vision.
- Knight is humbled by who he works with and by fate itself. He acknowledges that he’s been the benefactor of many lucky coincidences.
- Truly great things have humble beginnings and are driven by pure grit.
- Outward appearances and idiosyncrasies never mask true talent.
- People need to be believed in and rooted for.
- When working on a team during stressful times, getting things off your chest is important: The Nike leadership’s candid “buttface” meetings—where they’d get drunk, call each other names, talk about mistakes, and own up to responsibility—reminds me that I’ve been part of too many meetings where what really should be said is never said.