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Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas and Puma and the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sports Paperback – March 17, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Smit brings a keen reporter’s eye to the schism between Puma and Adidas. The book also ably tells the broader story of the red-hot global sneaker trade.” (Conde Nast Portfolio)
“What does David Beckham’s superstardom have to do with a pair of warring Bavarian brothers in the early 1900s? More than you think, according to this compelling book.” (Time Magazine)
“Barbara Smit deserves high praise.” (Sunday Telegraph)
“First-class piece of investigative reporting... enthralling narrative tale... invaluable contribution to our understanding of shoes, sports, corruption.” (David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero)
“SNEAKER WARS is great for understanding the ins and out of the industry.” (Bobbito Garcia)
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Top Customer Reviews
Smit bills her book, "Sneaker Wars," as the story of the family and corporate competition behind Puma and Adidas, but this is an Adidas book and the story of the legendary footwear house divided. Brother versus brother. Father versus son. France versus Germany. Old World versus New World.
Smit begins with skeletal biographies of the founding Dassler brothers: Adolf (Adidas) and Rudolf (Puma). The brothers worked and lived together, but after a World War II falling out, Rudolf struck out across the river on his own, and a rivalry was born. It was a rivalry that would play out over 50 years and three generations; but, one that was dominated by the Adidas corporation and the Adidas personalities, and they equally dominate Smit's work.
The book follows the Adi/Rudolf split and then move on to the division that emerges within Adidas as Adi's son, Horst, sets up a subsidiary - if often antagonistic - France-based branch. Horst cuts his own deals, sets up his own side businesses to inflate his bottom line, and provides the hustle that takes Adidas from a European sporting goods outfitter to a global fashion empire. But, remaining closely-held for many years by some combination of Dassler family members and confidantes, Adidas is a multi-million dollar conglomerate often operating on a shoestring. The family dynamic provides the arc of conflict that sustains Smit's narrative, and her gracious portrayal of Horst Dassler as a visionary 21st century kind of global businessman in a still-flat world is the center of gravity that grounds the meat of the book's middle portion.
Horst emerges as an almost surreal character: gifted and tireless, but perhaps less than ideal in his moral approach to family and business.Read more ›
It wasn’t until I researched the company, though, that I realised it was named after its founder, ADI DASsler, and as part of that research, I picked up a book entitled “Sneaker Wars” by Barbara Smit.
Yogi Berra might say “You’re never impressed with the things you don’t know until you know you know them…” and this book was certainly an eye-opener. Far more than just a book about sneakers, it details not only the history of Adi Dassler’s company for almost seventy years, it also provides a history of his brother Rudi’s company, Puma, for the same time. It also takes a look at the sports and sports-marketing industries as they’ve grown from their beginnings over the last half-century.
Starting in World War II Germany with Adi and his brother, the book details their early beginnings and the rift that eventually caused Puma to form in competition with Adidas. This rift was never healed, and the two brothers remained competitors for their entire lives. Their families continued the tradition well into the early 2000s, and the book chronicles this through the successes and failures of the particular companies. Adidas is well-known to have been the more successful (though it certainly had its share of failures), but the book does conclude with the recent successes that both companies have enjoyed, including the significant turn-around that Puma has achieved after it was all but gone in the 70s.
It’s stunning to learn the details behind the various deals that went on in the sports world of the last fifty years.Read more ›
It's not a quick read, but it's interesting enough to have me reading a few pages here and there when there's time (and if I could disappear for a few days, I'd spend more time with this book!). It's a good book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great BOOK....gives you a new perspective on the different brands.Published 8 months ago by Denis C. Granado
Excellent story, purchased as a gift, my dad read it cover to cover in 4 days and he is by no means an avid reader. I am currently reading it and am thoroughly enjoying it.Published 15 months ago by Andy P.
Fantastic story - i worked for adidas in the 1980's so was aware of the political goings-on at the time. Very well written!Published 16 months ago by Johann Burger
This is one of the best books about the sneaker wars that I have read. I was working on a sneaker exhibition for a gallery and reading this was exhibition research that was... Read morePublished on April 18, 2014 by Maria Christina
The back cover description of this book made it sound very interesting. However, the writing style is so dense that it is difficult to get through it. Read morePublished on January 16, 2014 by avid reader
I am workin at adidas group in South korean so that i feel i can understand where i work more detaily
Thanks for good shipping amazon even though i am not in USA
Very informative book about the history and rivalry between two very stylish iconic sneaker brands. These two styles were neighborhood competitors throughout NYC in the 70s and... Read morePublished on January 13, 2013 by LiteBlue Gator