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Swoosh: Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There, The Paperback – April 28, 1993


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Swoosh: Unauthorized Story of Nike and the Men Who Played There, The + Out of Nowhere: The Inside Story of How Nike Marketed the Culture of Running + Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon's Legendary Coach and Nike's Cofounder
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; Reprint edition (April 28, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887306225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887306228
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is the incredible story of how Phil Knight, with literally no financial backing, founded a small shoe company, Blue Ribbon Sports, which within one year became a billion-dollar company, today known as Nike. Strasser, Nike's first advertising manager, and Becklund, a Los Angeles Times writer, describe the six men who, along with Knight, made Nike the most successful sporting apparel company in U.S. history. The authors take us through the hurdles that the company encountered along the way to success, including unappealing advertisements, problems with Japanese suppliers, lawsuits, credit difficulties, quota and tariff problems, and the tough competitor, Adidas. They also outline in detail Nike's interesting and creative promotional methods from freebees for athletic teams to expensive celebrity endorsements. The book is unique in that it not only gives historical information but also delves into the thoughts of those who built Nike from an idea. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
- Teresa Brady, Holy Family Coll., Philadelphia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

An unusually entertaining and informative corporate history that traces the rise, fall, and recovery of NIKE Inc., the world- class supplier of athletic shoes and casual clothing. Though the authors had no cooperation from either the company or its enigmatic founder, Philip H. Knight, they offer an authoritative, unsparing account of how a fledgling firm whose first sales reps sold sneakers from car trunks at track meets became a pace-setting multinational. Strasser, NIKE's first advertising manager, married a lawyer who, until his 1987 resignation, was one of the boss's closest cronies; Becklund, Strasser's sister, is a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times. Drawing on inside information and interviews as well as archival material, they recount how Knight, a long-distance runner at Oregon Univ., parlayed his Stanford MBA thesis into a lucrative global business venture that caught the crest of the stateside booms in jogging and fitness, generating annual revenues exceeding $3 billion. Along the way, Knight recruited a ragtag crew of blithe spirits who prized the Animal House camaraderie of the company's formative years. Having survived an unfortunate penchant for cutting corners, NIKE hit its stride during the 1970's, besting Adidas, Converse, Puma, et al. and permitting the company to go public in 1980. It found it difficult, however, to meet the expectations of investors and Wall Street analysts. In fact, management stumbled badly, missing the markets for aerobic and fashion footwear pioneered by archrival Reebok. Thanks in large measure to the prescient signing of such all-pro spokesmen as Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson, though, plus some innovative new products, NIKE bootstrapped its way back onto the fast track. But turnaround carried a price, since many of the freewheelers who had helped build the company jumped ship. The authors wonder whether an institutionalized NIKE can maintain its momentum, let alone meet the challenges of a fast-stepping marketplace. An engrossing narrative that evenhandedly assesses the making and maturation of a consequential enterprise. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Nike's story is one of the most fascinating in business, especially for those of us that grew up in Nike's prime. The authors did an incredible job of storytelling, starting with a young Phil Knight and his MBA thesis all the way to the early 90's... Lots of inside "dirt" but hardly a gossipy work. You will be amazed at the inner workings of this company.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Knoebel on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is one of the best marketing books I know of. Written by a marketing pro (and wife of Nike`s first marketing head Rob Strasser) the reader is shown the inner workings of one of the premiere marketing driven corporations of the western world.

This is not the story told by some outsider, who collected his informations from interviews with present and former managers, wrote the book under the dictate of some format guidelines from his publisher (not over 300 pages etc.) who then turned to another project.

My belief is, that J.B.Strasser put her very heart into this book to commemorate the work and achievements of her deceased husband and his work mates at Nike. So she shares with the reader the key facts and episodes, which made Nike successful.

As a marketing pro she also presents a rich picture about those key episodes and actions, which propelled Nike to success.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edward S. Brown on January 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
The test of a great book is what you remember most about it years after completing it. "Swoosh.." was an exhaustive study (In depth and breadth) of one of the biggest brands in business history. In reflection, the most salient points were not how methodical Phil Knight and company were in triumphing over adversity, but how fortune favored their passion. In many instances, Knight isn't even in the picture. It's usually other people fuelling the passion for the brand. These individuals were not motivated by creating the behemoth that Nike bacame, but for the love of running (track and field). Like most empires, it would be a misnomer to characterize Nike as one man's dream being manifested. In this instance, it was truly a collective endeavor. The old saying about success being defined as "preparation meeting luck" takes on a whole new meaning in "Swoosh... ." In this instance, a more apt definition would be, "When passion meets opportunity plus risk equals success."

Also, "Swoosh..." is a product of its times when people believed in something bigger than themselves, not out of fear, but out of love. Business bookshelves are riddled with the latest in "New" leadership models. Nike wasn't built on Phil Knight's directing his core group to innovate athletic wear. These individuals latched on to an idea and took off on their own. Phil Knight isn't Apple's Steve jobs in "Swoosh... ." He's more like Jed Clampett of "The Beverly Hill Billies" who had to be more or less told he was sitting on a goldmine.

By and large, "Swoosh..." is a great book for business lovers and potential "Captains of Industry" interested in uncovering how big brands are created. It is a testament of how far "relevant" passion" can go.

Edward Brown
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute
[....]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Castro on April 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
Great Book! It really surpassed my expectations. A must read for everyone who wants to learn more of sports brands history! great inside stories too...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CTMV on May 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well written engrossing book. The storyline is fascinating and their are tons of good business idea's. The only flaw is that the author credits her husband (Strasser) with too much credit for forming the company and even credits him with "inventing" the phrase - just do it- riiiight, sure he did. NOT.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sole Proprietor on December 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This a must read book to understand what Philip Knight, Bill Bowerman and others started as BRS that morphed and grew to become Nike.

One consistent theme, is Phil Knight's lack of communication, which served as a "set-up" for many around him and served his ego by playing the Lone Ranger riding back into town and "saving" the day.

The founding member were able to laugh at themselves, and plot their growth for the future.

Many of the principles that BRS started are still being applied today, and Nike has figured out how to sell "cool" and they aren't afraid to push the envelope and strut all the way to the bank.
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