On Luck / Phil Knight's Shoe Dog

Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Phil covers many topics in recapping the journey from one guy with a Crazy Idea to the largest athletic brand ever, Nike. One sticks out: The importance of luck in success.

Warren Buffet is quoted on this topic describing how we feels he won the lottery being born in America:

If you could put your ball back, and they took out, at random, a hundred other balls, and you had to pick one of those, would you put your ball back in? Now, of those hundred balls … roughly five of them will be American. … Half of them are going to be below-average intelligence, half will be above. Do you want to put your ball back? Most of you, I think, will not. … What you’re saying is, “I’m in the luckiest 1% of the world right now.”

Phil Knight revisits this idea of luck throughout his book. In the final pages, he recalls his mother stopping a podiatrist from removing a wart on his foot that would have likely kept him from attending University of Oregon where he ran track. That would have kept him from meeting his cofounder of Nike and the world would have been very different.

In the end, we have to remember that luck plays as much a part as hard work in our success and failures.

Michael Girdley