FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;) See this post to learn more on how to join and check the events page on when the next book club is going to be!

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last time I covered FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE BY BETTY FRIEDAN. I gave it a 5/5, and feel it should be required reading for all humans who are in developed countries.

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This month I'm covering Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. I chose this book because there was quite a lot of buzz around it and Nike has always been a leader in the industry. But I will say, I came away super disappointed. I’m a minority it has 4.8 stars out of 2,716 reviews. So you may not want to take my word for it.

Here’s my review in takeaways:

Takeaway #1 - I smell a ghost writer

Maybe, maaayyyybe this is Knight voice in real life. But the writing sounded so contrived that 1 page into it I googled, “shoe dog ghost writer” and was oddly enough quickly able to find that J. R. Moehringer was the actual writer behind the words.

Sure, ghost writing is very common and I don’t really care, but the fact that I could sniff it out so quickly was bothersome.

Takeaway #2 - Should I stop wearing Nike?

I’ve never read a memoir and ended up not liking the person. Isn’t that kind of the point of story telling is that we understand the persons point of view, empathize, and leave better by having a broader understanding of the human experience?

In 2011, I had a conscious conflict after reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Thinking to myself, “should get rid of all my Apple products?” He was such a manipulative human, hurt, and screwed over a lot of people, that using his products and praising him felt like supporting that behavior.

I woke up one morning to put on my black Nikes hesitated and thought, “should I stop wearing these?” Here are some of the things that I just rubbed me the wrong way about Knight:

  • obsession with “war” and being a “warrior”

  • forces “play” as his “why” but is stressed and uptight most of the time, and even in the moments he is running it’s more about winning and ego than playing

  • his admitted lack of attention and encouragement to his employees

  • his preference for people with ivy league education, lawyers and accountants because they “could pass hard tests”

  • the team meetings they would refer to as “the buttheads” (this is a real thing, cue the chauvinism, and in recent news about Allyson Felix, still exists today)

  • his regret for his lack of time with his sons but doesn’t make any real lasting change to fix it

  • unethical business practices by American standards but rationalized in Japan with ‘it’s just the way they do things there’ (he hired an internal spy, yes, a spy)

Takeaway #3 - What did Knight do?

All the things that are so inspiring about Nike have nothing to do with Knight, the sleek logo, the tag line, the gorgeous and innovative design. Logo - an accident, he didn’t even really like it, they were just on a deadline. The famous “just do it” tagline - not even mentioned in the book, maybe I missed it? The innovative design of the shoe - that was all thanks to his cofounder Bill Bowerman.

Rating: 2/5

Recommendation: Maybe good for men in their 60’s who care about winning over everything else.

Next month:

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms by Vishen Lakhiani 

Read it with me! And sign up to come to the Book Club!

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!

FEMINEST BOOK CLUB: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan

Wanna join the Feminest book club? Of course you do. ;) See this post to learn more on how to join and check the events page on when the next book club is going to be!

The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know! 

Last time I covered How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan. I gave it a 4.5/5, not a full 5 because I thought it was unnecessarily long.

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This month I'm covering The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. I chose this book because it’s always referenced in feminist writings on history, culture and progress and I figured I should go to the source.

Although it was written in 1963, it’s incredibly relevant today. I thought reading this book it was going to be more of a period piece but it’s made me reflect so much on feminism today, it’s scary.

Here’s my review in takeaways:

Takeaway #1 - This book is mandatory reading for all feminists and/or living humans

Or as Arianna Huffington puts it, “If you’ve never read it, read it now.”

Takeaway #2 - We have progressed in so many ways but one

Today, women are outnumbering men at a record high in universities worldwide, there are more women doctors and lawyers than ever before, and boy-oh-boy we can get credit cards without a man!

But there’s one, category (if we want to call it that?) that we’re still systematically held back on and have made little to no progress and that is… childcare. Women are still considered the primary caregiver. And it was depressing to read the excuses, reasoning, and rationale that was used back then, is used today.

It made me reflect, uncomfortably so, on how traditional my marriage and family decisions have been. Because of that my career ambitions have suffered and I make significantly less money than my partner, which feeds into the cycle of us prioritizing his career over mine.

Last year I wrote this post, WORKING MOTHERS: 5 SCENES, WHY I'M TIRED OF THE CONVERSATION, WHY IT'S HAPPENING, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT, and quoted Kerr, "'It is logical for couples to decide that the person who earns less, usually a woman, does more of the household chores and child care,' Ms. Kerr said. 'But it’s also a reason women earn less in the first place. That reinforces the pay gap in the labor market, and we’re trapped in this self-reinforcing cycle,' she said." (Quote from NYT)

Takeaway #3 - It’s a long hard fight

Seeing that this was in 1963 makes me realize that this fight is going to be a long one. We’re 51% of the population so to get on the same page about feminist issues is tough, shit, Trump got elected for god’s sake. And speaking of god, with Christian ideologies like complementarianism (first time I heard of this was on Gimlet’s Start Up show, the Church Planting Season, Episode “The Woman At The Pulpit”) we’re going in the opposite direction, think: Handmaids Tale.

Takeaway #4 - Intersectionality

One of the stickiest points is the lack of white women including and considering women of all races, and backgrounds. I recently watched a documentary called “White Like Me.” Where a white woman was talking to a black woman, and said “well, we’re both women” and the black woman responded with “no, when you look in the mirror you’re a woman, when I look in the mirror, I’m a black woman.” There it is. We have, I have, a lot of work to do, I’m trying my best. So no longer can nor should the conversation be a bunch of white women strategizing about what’s best for women. Because white women don’t have all the answers for all women everywhere. But I’m hopeful for the future of feminism and the progress we’re making, even if it does feel like we’re stepping back in time - I’m looking at you Alabama.

Rating: 5/5

Recommendation:

For all living humans.

Next month:

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Read it with me! And sign up to come to the Book Club!

Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!