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Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There

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The unauthorized national-bestselling sensation revealing the absorbing story of the rise, fall, and recovery of Nike, by a former employee and a Los Angeles Times reporter.


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The unauthorized national-bestselling sensation revealing the absorbing story of the rise, fall, and recovery of Nike, by a former employee and a Los Angeles Times reporter.

30 review for Swoosh: The Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There

  1. 4 out of 5

    John Winter

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After finishing this book I don't really know what to think or say about it. On one hand, it's a fantastic, gripping book that gives a great behind the scenes insight into the cultural phenomena that is Nike. A real roller coaster. On the other hand, by its end the book comes off as possibly being a slur/airing of grievances against Knight himself by one of Nike's key men, book author JB Strasser. Strasser helped grow the company before ultimately falling away from its culture. The runaway train-e After finishing this book I don't really know what to think or say about it. On one hand, it's a fantastic, gripping book that gives a great behind the scenes insight into the cultural phenomena that is Nike. A real roller coaster. On the other hand, by its end the book comes off as possibly being a slur/airing of grievances against Knight himself by one of Nike's key men, book author JB Strasser. Strasser helped grow the company before ultimately falling away from its culture. The runaway train-esque development of that culture, from start-up to $3bln corporation, was portrayed by the book as being like the rapid growth of a monster. The all consuming monster dominated the lives of key men, chewing them up and spitting them out. The portrayal of this by Strasser seems to me to revolve around portraying Knight's leadership (or lack thereof) as increasingly distant and disinterested. Throughout the book, Nike's leader is chastised for a general lack of direct leadership or personal interest in those who stake much of their being in the company. The book almost seems to portray Nike's development as a downward spiral. This portrayal, to me at least, seems to come from Strasser's perspective of his own transition from living and breathing Nike as a part of the mom-and-pop, run-and-gun upstart that it was, to then feeling alienated by the culture generated between the mega-company it became and the new generation of Nike staffers who gravitated towards it. Central to this, and an intriguing factor in gaining insight into Knight's 'genius', is his portrayed obsession with Japanese culture and management style. Although the book was gripping, it was also fleeting in the way that it really provided little insight into this and the perspective of Knight himself. But of course, this is not Knight's book, as it's Strasser's. So if I had the time then I would be sure to read Knight's story next in order to establish some kind of a balance between the two sides. But perhaps make your own mind up about all of that by giving the book a read. It's definitely worth it. Be warned, it is a beast at 650+ pages but I didn't personally help myself that by taking notes for a class. Please feel free to comment if you've also read the book and have any thoughts about what I've said.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    The overall book did a fantastic job of explaining the birth of Nike, it's early struggles and success leading up to the behemoth that it became. Overall, it was a fantastic read and wonderfully the build up of everything, but sometimes jumped around a little too much with the Nike timeline and introduced too many people to realistically keep track of without some sort of characters sheet. Other than some small confusions, however, it was a wonderfully written novel and really does tell the whol The overall book did a fantastic job of explaining the birth of Nike, it's early struggles and success leading up to the behemoth that it became. Overall, it was a fantastic read and wonderfully the build up of everything, but sometimes jumped around a little too much with the Nike timeline and introduced too many people to realistically keep track of without some sort of characters sheet. Other than some small confusions, however, it was a wonderfully written novel and really does tell the whole story. Anyone wanting to gain a glimpse into a major company should definitely read this, especially if you are looking to create a start up in the future or are planning to move forward with your company. It clearly demonstrates a vast majority of the problems you will run into at a small start up or even mid-sized company.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vinothraj

    Great first half with interesting titbits of stories from its founding to initial years. Later it becomes more of internal company functioning/changes. Now, time to read Shoe Dog by Knight.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nasser

    This book is about the history of NIKE. Nike is a sports company that makes sports shoes, shorts,shirts etc. Nike is one of the most important companies is the world because its so well known. But Nike over the years has had some problems with child labor and how people start to hear that if they are doing child labor then people don't want to buy their merchandise. The reason why i choose this book is because i have been wearing Nike basketball sneakers for the longest time and most of the time This book is about the history of NIKE. Nike is a sports company that makes sports shoes, shorts,shirts etc. Nike is one of the most important companies is the world because its so well known. But Nike over the years has had some problems with child labor and how people start to hear that if they are doing child labor then people don't want to buy their merchandise. The reason why i choose this book is because i have been wearing Nike basketball sneakers for the longest time and most of the time i buy things from Nike so i can really relate to it. But overall i really loved this book and if you are a fan on Nike i recommend you should read it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Zhong Sheng

    Good background knowledge, better read together with Knight’s shoedog and NIke’s annual report from 1981 to 1988.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kara

    A true peek into the world of sport, footwear & how sportswear works.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Milo

    Having worked quite a few years in the athletic footwear industry, I was aware of a lot of Nikes history. However, it was interesting to me to read about some of the behind-the-scenes activities.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    This book really drew me in. I can remember "selling" my folks on Nike's back in 2nd or 3rd grade. It was amazing to read how the company started and become a powerhouse. This is a quick read but also made some strong points. 1) Starting a company is not the same as running a mature company. After you get things up and running hire someone who knows how to keep things going. 2) There is some benefit to having processes in place for how things are done. I used to love handling things as they came u This book really drew me in. I can remember "selling" my folks on Nike's back in 2nd or 3rd grade. It was amazing to read how the company started and become a powerhouse. This is a quick read but also made some strong points. 1) Starting a company is not the same as running a mature company. After you get things up and running hire someone who knows how to keep things going. 2) There is some benefit to having processes in place for how things are done. I used to love handling things as they came up but now I see the benefit of have a process for how things fit into the pipeline. 3) Unlike Churchill who was very clear with what he wanted, and wrote things down, Knight was the polar opposite. Being clear has benefits

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was an interesting book. I read some of it last summer and then got away from it and came back to it in March. I think the Nike story is very rick and gives a lot of good perspective to fellow entrepreneurs or others curious about the evolution of the brand we all know so well. The book was an easy read but from my perspective there was some excessive detail. Overall it is a great read and I recommend it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    "Swoosh" was a fascinating history of Nike and the tough and competitive world of sports gear. Endorsements by winners is the key to success resulting in a brutal and expensive game. Nike, founded in 1964, was a company run like a fraternity where the key players ate and breathed Nike. The only downside of the book is its copious detail running over 600 pages. But then, this gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the company through its numerous growing pains. "Swoosh" was a fascinating history of Nike and the tough and competitive world of sports gear. Endorsements by winners is the key to success resulting in a brutal and expensive game. Nike, founded in 1964, was a company run like a fraternity where the key players ate and breathed Nike. The only downside of the book is its copious detail running over 600 pages. But then, this gives the reader plenty of time to get to know the company through its numerous growing pains.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    One of my favorite stories about a company and the people who started it. If you're an entrepreneur who needs inspiration, read this! If you're a business owner, read this! And if you just want to read a brilliant story about a man and a dream, read this! Read it three times and will most definitely read it again. One of my favorite stories about a company and the people who started it. If you're an entrepreneur who needs inspiration, read this! If you're a business owner, read this! And if you just want to read a brilliant story about a man and a dream, read this! Read it three times and will most definitely read it again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Very interesting history of Nike and the birth of a successful business even in spite of the people who founded it. It sprung from a passion for running and a commitment to do things on a grass roots level into this multi-billion dollar industry

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Very, very interesting for anyone in the marketing field. Nike is the giant in the field, and this is great insight into how they got to where they are today.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Larryponder

    I had fun reading the book and thinking of where jogging is at.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rj

    Wonderful story about the history of Nike, as well as some insight into the mysterious Phil Knight.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Compelling reading for entrepreneurs. Could this ever happen again, or was it just the times that allowed this kind of success?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Glenn McDaniel

    It's been a few years, but I thought this was a great book that highlighted the culture that has revolutionized footwear and sports. It's been a few years, but I thought this was a great book that highlighted the culture that has revolutionized footwear and sports.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily Hartman

    So damn good. Love the Nike brand even more now. 'Merica. So damn good. Love the Nike brand even more now. 'Merica.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Colin Keeley

    Interesting read on the origins of Nike and the athletic shoe business in general. It would have benefitted from more contact with Knight.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zak

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adelin

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda C

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jose Luis

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jimmyblack

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jacopo Prisco

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amee

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alex

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