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Gopher-preneur book of the month, Feb. '05


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Old 02-04-2005, 11:06 AM
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Swoosh : The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There by J. B. Strasser



Phil Knight enjoyed running track in college back in 1959. It was in running track that he met his coach Bill Bowerman, whom he would later partner with to create his sneaker and sporting equipment empire.
After graduating from college Phil took a trip to Japan to explore the world and prolong the inevitable of having to get an adult job and start his career. While in Japan, Phil visited the Tiger running shoe company and asked if they would be interested in having him distribute their shoes in the United States. This was the birth of Blue Ribbon Sports, the company Phil created which would one day evolve into Nike.
This book follows the story of Knight, Bowerman and a handful of others who created the most successful sporting apparel company in U.S. history. These guys worked hard and they partied hard. They described themselves as 'hard-core unemployables.' They had to make this company work because no one else would hire them with their behavior and make this company work they did.
Have you ever heard the stories about the guys at Nike creating shoe soles with waffle irons in their kitchen? Well they did. They experimented in many ways. Did you know they started selling sneakers out of the trunks of their cars at track meets?
At a point in this book, one of the founding employees turns to Phil and says, one day this company is going to make a million dollars in a year. Phil looked back at him and said, do you have any idea how many sneakers you would have to sell to break a million dollars? That was in the late 60's, early 70's. To put this into perspective, in 2003 Nike's annual revenue topped the $10 billion mark. Can you imagine how many sneakers you have to sell to earn $10 billion dollars? ALOT!

This company didn't grow because of luck, it grew because of hard work. Read this book, we did, and get inspired to build your company bigger than you could ever dream. Remember you can do it. Dream it, build it, Gopher it!

Are you looking for more business book reading? Here is a list of our previous choices. Do you have a favorite book? Please share it with us.
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