It’s a bit ironic that writing a book about a company that has transformed the sports industry could actually become a life-changing experience for the author. However, such was the case for me when I was writing Nike as part of ABC-CLIO’s series on Corporations that Changed the World. It was easy enough to select a company that is continually reinventing itself with new products and forever leaving an unmistakable mark on not only the sports industry, but also society in general. As I was gathering comments from top-name sports professionals and conducting research to determine why Nike has become so legendary, I learned a valuable life lesson. The road to a specific destination is often interrupted with unexpected twists and turns. The manner by which we navigate these obstacles is a true test of our character and can prepare us for our next journey.
Nike, I realized I had achieved a personal milestone that could inspire readers. The milestone was not simply because I had written a book that required significant research and perpetual vigilance to stay in tune with Nike’s technology team as it cranks out products at a lightning-fast pace. I’m much too modest to just reflect on the book itself.
The high point for me was being able to complete the book at a time when life had blindsided me with a serious health issue. There were times when I thought I would never be able to meet my deadline, but I kept hearing three words over and over. “Just do it.” Most of you are familiar with the “Just Do It” advertising campaign that landed Nike a permanent place in the Smithsonian Institution. However, few of us have probably been able to incorporate the words into our own lives. As a teenager, I was inspired by every catch phrase that was aimed at making consumers feel invincible. Yet, I had long since forgotten about the “Just Do It” campaign until I embarked on the Nike project. I certainly never imagined the phrase would ever serve as a source of motivation for me to write a book about this incredible company.
Sports celebrities like Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings and Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns made my job easier by being very accommodating in terms of answering my questions. Their responses about how Nike has inspired them were quite interesting and compelled me to be relentless in telling the story of how the company’s co-founders initiated their dream with a mere handshake. Of course, I did not realize as I was writing the book that I had something in common with the founders. In fact, completing the project while in the midst of what could have been a health catastrophe required me to exercise the same determination they used to propel their company to the top.
Fortunately, I have recovered, but the road was difficult. My book will forever be a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit and the indomitable power of focusing on a goal. Nike co-founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman epitomized this spirit when they refused to let naysayers thwart their dreams. Their persistence paid off tenfold with the creation of a company that continually outpaces its competitors by utilizing the most modern technology, developing the most innovative products, creating the most remarkable advertising campaigns, and endorsing the most well-known, and sometimes controversial, athletes.
It is my hope that the story of Nike will unleash the necessary passion to help readers pursue their own dreams. Writing the book was a saving grace that has made me a firm believer in another less popular, but just as profound, Nike catch phrase – “There is no finish line.” Each project and every experience should be considered stepping stones not to the end, but to our next journey because there truly is no finish line. There is always one more hurdle to surmount.
--Tracy Carbasho, author of Nike (Greenwood, 8/2010)
When she's not busy writing articles for business publications and legal journals, she relaxes by spending time with Mojo, her 100-pound Australian Shepherd/Husky mix. Her idea of the perfect future is to one day own enough property to provide homes for numerous rescued animals.