Monday, December 3, 2007

Phil Knight -- Rebooter (or maybe Re-Shoe-er?)

I just read a remarkable story in today's Wall Street Journal (Dec. 3, 2007) about Philip H. Knight, the billionaire founder of Nike, the world's largest sportswear company.

It turns out that Knight, renowned for his seclusion and secrecy, has been quietly attending creative writing classes at Stanford University for three years. He has told fellow students that he is writing a novel. And he has been a full participant in his classes -- sharing his homework with other students, debating themes and characters in novels and, with his wife, Penny, hosting after-class get-togethers with students at Palo Alto bars.

Knight is an exceptional figure on the Stanford campus for reasons other than just being an older "adult student." He has given $102 million to the Stanford Graduate School of Business (from which he garduated in 1962), funded a professorship at the business school, donated a graduate school building and made gifts to the athletic department.

Edward Schwarzschild, a novelist who visited one of Knight's classes, is quoted as being struck by his unassuming approach to learning the writing craft. "He could easily import someone, fly them up in a helicopter," Schwarzschild says. "But he wanted to be a part of a true workshop, as an equal. He didn't want to be CEO. He wanted to be Phil Knight, the student."

Makes me want to head for a Nike store and re-shoe myself.

1 comment:

Consuela said...

You write very well.