Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World

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The most powerful force in sports is not a football or baseball team. It is a shoe company. Nike is radically changing the way sports, business, and popular culture interact. Donald Katz is an award-winning author with a genius for getting inside places other journalists can't, and for writing nonfiction with the sweep and drama of a great novel. In his acclaimed bestseller, The Big Store, Katz gained unprecedented access to Sears, America's retail giant of the past. Now, in Just Do It, Katz has penetrated the ...
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Overview

The most powerful force in sports is not a football or baseball team. It is a shoe company. Nike is radically changing the way sports, business, and popular culture interact. Donald Katz is an award-winning author with a genius for getting inside places other journalists can't, and for writing nonfiction with the sweep and drama of a great novel. In his acclaimed bestseller, The Big Store, Katz gained unprecedented access to Sears, America's retail giant of the past. Now, in Just Do It, Katz has penetrated the company of the future, a dream machine that seeks nothing less than to define culture through the power of sports. The protagonist of Just Do It is Phil Knight, a reclusive billionaire who started a two-man operation importing Japanese running shoes and built it into a $4 billion company. Irreverent, unpredictable, and leery of the sports establishment, Knight has created the most muscular jock culture in business, a place where employees routinely take two hours at lunch to work out and then strategize late into the night in their holy war against competitors Reebok and Adidas. Outsiders think Nike is a cult. Insiders believe they are furthering the company's mission: to improve the performance of serious athletes. Not everyone can be a Nike guy. It requires a certain attitude. For example: Michael Jordan refusing to wear Reebok at the 1992 Olympics, or Charles Barkley joking about becoming a porn star. Katz shows how Nike created the spectacular imagery and marketing campaigns that made Jordan, Barkley, and Bo Jackson international icons. He also documents Nike's increasingly influential role in the management of its high-priced talent, taking us inside lucrative endorsement deals involving Jim Courier, Andre Agassi, Deion Sanders, Alonzo Mourning, and Pete Sampras, as well as behind-closed-doors negotiations with the NBA and the NCAA as it considers a controversial plan for a collegiate Super Bowl brokered by Nike and superagent Michael Ovitz. Nike is

An award-winning author penetrates Nike--a company of the future, a dream machine that seeks to redefine culture through the power of sports--to provide this portrait of Phil Knight, who pioneered the company from a two-man operation into a four billion-dollar corporation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Given the devotion to the product displayed by employees and customers alike, readers of this corporate history of Nike, which is based in Beaverton, Ore., will need to keep reminding themselves that the object of such adoration are athletic shoes (don't call them sneakers). With access to Nike's top executives, including founder Phil Knight, Katz ( Home Fires ) presents a vivid picture of what life is like inside a company that has grown from a small manufacturer of running shoes in the late 1970s to the giant of the athletic shoe industry with annual sales of $4 billion. A key to its growth has been innovative advertising that features well-known sports figures, who through the commercials became even bigger stars. The best-known case in point is Michael Jordan, who soared to mythical proportions on the wings of his basketball talent and Nike commercials, and the Jordan-Nike relationship is a major focus of the book. While Katz does not shy away from discussing the many controversies that have sprung up around Nike--payments to college coaches, a total sports management service for athletes and the use of cheap labor in Southeast Asia--he did have access to Nike officials and produces, on the whole, a pro-Nike spin. Still, Katz's book provides a compelling look at how big-time sports and big business have become intertwined. (June)
Library Journal
Katz (Home Fires, LJ 5/15/92), who spent 17 months among Nike's senior management during a tumultuous period in the company's history, offers a meticulous, well-written report about the high-pressure decision-making behind Nike's famous marketing campaigns. Lamentably, however, he glosses over controversial issues like the substandard wages paid by the company's Third World manufacturing operations. And he declines to draw interpretive conclusions about Nike's domineering influence over college and professional sports management. This lack of critical perspective constitutes a serious flaw in an otherwise diligent work of corporate reportage. Still, readers will find this a more balanced and up-to-date treatment than J.B. Strasser's Swoosh (LJ 1/92). Recommended for general business collections.-A.G. Wright, Harvard Coll. Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
School Library Journal
YA-The rise of Phil Knight and his Nike empire began with his trip to a Japanese shoe factory in 1963. Joined by Bill Bowerman, his old track coach and an inveterate seeker of a better running shoe, he began to import Tiger running shoes and sell them at high-school track meets. In 1966, Bowerman designed his own product, which was made by the Japanese firm, and in 1972 the first Nikes were introduced. Katz examines the enterprise historically, as a cultural phenomenon and as a multimillion-dollar company. Students seeking information about successful businesses in our global economy, marketing, research and development, or retailing will be profitably engaged by this text.-Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558504790
  • Publisher: Adams Media Corporation
  • Publication date: 3/1/1994
  • Pages: 317
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2013

    Matthew K.  Per. 1  Econ  This books reveals interesting informa

    Matthew K. 
    Per. 1 
    Econ 
    This books reveals interesting information about Nike and gave readers an inside look at how Nike used athletes to promote their products and advertise. The information given was interesting but at times it was slow. The beginning starts with Michael Jordans retirement and the controversy at the barcelona olympics. This book is a great book if you want to learn about Nike about what strategies it used to get to where it is today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2012

    Just Do It by Donald Katz Andrew M. per.5 Econ. This book talks

    Just Do It by Donald Katz
    Andrew M.
    per.5
    Econ.
    This book talks about the development of Nike,which was started as a small business into going to a four billion dollar corporation, which was started by two people Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman. The main idea the author tried to present was to show how Nike is the business of sports. Also how Nike isn’t just an athletic company, but a power of sports using known athletes as the advertisement. "Just Do It" is Nike's famous Metaphor and ever since Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman invented the athletic wear company it has been growing since. This book is great if you like to learn the history of Nike and economic strategies for running a business. 

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Just Do It By Donald Katz

    Deon Bishop
    Period 1
    April 4,2011
    History Econ
    Mr.Jimenez
    Just Do It, Donald Katz
    Published March 19,2000 pages 368
    Nominated for a national book.
    The most powerful force in sports is not a football or baseball team, It is a shoe company. Nike is radically changing the way sports, business, and popular culture interact. Donald Katz is an award winning author with a genius for getting inside places other journalists can't, and for writing nonfiction with the sweep and drama of a great novel.
    The book Just Do It is mainly about how nike was started and that it is more about the shoe and less on a sport such as football, baseball, basketball etc.The beginging Nike was created by two men by the names of Bill Bowerman and Philip Knight. The company began on January 25th, 1964 when the two men decided to "just do it" and since then that just do it became very famous.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting story

    I have been an athlete and nike is a big part of sports. I wore nike products and still wear the shoes, so this book was very interesting to me. It went into detail about the history of the company which was entertaining to me. I learned a lot about nike and I enjoyed this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2011

    I recommend!!!

    If you are looking for how Nike became what they are today then this is the book to read. It documents the begining of the company, what worked for them and what didn't and what led them to the top. The book gives an inside scoop on what made Nike, Nike.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2007

    Do It??

    Just Do it explores both the inner and the outer workings of the Nike corporation. The main character, Phil Knight,the founder and CEO of Nike originally created Nike with only one other man. It was just a small shoe company, not really expected to go anywhere. After many years of work,because Knight is a very driven man with a sort of obsession with money, he turned Nike into a four billion dollar corporation. i dont think the way he uses the athletes is right, i think the whole corporation is a little off. however, i will give them the benefit of the doubt- looking at the Nike company nowadays, they have some pretty nice stuff, and i think theyre much more well rounded now than they were back then. Back then, Nike was full of employees who were willing to do anything for the money, even if it included paying off coaches of teams just to get more people wearing theire shoes. The book takes us into the world of Nike, through all the ups and downs but was published in only 1994. i do think that Nike has progressed mostly in the past 10 years so this isnt really an accurate protrayal of the company at all. The book does have a very pro- phil knight aura but i still didnt like him very much for some reason- if you don't agree with the things this man does, you won't really like the book. I truthfully didnt really enjoy the book because i, myself don't play a sport or run a company so i couldnt really relate to it. I however do think that there are some people who would possibly find it interesting older adults, or young businessmen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World

    Just Do It digs under the skin of the Nike corporation and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the company that has grown to be the number one shoe marketer in the U.S. The author details every aspect from Nike's involvement in the Dream Team awards ceremony fiasco in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona to the sweat shops of Asia where the shoes are actually produced. The author taps into the psyche behind what Nike is about and what makes a typical Nike employee: love of sports combined with a rebellious, headstrong nature to think outside the box. For example, one prospective employee with a PhD and a law degree was dismissed by the selection committee for not knowing who Deion Sanders was. The book opens with the 1993 retirement of Michael Jordan and ends with some 'small' layoffs by Nike in September of the same year and the effects that the layoffs have on chairman, Phil Knight. The prose is well-chosen and the reader is shown the business side of superstars such as Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan that you won't find in Sports Illustrated. There are two minor weaknesses to Just Do It. There is definitely an inevitable pro-Phil Knight slant to everything written. Also, an extraordinary amount of pages are devoted strictly to the quagmire that is the Asian economy. The author may find this topic interesting, but the average reader won't and it strayed from the central theme of Nike's corporate culture.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2000

    Just Do It: The Nike Spirit in the Corporate World

    Just Do It digs under the skin of the Nike corporation and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the company that has grown to be the number one shoe marketer in the U.S. The author details every aspect from Nike's involvement in the Dream Team awards ceremony fiasco in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona to the sweat shops of Asia where the shoes are actually produced. The author taps into the psyche behind what Nike is about and what makes a typical Nike employee: love of sports combined with a rebellious, headstrong nature to think outside the box. For example, one prospective employee with a PhD and a law degree was dismissed by the selection committee for not knowing who Deion Sanders was. The book opens with the 1993 retirement of Michael Jordan and it goes on to explore Nike's use of star athletes to promote their products. The prose is well-chosen and the reader is shown the business side of superstars such as Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan that you won't find in Sports Illustrated. There are two minor weaknesses to Just Do It. There is definitely an inevitable pro-Phil Knight slant to everthing written. Also, an extraordinary amount of pages are devoted strictly to the quagmire that is the Asian economy. The author may find this topic interesting, but the average reader won't and it strayed from the central theme of Nike's corporate culture

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2000

    The Mystique Behind the Culture of Nike

    Just Do It digs under the skin of the Nike corporation and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the company that has grown to be the number one shoe marketer in the U.S. The author details every aspect from Nike's involvement in the Dream Team awards ceremony fiasco in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona to the sweat shops of Asia where the shoes are actually produced. The author taps into the psyche behind what Nike is about and what makes a typical Nike employee: love of sports combined with a rebellious, headstrong nature to think outside the box. For example, one prospective employee with a PhD and a law degree was dismissed by the selection committee for not knowing who Deion Sanders was. The book opens with the 1993 retirement of Michael Jordan and ends with some 'small' layoffs by Nike in September of the same year and the effects that the layoffs have on chairman, Phil Knight. The prose is well-chosen and the reader is shown the business side of superstars such as Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan that you won't find in Sports Illustrated. There are two minor weaknesses to Just Do It. There is definitely an inevitable pro-Phil Knight slant to everthing written. Also, an extraordinary amount of pages are devoted strictly to the quagmire that is the Asian economy. The author may find this topic interesting, but the average reader won't and it strayed from the central theme of Nike's corporate culture.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2000

    Perennial Powerhouse

    Donald Katz explores the riveting culture of Nike and the founder Phil Knight, CEO. He ventures into the past to examine the development of Phil Knight's perennial powerhouse from the ground up. Just Do It not only focuses on the structure and culture of Nike but the image that feeds the fire. Katz visits Nike as it began as a two man operation importing shoes and its unleashing into a 4 billion dollar empire. Katz takes the opportunity to visit the World Campus in Beaverton, Oregon and go inside the Nike engine. Along the way he visits with Knight and observes the relationship he exhibits with his subordinates and his management approach. Knight has given his employees a sense of pride and loyalty to work for the domestic and international swoosh that appears in markets everywhere. Not only is Nike a perennial powerhouse in the shoe industry but it has brought out the ability to raise the image of athletes into pure dominating creatures. With an increase in money moving in and out of Nike it now has the capabilities to unite athletes with contracts amounting in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Phil Knight through the shoe industry has redefined sport. He created mini Michael Jordans and Andre Agassis all over the world. Katz takes a closer look at the marketing strategies that have given birth to Bo Diddley, Air Jordan, Mr. Robinson and many other Nike creations. This is a brilliant look into such a dynasty of management and company culture. Regardless of your loyalty to one particular shoe it is very interesting to see how the business works.

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