When You Have an Idea
In this edition of Publication, we're going to take the time to talk about something that our average reader can really get behind. Like usual, we'll be talking about three books today, but this time, we're going to be discussing entrepeneur biographies. All of these well known figures started their respective companies from the bottom up with little money and have turned them into well known billion dollar corporations. So, how hard is it to do? The first biography is Shoe Dog, the autobiography of Phil Knight, the creator of Nike.
What made Shoe Dog different from the other the other biographies is that it's actually written by the man himself, giving the reader a different persepective into the intricate details of Knight's personal life. There's just something about insignificant but meaningful personal touches that make all the difference and Knight's story gives us all of that. There's also something relatable about his story. Knight graduated from business school in 1962 and actually had to borrow $50 dollars from his father. School was always a hard time trying to balance academics, sports, and trying to hold a job to have some extra money. But Knight also had a dream, to sell high quality shoes. In his first year, Knight tells us that he made $8000. Today, Nike's gross revenue is over 30 billion dollars. Shoe Dog is a truly candid autobiography that reveals how Knight turned a dream into a reality, while making that Nike swoosh one of the most iconic logos in history.
Much like Knight, the name Jeff Bezos wouldn't really ring a bell for anyone that doesn't already know who he is. However, Bezos is currently the second richest man in the world, and on July 27, was the richest in the world before the stock market closed. Have you ever heard of Amazon? The Everything Store by Brad Stone is the only biography out right now of the secretive Bezos, and it was created using first hand accounts from Bezos' own family members and from interviews from current and former Amazon workers. While Stone doesn't have the personal touch that only an autobiography like Shoe Dog can deliver, he makes up for it with brutally honest testimonial from many individuals that paint for the first time what kind of a man Bezos really is. Most people never knew that originally, Bezos and Amazon was an online bookselling service. It was Bezos' unique company culture that ultimately turned Amazon into the juggernaut that it is today. Stone shows us how that happened in his insightful biography on the man.
Lastly, Elon Musk is probably a name that you've heard tossed around before. Unlike Knight and Bezos, Musk is more of a household name. His biography Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance shows us how a boy who grew up with not much money in South Africa came to own Paypal and SpaceX. In fact, Musk didn't have much of anything when he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997. Musk took out a loan from his father for $28,000 and created a little known software company called Zip2 with his brother. Only two years later, Musk became a millionare when Compaq bought his company. Today, Musk owns, apart from PayPal and SpaceX, The Boring Company, which is currently in the process of building an underground tunnel system that connects many of the United State's major cities. Musk is truly a remarkable man, and Vance shows in his biography how he gets from point A to point B to where he is now in a very "fast-shooter" style.
It's fun to read about people that made money from almost nothing. It's even more fun and interesting to know that all of it was simply the rewards that you get when you work hard for your dreams. These three biographies are a great example of that and I'd recommend them to inspire our readers in the future and to show what can be accomplished.