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Summary

The remarkable story of how Joe Foster developed Reebok into one of the world's most famous sports brands, having started from a small factory in Bolton.

Since the late 19th century, the Foster family had been hand-making running shoes, supplying the likes of Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams - later immortalised in the film Chariots of Fire - as well as providing boots to most Football League clubs. But a family feud between Foster's father and uncle about the direction of their business led to Joe and his brother, Jeff, setting up a new company, inspired by the success of Adidas and Puma; and so Reebok was born.

At first, money was so short that Joe and his wife had to live in their rundown factory, while the machinery that made the shoes was placed around the edge of the floor, because it was so weak it could have collapsed if they'd been positioned in the middle. But, from this inauspicious start, a major new player in the sports equipment field began to emerge, inspired by Joe's marketing vision. By the 1980s, Reebok had become a global phenomenon, when they were the first to latch onto the potential of the aerobics craze inspired by Jane Fonda. Soon, Reeboks were being seen on Hollywood red carpets and even in the film Aliens, where Sigourney Weaver wore a pair of Reebok Alien Stompers. 

Like the international best seller Shoe Dog by Nike's Phil Knight, Shoemaker is a powerful tale of triumph against all the odds, revealing the challenges and sacrifices that go into creating a world-beating brand; it is also the story of how a small local business can transform itself, with the right products and the right vision, into something much, much bigger.

©2020 Joe Foster (P)2020 Simon & Schuster UK

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Great life story

An inspirational story of success and not letting setbacks stop your ambition in life to succeed


1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic

I never have a thought to the people behind the trainers I longed for in the 80s. Nor did I for a minute realise what an amazing story this would be. Open, honest and heartfelt.
Thanks for putting this out Joe. Inspired.

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Surprisingly Great Listen

Got this in an audible sale on a whim, glad I did!
My favourite listen in a long time.

Never even knew this was a British brand!
Great story and narration.

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Interesting story

Was an interesting listen about the history of Reebok. Go's in to great detail at times then brushes over periods.

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What a book

Inspiring and Motivating. Loved it! Enjoyed the reader as well. Captivating and very easy to follow.

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Wow: from small family business to global company

Excellent book. Insightful of how a British company went from a small family run business to a global player.

The book is well narrated and I finished it in 2 days.

I also recommend Shoe Dog by Phil Knight who started up Nike. Each book shows a different perspective on entering the same business.

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Pretty good story, had no idea it was British

I like good success stories and this is definately one of them. Still hard to believe he gave up ownership of the company, but who am I to judge! The early days part is to me the most interesting. The part where Reebok really takes off is somewhat thin and you can tell that this was no longer Joe Foster at the helm but work of others.
I would say the Nike "Shoe dog" book is better and more interesting but totally worth a listen.
Performance of the narrator is excellent!

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Interesting story of a household brand name

Enjoyed hearing the story and understanding some of the hurdles, sacrifices and pain faced to create a world beating brand.

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Good read

Really interesting to hear the background of Reebok and all the people involved. Very inspiring!

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Fascinating

Amazing story, very well read. The struggle to get a company of this size off the ground is mind-bending.