The man charged with fixing the Middle East was spotted carrying Nike founder Phil Knight’s memoir, Shoe Dog.
In 2016, Nike founder and former CEO Phil Knight published Shoe Dog, his memoir that details the early years of Nike and how it ultimately became the massive company it is today. It’s a book that proves anyone with a small kernel of an idea—with hard work and a little luck—has the chance to build a world-changing corporation. These are lessons that apparently Jared Kushner would like to learn, who is a less-than-awesome businessman and the guy not only tasked with bringing peace to the Middle East, but also serves as the White House’s head of technology outreach. Yesterday, at the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Idaho, Kushner was spotted carrying a copy of Phil Knight’s memoir.
Kushner also leads The White House Office of American Innovation, which is “viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants.” (Basically, he’s in charge of everything.) President Trump himself has said numerous times that he wants to run government like a business, a sentiment Kushner echoed in a Washington Post piece back in March. “We should have excellence in government. The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens,” he said. So it makes sense that Jared thus would be reading a book written by the founder of one of American’s biggest and most innovative companies. Here’s the problem, though: Running a government like a business a stupid idea (businesses are bottom-line oriented; functional governments are people oriented).
Even if that were the case, there isn’t much Kushner can learn from Phil Knight’s memoir, anyway. For one, much of the memoir deals in Knight’s personal life via first-person stories of perseverance rather than offer up sage wisdom on how to operate a business. Knight also admits, time and time again, to flat-out luck, like when he paid an art student $35 for the famous Nike Swoosh and said, “It’ll have to do.” He also didn’t even like the name Nike at first (he wanted to call the company Dimension Six) but was convinced by his employees to choose the former. Additionally, it was Bill Bowerman, not Knight, who created Nike’s first successful running shoe—the Waffle Runner—by molding a sole using a waffle iron.
But perhaps the biggest rift between Nike and Trump’s America is that unlike many of the pro-Nationalist weirdos in Trump’s inner circle, Nike is a global brand that is constantly trying to expand its enterprise into new countries. (Steve Bannon literally labeled him a “globalist cuck.”.) As far as globalization goes, Nike might be America’s biggest proponent of it. The brand was the forefront of support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a now-dead international trade deal that Trump criticized heavily on the campaign trail. In fact, President Obama literally introduced the TPP on Nike’s campus back in 2015. So, we hope Kushner enjoys Shoe Dog, but he might not get far if he tries to get lessons on how to run the Government from it.