Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

“Their tight V formations-I’d read somewhere that the geese in the rear of the formation, cruising in the backdraft, only have to work 80 percent as hard as the leaders. Every runner understands this. Front runners always work the hardest, and risk the most.”
“But first I’d need to change my whole approach. I was a linear thinker, and according to Zen linear thinking is nothing but a delusion, one of the many that keep us unhappy. Reality is nonlinear, Zen says. No future, no past. All is now.”
“On my last day I sauntered up the Champs-Elysees, tracing the liberators’ path, thinking all the while of Patton. Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
“My sales strategy was simple,a nd I thought rather brilliant. After being rejected by a couple of sporting goods stores, I drove all over the Pacific Northwest, to various track meets. Between races I’d chat up the coaches, the runners, the fans, and show them my wares. The response was already the same. I couldn’t write orders fast enough.”
“He was determined to find new ways of bolstering the instep, cushioning the midsole, building out more room for the forefoot. He always had some new design, some new scheme to make our shoes sleeker, softer, lighter. Especially lighting. One ounce sliced off a pair of shoes, he said, is equivalent to 55 pounds over one mile. He wasn’t kidding. HIs math was solid. You take the average man’s stride of six feet, spread it out over a mile (5,280 feet), you get 880 steps. Remove one ounce from each step—that’s 55 pounds on the button. Lightness, Bowerman believed, directly translated to less burden, which meant more energy, which meant more speed. And speed equaled winning. Bowerman didn’t like to lose. (I got it from him.) Thus lightness was his constant goal.”
“Don’t tell people who to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
“Leaning back in my recliner each night, staring at the ceiling, I tried to settle myself. I told myself: Life is growth. You grow or you die.”
“I remembered that the best way to reinforce your knowledge of a subject is to share it, so we both benefited from my transferring everything I knew about Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan to Gorman’s brain.”
“For some, I realize, business is the all-out pursuit of profits, period, full stop, but for us business was no more about making money than being human is about making blood. Yes, the human body needs blood. It needs to manufacture red and white cells and platelets and redistribute them evenly, smoothly, to all the right places, on time, or else. But that day-to-day business of the human body isn’t our mission as human beings. It’s a basic process that enables our higher aims, and life always strives to transcend the basic processes of living—and at some point in the late 1970s, I did, too.”
“Hard work is critical, a good team is essential, brains and determination are invaluable, but luck may decide the outcome. Some people might not call it luck. They might call it Tao, or Logos, or Jnana, or Dharma. Or Spirit. Or God.”
“Put it this way. The harder you work, the better your Tao. And since no one has ever adequately defined Tao, I now try to go regularly to mass. I would tell them: Have faith in yourself, but also have faith in faith. Not faith as others define it. Faith as you define it. Faith as faith defines itself in your heart.”