I bet that almost all readers of this blog have heard of Nike. I also bet that a large majority of our readers have not heard of Blue Ribbon Sports shoe company. The book “Swoosh: The unauthorized story of Nike and the men who played there” is an incredible story of how Phil Knight founded a small shoe company by the name of Blue Ribbon Sports and transformed it into Nike, one of the largest corporations in the world in a few decades. The book is written by J. B. Strasser (wife of Nike’s first advertising manager) with Laurie Becklund (a professional writer) describes the experience of Knight and six men who made Nike the most successful sports apparel company. The book, of course, also discusses Nike’s competition with Adidas and later Reebok, relationship with Japanese subcontractors, and with the large group of athletes and sportspersons who endorsed Nike over the years.
This is an interesting, but long, book to read for students of entrepreneurship, business strategy, and marketing. Strasser is not an outsider collecting information about Nike from secondary sources, but is an insider who has access to insiders in Nike and information which most others are unlikely to have. As the name of the book suggests, it is an “unauthorized story”, meaning that Phil Knight and others at the helm of Nike did not support this book. It is not difficult to see why when you read the book. Enjoy a long read!