CTech's Book Review: Never Take Your Eyes off Your Shoes

Tami Mazel Shachar, CEO of Software Company IncrediBuild, on Phil Knight's "Shoe Dog"

Tami Mazel Shachar 14:4530.03.20

Tami Mazel Shachar is the CEO of Software Company IncrediBuild Software Ltd. This is her pick for the best entrepreneur book she has read recently.


Title: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Author: Phil Knight

Format: book

Where: on vacation


Left: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. Right: Tami Mazel Shachar. Photo: IncrediBuild Left: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike. Right: Tami Mazel Shachar. Photo: IncrediBuild



One-liner: never take your eyes off your shoes.


Summary: the book follows Phil Knight's incredible story, starting from his graduation from business school with a $50 loan from his dad, to becoming the billionaire that brought Nike to the world. His journey included world travel, conducting businesses with Japan and China in the early days, obtaining funding before venture capital funds existed, and fighting with banks. On its own, every part of his story seems unrealistic, and the whole sequence seems unbelievable, but it has four elements that made it all work: Knight's relentless belief in his dream, his love for running, his willpower to overcome every crisis with creative ideas, and of course, the secret ingredient: luck.


Bottom line: it is a must-read book for any entrepreneur or C-level executive. I could not let go of the book once I had picked it up, finding it difficult to believe how this amazing company got to where it is today. It was not magic. It was a strong man with a dream and people who believed in him.


What I’ve learned:


The most impressive point for me was Knight’s strong character, which got him through multiple breaking points and his ability to survive failure without ever giving up.


To be bold, courageous, and to take risks. Playing it safe was never an option for Knight, and I think it is never an option when you are aiming high. All managers need to gamble once in a while.


To have your end goal always in mind.


To have the right team. Never compromise your team, doing it on your own just doesn't cut it.


Believe in your product and love the idea behind it. Phil loved running and this passion helped him throughout his journey.


Critique: Phil Knight's management style is not something I particularly admired. He ignored his employees most of the time and did not encourage them. He was not there to help them during tough times and had never praised them for a job well done. Why did it work well for him? I guess because he chose the right individuals for his team, who had enough self-motivation and competitiveness. I don't see him as a role model in his management style, but it sure did work for him. It comes back to the point that there is not ‘one type’ of a successful leader.


Who should read this book: every person can enjoy this exciting story. However, it is especially interesting for managers, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople, who could learn about the importance of believing in their dream and of luck, and how there are no right ways to do business.