Business Books

How a family feud between two Bavarian shoemakers changed the world of sports. Plus: a guide to the world's Über-élite and tips for getting all the way to No. 2

Illustration by Terry Allen for TIME

Sneaker Wars By Barbara Smit Ecco; 383 pages

What does David Beckham's superstardom have to do with a pair of warring Bavarian brothers in the early 1900s? More than you think, according to this compelling book. Smit tells the story of Adi and Rudi Dassler, partners after World War I in a sports-shoe factory in tiny Herzogenaurach, Germany. The two got their spiked running shoes onto the feet of Olympic star Jesse Owens in 1936, but a bitter family feud soon split their business in half, resulting in the founding of Adidas (Adi's outfit) and Puma (Rudi's company). The whole town...

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