who is john galt?

john galt - atlas shrugged

who is john galt?

This question appears many times in Ayn Rand’s classic 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” and, curiously, it also appears on the side of our shopping bags currently in our stores.

You might be wondering why a company that makes yoga clothing has chosen a legendary literary character’s name to adorn the side of our bags. lululemon’s founder, Chip Wilson, first read this book when he was eighteen years old working away from home. Only later, looking back, did he realize the impact the book’s ideology had on his quest to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness (it is not coincidental that this is lululemon’s company vision).

elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness

In “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand describes a society where people work and reside in government-controlled environments that are tightly regimented. Without realizing it, this control created a society of mediocrity; propagating a cycle of listless, uninspired existing as opposed to living. The character John Galt encouraged all of the world’s innovators and intelligent minds to go on strike from the increasingly controlling government in order to create a vacuum of brilliance, proving that independent creativity and free-will is critical for quality of life.

what john galt teaches us

While the plot in the book may sound radical and far-fetched, we place many of these constraints and limitations on ourselves which impede us from living our best lives. Think about it: we are all born with magical machines, aka human bodies, able to think, jump, laugh and run. We are able to control our careers, where we live, how much money we make and how we spend our days through the choices we make. Of course, there are situations sometimes where we aren’t able to control what happens to us. Life can be hard, challenging and unfair. What we can control, however, is our reaction. We can choose to rise up and be great.

Many of us choose mediocrity without even realizing it. We think we “have” to do things or “aren’t able” to do what we want. We create rules and experience fear when we dream of a life we love. Why do we do this? Because our society encourages mediocrity. It is easier to be mediocre than to be great.

What do we want to create for our lives right now? We can do it. It might be hard but there is nothing stopping us. Think about the reasons and excuses that come up when we envision our best lives; it is remarkable how manipulative and clever mediocrity can be, sneakily convincing us to continue existing without what we desire most.

Our bags are visual reminders for ourselves to live a life we love and conquer the epidemic of mediocrity. We all have a John Galt inside of us, cheering us on. How are we going to live lives we love?

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Great job, Lex!

Comment by Jena — November 2, 2011 @ 10:32 am

Some inspirational thoughts, great job bringing up some very interesting issues!

Comment by Dustin — November 2, 2011 @ 10:51 am

Great post! I’m sure there will be a swarm of comments about how the message of Atlas Shrugged and the message of Lululemon are at odds with each other, but personally, I disagree and was happy to see the ideas expressed so eloquently in this post.

And did I read correctly that there are unique Lululemon “Who Is John Galt?” bags available? I’d love to have one of these; are they available with purchases online or only from select stores?

Comment by Holly — November 2, 2011 @ 10:52 am

I would argue that the majority of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants actually have very little control over their careers, where they live, and how much money they make. That statement is laughable. If all it took was an attitude adjustment to rise from poverty, escape conflict, and recover from widespread illness, then we would have 7 billion wealthy, happy, and healthy humans headed to their next yoga class.
I’ll take my workout gear without naive freshman-year analysis next time.

Comment by Amanda — November 2, 2011 @ 10:52 am

This is my favorite book of all time!

Comment by Katy — November 2, 2011 @ 10:56 am

Excellent article! A great reminder for us all!

Comment by Clara — November 2, 2011 @ 10:58 am

Impossible to give a one paragraph synopsis of a 1200 page book but I like that this company has chosen to make people think for themselves. If people decide to pick up this book they will find all the things that frustrate them in this book actually happening around them in our world. Ayn Rand was a visionary and whenever I’m feeling down about the state of the world, I pick up Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead and find the strength to hold my integrity and move on. I’ve read this book 6 times.
Great post.

Comment by Ryan — November 2, 2011 @ 11:07 am


Comment by Jen — November 2, 2011 @ 11:09 am


Comment by yup — November 2, 2011 @ 11:13 am

Wow. Well, at least you deserve some credit for actually publishing this and taking ownership of it. Too bad it’s contemptible dreck that would be embarrassing in a college dorm bull session.

Comment by Eric R. — November 2, 2011 @ 11:19 am

AMAZING post! I think mediocrity can be very tempting mainly because it doesn’t involve much. Greatness comes with hard work, and it’s very human to shy away from that. I am a firm believer in hard work, in no way can it send you backwards. We all dream of something more and I truly believe with determination, conviction and will in place- we CAN realize our dreams. Lulu- you make me feel like I can do anything (and I actually can!). THANK YOU!

Comment by Anil N. Singh — November 2, 2011 @ 11:20 am

I have to agree with Amanda on this one. Maybe the next Lululemon bags can sport a quote from L. Ron Hubbard and a reference to one of his “legendary literary characters.” I think I’ll shop elsewhere.

Comment by Susie — November 2, 2011 @ 11:22 am

This philosophy is why LULU has such great products and is such a great company. Fortunately, neither the FDA nor the NIH has to date asserted jurisdiction over athletic wear. ;-)

Comment by Stan — November 2, 2011 @ 11:32 am

Love this book… always have always will. Kudos to you for talking about it.

Comment by megan — November 2, 2011 @ 11:35 am

PS. If you didn’t talk about and express your opinion wouldn’t you be just has guilty as the naysayers falling into the trap of mediocrity?

Comment by megan — November 2, 2011 @ 11:40 am

I love Stan’s comment. So apt and so true!

Comment by Holly — November 2, 2011 @ 11:46 am

Great post- was truly and eye opener for me and I have to agree with the message. To also give the author some credit, she clearly states the plot of the book I can be radical and far-fetched, its intention is to make one think. Will one settle for mediocrity because it’s the easier thing to do or seek greatness? The tie in to the luluemon vision is “we are all born with magical machines, aka human bodies, able to think, jump, laugh and run.” Its open for interpretation but if you think we do not have a choice in anything we do in this world, you are sadly mistaken…

Comment by Kristin — November 2, 2011 @ 11:49 am

Brave of you to attempt to provide a one page synopsis on such a volume of literature. Everytime I try to explain the book to someone I end up just saying “it made me question my life…you have to read it to understand” I love Lulu and the way you treat your customers and employees. I am John Galt.

Comment by Christina — November 2, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

Wonderfully put Alexis! Thank you.

Comment by Caitlin — November 2, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

Nothing helps fight mediocrity like expensive yoga clothes (which I wear). High quality goods, but come on, lose the delusions of grandeur.

Comment by Kareem — November 2, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

Just clothes. Stopping mixing in politics. The AR book is the on the conservative reading list.

Comment by AD — November 2, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

since when do books ‘belong’ to certain ideologies or groups? perception is reality.

Comment by alison — November 2, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

Good to see a spirited exchange of opinions on this post…. I am glad people are still reading the classics!!

Comment by Lesley — November 2, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

Wow, I’m disheartened to see people over analyze this post. I invite anyone with a stern view to re-read the article. Would you rather te author point out an over-used (but still pertinent) concept like seize the day?

Comment by Doug — November 2, 2011 @ 2:32 pm

Whoa- is this ever disturbing!! Totally agree with Amanda. This makes me very uneasy.

Comment by kara — November 2, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

I love the post, totally agree with it and love that someone has the courage to actually say it.

Comment by Donna — November 2, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

Completely agree with the other commenters who noted this is really disturbing. Ayn Rand – really? I wouldn’t have expected so much overlap between Lululemon and the Tea Party.

@Doug it’s not about the sentiments emphasized in the article, it’s about the author’s praise of Ayn Rand’s work. Given the extent to which (at least where I live) lulu is primarily patronized by yogis who favor strong social safety net programs like medicare, social security and unemployment insurance and advocating unbridled/unregulated capitalism I’m fairly shocked to hear that lululemon and Ron Paul draw their inspiration from the same author.

If this is the founding ideology behind lululemon I’m rethinking shopping there in the future.

Comment by Sarah — November 2, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

Sarah, just because two individuals/entities derive inspiration from the same place does not make them the same.

Charles Manson liked to quote The Beatles; does that mean there’s no value left in John Lennon’s imagery of peace and love?

Look at the deeds, both good and bad, that have been performed under the “inspiration” of every religious text, leader, and prophet. Is the problem in the message itself, or in the followers/the human interpretation of the message?

(Additionally, the message that can be derived from Atlas Shrugged is a different message than that of Rand’s objectivist philosophy, which is also a different message than that of the Tea and Libertarian parties. They are not all the same/completely interchangeable.)

The words of thought leaders and philosophers are co-opted and quoted constantly by all sides of the political spectrum, because sometimes inspiring words and ideas transcend divisive political cultures. It’s closed-minded to assume that everything has to fall into black or white, either-or.

Finally, if people are truly getting their individually philosophy this closely intermixed with their yoga clothing, then maybe this is a good catalyst to step back and re-evaluate. Lululemon isn’t Medicare, social security, or salvation. It’s pants. Stretchy pants.

Buying and consuming mindfully is a wonderful thing, and I support and appreciate the mission behind Lululemon, but let’s be realistic — you’re still spending $100 on a pair of pants, when other people can’t afford a $100 medical prescription. Buy elsewhere all you want, but don’t act so self-righteous on the way out of the store.

Comment by Holly — November 2, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

ummm, most of the comments here are astroturfed from the same person. they all read exactly the same.

Comment by Isai — November 2, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

Wow, almost fell off my chair when I read this. I can’t believe you were able to take a huge book like Atlas Shrugged and distill it down to a few paragraphs.

I so agree with your premise “that independent creativity and free-will is critical for quality of life.” So true. I love your stuff anyways, but now I have an even better excuse to continue to buy. I am John Galt!

Comment by Larissa — November 2, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

Another reason to love lululemon!

Comment by Frances — November 2, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

Well done lulu! Being such a successful and innovative company I think this is a fabulous fit. I would encourage those that are criticizing to actually read the 1200 pages that is “Atlas shrugged” before forming an opinion. I am excited by this to spend my hard – earned $$$ at lulu now to get my “John Galt” bag – thank you lululemon for understanding and sharing Rand.

Comment by Jess — November 2, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

Are you effing kidding me? This is the lamest thing ever. Package Republican propaganda in a $100 pair of pants and call it yoga.

Comment by Brooks Rainey Pearson — November 2, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

I AM AMAZED. My college education is so focused on teaching this Values Ayn Rand writes so much about, that I cant believe this is true. I sure want one of those bags. And I am so happy that im not the only one working hard to be GREAT and avoid mediocrity.

Comment by Ana — November 2, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

I’m so happy this post was created. There has been a lot of talk around these bags that has been completely wrong and unjustified. I don’t think people realize the core values that lululemon holds to everyday and elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness is one of them. With that, lululemon also expects people to take responsibility of their own lives and live with integrity. So Alexis IS right here: we are in charge of where we live, the amount of money we make, and how we live our lives. We could all be great if we all CHOSE to be great, but unfortunately, there are only a few of us who choose to be great. If we all chose to be great instead of mediocre, then we all WOULD be headed to the next yoga class. Those who think we do not have control over our lives are passively choosing mediocrity. Thank you lululemon for holding people to a sense of responsibility, integrity, and greatness.

Comment by lexi — November 2, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

For those who have read Atlas Shrugged, are you surprised at some of the comments? Keep up the good work lulu!

Comment by Jon — November 2, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

Sarah, I appreciate your response. Again I think everyone dismissing this article is in fact dismissing the obivious point. Live past mediocrity. Inspire to be more.

Comment by Doug — November 2, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

Great work!

Comment by Kate — November 2, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

I have purchased a few items for my wife at LULU and I am very glad to hear the corporate philosophy coming from Atlas Shrugged. I applaud you for it, dont lose the opportunity to “do right” by your own people.

I dont mind spending my hard earned money for good quality things, I also mind it less if the company behind it has a greater goal. a good company should make a profit, it should compensate its people, it should reward the people who make it grow. Those employees can spend or give their money however they wish, either way, the more they have, the more they can do.

Comment by Carlos — November 2, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

Is this some kind of joke? For a company that sells products like yours to associate itself with Ayn Rand is astonishing.

Bottom line is that this deranged writer who devoted herself to promoting a fake philosophy of self-reliance today is the heroine of those who are without empathy for the vulnerable and who would do nothing to help them. Nothing. People who believe in Rand are still pumping up her reputation and promoting the “greed is good” approach to our society, including Lululemon’s CEO, no doubt. If this twisted belief system prevails, our society will be severely and permanently damaged.

That is why it is so disturbing to read this claptrap about John Galt and his preaching against mediocrity. Those words are code for human indifference, selfishness and anti-social behavior, which fits the description of a personality disorder.

You can rest assured that I and many others who naively associated the yoga movement with progressive values and humanity will never set foot in your Lululemon stores again. After all, you don’t need us – you can survive just fine on your own.

Comment by Av — November 2, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

Love this book or hate this book, it is the single best selling book of all time after the bible.

I wear your gear, and now that I know Chip is as inspired by Ayn as I am, I will ONLY wear your gear, and I have to get my hands on your bag PLEASE !!! My daughter wants one too, as she is a believer !!

Comment by Bill — November 2, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

Oh dear. While some of what you’ve written about Atlas Shrugged are correct interpretations of some of the novel’s ideas (reaching beyond mediocrity), you have entirely neglected the other part of Rand’s philosophy — that those who struggle should not be helped and should be allowed to fail so that only the successful survive. Ayn Rand was against any government role in citizen’s lives — including social services to help the poor, the sick, and the elderly.

Ayn Rand wore a huge gold dollar sign brooch and was known for saying: “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue.” A wonderful slogan for a multimillion-dollar corporation, perhaps. But I will certainly not walk around with a bag trumpeting such a slogan.

Lululemon, you are more than welcome to your beliefs, be they inspirational or avaricious. I’d just prefer you fully own up to espousing those beliefs, rather than claiming an incomplete and misleading portion of them.

Comment by Anne — November 2, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

Well said Anne.

Comment by Sarah — November 2, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

Lululemon, in reading the comments of some of your customers, I was reminded of a similar reaction to the Wall St. Journal’s op-ed by John Mackey CEO of Whole Foods in 2009 in which he attacked ObamaCare and proposed a free market solution to our health care crisis. It turned out that he, too, was an admirer of Ayn Rand.

Many of Whole Food’s customers were also outraged, as some of yours apparently are. But they went a step further and organized a boycott.

It was a total failure. As a matter of fact, Whole Food’s stock just reported record profits and their stock recently made all time highs.

I wish you similar success.

Comment by Fred Weiss — November 2, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

“Since when do books ‘belong’ to certain ideologies or groups?” You’re right. What a silly idea. “Mein Kampf” belongs to all of us.

“Atlas Shrugged’s” message IS an ideology, a vicious ideology that says greed and selfishness are desirable and wealth is a sign of virtue.

Comment by Jon — November 3, 2011 @ 6:45 am

I love lulu. The clothes really are hands down the best workout gear out there. But if there is one thing that would drive me to buy another brand, promotion of Ayn Rand is it. This also goes a way to explain why lulu moved production of its goods from Canada to China. It’s ok to make others suffer if it helps you earn a few more bucks. Classic Rand. I’m sad to have to break up with you lulu, but we’re through.

Comment by Des — November 3, 2011 @ 6:45 am

Yeah I think I’ll spend my money somewhere else. You clearly understood the very surface level of a deep book- congratulations.

And of all the issues you could spend money to address, you chose this? A message of self-interest, apathy, and making yourself feel good at all costs? You have a HUGE platform from which to move the world. Use it to do some good next time. Until then, my lulu clothes are going in the closet- I won’t endorse this.

Comment by Pete — November 3, 2011 @ 7:18 am

I was also very disappointed by this post and marketing strategy, although obviously I respect the company’s right to state their position. There is always room to push for greatness, and this is a goal that I take quite seriously in my own life. But to think that such things are always within individual control is astonishingly callous and naive. Ayn Rand, moreover, was hardly a model for conscious living. It’s one thing to be seduced by Atlas Shrugged at 18, but most of us grow out of it by the time we’ve been around the block once or twice. The timing on this post/marketing is particularly poor, given the deep political divide these days over the “99%” vs. the “1%”.

I am a big fan of lululemon, despite the ridiculous prices, and got on the website today to ogle the bag I just ordered and can’t wait to receive. But this pro-John Galt leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

Comment by Erin — November 3, 2011 @ 8:06 am

I will never ever purchase a lululemon product again. Everyone is entitled to their viewpoint, but when yours grosses me out this much I’ll keep my money to myself.

Comment by dai jones — November 3, 2011 @ 8:16 am

Whoa…brave step you’re taking there, Lulu! I don’t think people would get so worked up over Atlas if they just remembered that Ayn Rand derived her philosophy in response to a suffocating communist government. She responded to extreme ideology with the opposing extreme. Not a real surprise, considering human nature. Her book puts forth a utopian ideology that doesn’t work 100% in the real world, but her point was to cast a black cloud over the communist ideal and make the world realize just how detrimental the concepts are!!

Comment by Rebecca — November 3, 2011 @ 8:59 am

Hmmm. I am not really familiar with what lululemon is, but was sent this link by a female friend who is. I admit I’m having trouble associating yoga, etc…with an author that espouses what can only be classified as what the exact OPPOSITE of what yoga seems to encapsulate.

Rand, who died bitter and alone, advocated naked materialism, selfishness, and worshiped money. In fact, Alan Greenspan attended her funeral, in which a wreath in the shape of a dollar sign was planted. It’s abhorrent to think that Rand’s embrace of punishing the weakest among us by withholding all the great “gifts” the rich bestow on us, especially in a time of economic depression in which the inequality gap widens between those that have nothing, and those that take from them is wider than ever.

Rand championed helping those that already have the means to help themselves. I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of, not matter how empowered her books make you feel about your lofty status as a business owner. I’m not a yoga guy, but if I were, I’d definitely steer myself away from lululemon, and I’ll urge all those who care to do the same.

Comment by Mike — November 3, 2011 @ 9:01 am

I just heard about this and because of it, I just may become a new customer. If the world is to be saved it will be because of the ideas of Ayn Rand and any individual or company that has the courage to bring her to the attention of the public has my complete and total support.

Comment by Nobe Headings — November 3, 2011 @ 9:22 am

Nothing says greatness like making overpriced yoga clothes in a factory in China for pennies on the dollar and then charging 15x what their actually worth. That McMansion payments gotta be made somehow, I guess.

Can’t yoga be done in basketball shorts and an old tshirt?

Comment by Bertrand Russell Jr — November 3, 2011 @ 9:24 am

I also will never purchase from Lululemon again. Let the free market do what it wants to your company, but I will not support it.

Comment by meg — November 3, 2011 @ 9:25 am

I love lulu and this makes me love you even more!

I wonder if Ayn Rand was not even mentioned and just the basic message to “strive for greatness and not mediocracy” was written, that the naysayers would be as upset. As for those that say people who believe in Ayn Rand’s philosophy are greedy and not conscious of those that are not as “lucky”, I’d like to point out that it is those “greedy” people and corporate CEO’s who employ millions, pay the most taxes and contribute to charities at a higher percentage than the “unlucky”.

And for those who will not purchase from lululemon anymore because of their so-called political stance, do you boycott movies from the stars who espouse their views, do you boycott Sundance catalog because Robert Redford very often gives his political or sociological views?

What about this quote which basically says the same thing as Ayn Rand was saying: “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” This was said by Steve Jobs founder and CEO of Apple Computer, Inc. and I believe he was a liberal! Does this mean I won’t by his products? Absolutely not – it means that I admire his genius and his work ethic. I think we are all very guilty in the polarized society we have (me included, I admit) of sticking to our side rather than being open-minded enough to listen to everyone’s point of view and admiring them for actually having the balls to say it out loud.

I say bravo to lululemon for pointing out that we should all work hard to live up to our potential and not sit back and take from others who do all of the work. If not for this philosophy we wouldn’t have these wonderful products and so many more that were created by people who strive for greatness.

Comment by Gail — November 3, 2011 @ 9:37 am

I certainly won’t be patronizing lululemon again.

Comment by dpduryea — November 3, 2011 @ 10:47 am

Aaaand you have just guaranteed that I will never buy a lululemon product. Thanks for making your company philosophy clear!

Comment by Ashley — November 3, 2011 @ 11:22 am

At last, confirmation as to why I will never again buy into anything Lululemon offers.*Ever*

Comment by Marv — November 3, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

Ron Paul – Jess Ventura 2012 !!!

Comment by Chawickis — November 3, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

love lululemon, and now i love your founder…even though i have lots of lulu – i am coming in to get more just to have several of these bags…thank you and keep your fingers crossed for Ron Paul 2012!!! Peace, Love and Freedom!

Comment by Shannon — November 3, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

Wow, this is wonderful news. It is no surprise that the philosophical roots of the company are intertwined with Ayn Rand’s ultimate wisdom. Lululemon has proven over time to have excellent quality clothes, strong leadership, and they have created a brand that is so powerful it is redefining the industry. I am puzzled why some people would find this outstanding tribute to be ‘creepy’, a company who wants to be a cut above and not settle with norm is a sign of an excellent business. It restores my faith in a world where people are losing sight of fairness and freedom. I do not want to live in a world where people think it is not only fair and just to cut down the best, but it is the upper echelon’s DUTY to give up their wealth, and more importantly their minds, for the good of society. If you want to see the evils of living for your country do some reading on Communism and Soviet Russia. It’s ironic that the ‘do-gooders’ or our time and preaching for slavery, that is truly creepy!

Comment by Jon — November 4, 2011 @ 7:35 am

It’s not that people living the vision espoused by Rand are uncaring about others. It’s that they won’t FORCE other people to care about others.

Most libertarians I know give to charity, volunteer abroad and at home, and spend money and time building a better society. What’s important is that they understand that it is THEIR CHOICE and theirs alone, and that they have NO RIGHT to make that choice for others.

Bravo to lulu.

Comment by C.J. — November 4, 2011 @ 7:41 am

hmm…I haven’t bought lululemon in a year and have sold most of what I did own. This post reminds me of why I quit buying lululemon…

You put higher-priced stickers over printed price tags. You argue with your customers over whose fault it is when a seam comes loose after two weeks. You don’t embody the yoga philosophy whatsoever. Your company only cares about profits and status.

But I have to give you credit. At least you’ve come out and admitted to your philosophy of greed.

Comment by Jessie — November 4, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

Well done Lululemon! It takes courage to start a great company, be proud of it and be proud of and give credit to the ideas that gave you the courage to be great. Those knocking Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand haven’t read the book themselves and have instead heard misrepresentations of it from others who themselves have also not read the book.

Comment by Tomer — November 4, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

I, too, thought that Atlas Shrugged was the greatest work in the world when I was thirteen. Then I grew up and gained a more complex understanding of the world, philosophy, and writing.

Seeing an adult take Rand seriously makes me feel embarrassed for that person.

But I guess that it makes sense that a company selling overpriced yoga pants to the bourgeoisie would want to encourage the virtue of selfishness.

Comment by Sarah — November 5, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

@Jessie – Ironic that you claim you stop buying lulu and almost sold what you do have, yet you’re browsing their website, reading the blog, and posting comments. It’s also fun when people claim Lululemon is only about profits and looking out for their shareholders, because they’re right. Individuals who produce great products then have a choice to donate and give back, individuals who sit and complain about others having “too much” never contribute anything to society. They simply sit back and try to use the success of others to help others.

Comment by Sean — November 6, 2011 @ 9:50 am

I would like to applaud Chip for having the courage to share the foundation of his company!  I read Atlas Shrugged last year and loved it so I was beyond excited to see this blog appear in my Facebook newsfeed!  Regardless of whether or not you have read the book, I find it funny that some are so quick to judge!   The message of the blog post is to always strive to be more than you are now or more than society says you can be…what is so wrong with that!?  Isn’t that what every athlete strives for with every workout?  I would also like to put one stereotype to rest. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years, am a certified instructor and I am not a liberal or atheist…I AM JOHN GALT!  I have dreamt of owning your product for quite some time and am proud to say I made my very first lululemon purchase today!

Comment by Heather — November 6, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

I was so heartened to see the “Who is John Galt” bags at the Palo Alto store this afternoon. Thank you for having the moxie to champion individual liberty.

Comment by Tom — November 6, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

I find it funny how all the “No way Ayn Rand you suck lululemon” comments are so obviously from people who have no idea what she thought. Calling her ‘conservative’ or someone who the ‘tea party’ support shows your ignorance.

The only people who commented using the word ‘libertarian’ or ‘objectivist’ were people who liked this announcement. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

Comment by James — November 7, 2011 @ 11:02 am

Absolutely love the logo on the bags. That alone will make me to to your store and purchase Christmas presents for my Yoga friends. If we only had more business and political leaders who would embrace the concepts of Ayn Rand we’d be Great not on the road to Serfdom.

Comment by Skip ONeill — November 7, 2011 @ 11:04 am

Great article, I love the quote and the everything you said here.

Comment by Luis — November 7, 2011 @ 11:07 am

Ayn Rand: Grouchy old woman.
Atlas Shrugged: Very long book.
Objectivism: Silly.

Vaguely defined philosophy of individualism and liberty inspired by any of the above: a very good thing.

I do not understand why it should be so offensive to think that it is bad to hurt other people. Or why many object to the idea that individuals are important. These seem like uncontroversial positions.

But some people just enjoy being angry on the internet. Have fun with that.

Comment by AuberonHerbert — November 7, 2011 @ 11:12 am

I’ve never bought from Lulemon before, but I will in the future.
It’s obvious how many people commenting have never read the book. Someone told you it was associated with the Tea Party or with Ron Paul, and you wrote it off. Sad, really. Think for yourselves.

Comment by Stephanie — November 7, 2011 @ 11:28 am

You obviously never read _Mein Kampf_.

Comment by ali — November 7, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

You really want to compare ‘Atlas Shrugged’ to ‘Mein Kampf’? Are you trying to make my point for me?

Comment by Stephanie — November 7, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

As someone who read “Atlas Shrugged” in his teens, as well (and about 8 times more since), I’m not surprised at all that someone like Chip Wilson was inspired by the novel so much that he’d do something like this. I hope it will inspire more people to read this magnificent novel.

Comment by Chip Joyce — November 7, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

Bravo. There are far more people devoted to reason, excellence, and individualism than are represented in the business world. Successful businesses generally operate on Rand’s principles– productiveness, competition, profit– while putting on a public face of altruistic service. They spit in their own faces as apology for the very things that made them great companies. The scheme seems to be “I built the personal computer industry and became a billionaire but don’t hate me cause I’m going to give the money away if you just like me a little bit”. It’s sad. Thank you for not being one of those businesses. Achievement is great. Honest work and profit is pro-life and have given us everything we have. Thank you for not apologizing for your excellence. I hope to be a customer for a very long time. Not for your sake, but for my own.

Comment by Richard — November 7, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

Love Lulu. Love Atlas Shrugged. Thanks for sharing!

Comment by vona — November 7, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

What a terrible, ignorant decision by a company who preaches social responsibility.

While it is true that John Galt’s character respresents the greatness of the human mind, the entire structure of the books beliefs rest in neoliberal principles.
Neoliberalism is directly responsible for the current state of the world thanks to the massive deregulation and the witch hunt of government interference. This is a character who’s policies have resulted in sweat shops, child labour, privatized education and healthcare, destruction and exploitation of developing nations, and the direct causal factor behind the 2008 stock market crash. This ideology destroys any and all social programs, emphasizing a succeed or die policy; this ideal stands in contrast to community and social responsibility; a building block of lulululemon.

You can not put a face on a bag and not accept total responsibility for what it represents. As a company, you can not put Karl Marx on your bag only believe in his terms of equality without owning the responsibility of the USSR or China.

The irony of the entire statement is that lululemon does not even follow Galt’s principles. If lululemon truly did, there would be no social responsibility for their offshore factories and the entire concept of grassroot community building would seem worthless without the monetary value.

A very unfortunate, uneducated decision from a company that preaches education and social elevation.

Comment by Clark — November 7, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

I gather that those commenters who are stating they’ll no longer purchase Lulu products don’t quite get the irony of that very free-market reaction. I also gather that they don’t understand economics, yoga, or hinduism.

Comment by Guest — November 7, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

Atlas Shrugged’s theme is not political. It is that the rational thinking mind is the source of all values. Plus a dramatization of her morality, the morality of rational selfishness.

Ayn Rand did NOT die “alone and bitter.” I know, I was among her best friends at the end of her life. She was working on a screenplay for Atlas Shrugged, until she got very ill (heart disease) and died 6 weeks later. She planned to produce the movie herself and move to Hollywood to get it done (she lived at 120 E. 34th St. in NYC). She held the same philosophy up to the end, and had the same love of life as the fictional heroes she created.

Comment by Harry Binswanger — November 7, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

I too am a huge fan of Atlas Shrugged. I am also an Ashtanga afficionado. I have never before shopped at LuluLemon – but I will make a point to go out of my way to shop there in the future! You have just gained a new customer!

Comment by RobT — November 7, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

Where can I buy your company stocks?

Comment by pooja gupta — November 7, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

I find it funny how all the “No way Ayn Rand you suck lululemon” comments are so obviously from people who have no idea what she thought.

Ayn Rand has no other sort of critic.

Comment by Seerak — November 7, 2011 @ 10:57 pm

It’s so nice to see Ayn Rand’s name rise up again and again over our culture.

One of my very favorite Ayn Rand quotes is: “Man is a being of self-made soul.” Every man and every woman has the opportunity to build a rich, happy life. Evidently, Lululemon’s founder Chip Wilson decided to take command of his life and has achieved much. I’m glad to see that many of his customers are pursuing the good life as well.

Comment by Lance Moore — November 8, 2011 @ 12:11 am

Wow. What an idea. The last time I saw Ayn Rand on a shopping bag was in 1999 when the U S Postal Service issued a 33 cent stamp in her honor. You think they’re greedy, too? Maybe Clinton, who was president then, is a closet Objectivist. After all, he did cut the welfare rolls and was re-elected.

Comment by JackDoitCrawford — November 8, 2011 @ 3:59 am

I commend Lululemon on taking such a stance. Bravo! Everytime a topic like this comes up, you immediately realize the sharp minds and the dull minds that call it “simplified” or “silly” or even “wrong and stupid.” I fully support companies like Lululemon who are not ashamed to promote greatness and rationality.

Comment by Think — November 8, 2011 @ 4:22 am

I’ve been a fan of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged (on 8th reading) since the early 80′s. I was pleased to read that Atlas inspired Chip Wilson, and that from this inspiration he created Lululemon. One of the main points of Atlas is that production is one of the highest forms of morality. Keep up the great work.

Comment by Glenn Friedman — November 8, 2011 @ 4:47 am

This is really great! I really want one of these bags, and i’m encouraged to buy more lulu.

As for the naysayers, everyone i’ve spoken to in person who professed to hate atlas shrugged hadn’t actually read it. Sometimes, they’d claim to, but when pressed on what a particular scene meant, they’d have to fess up.

Yoga & meditation helped me appreciate rand, because part of that path was questioning what i was told and the positions i’d been brought up in. At 35, i finally was able to see i didn’t have to react emotionally to someone presenting “the other side”


Comment by David Hanley — November 8, 2011 @ 6:11 am

A truly inspirational book, btw, so is “The Fountainhead” (for those with a creative spirit). Are the bags on sale now?

Comment by Elmas — November 8, 2011 @ 6:33 am

Thomas Edison, not a committee, pioneered the practical use of the electric light. Bill Gates was creating revolutionary computer code long before there was a Microsoft.

Individuals who accomplish heroic things almost always offend the conventional wisdom of their time. Galileo stubbornly insisted that the sun did NOT revolve around the earth and was severely punished by religious authorities. If you take a look at the timeline of history, you’ll see that the human race tends to move forward in spite of the pack, not because of it.

Here’s to Lululemon’s decision to stand up for what they believe.

Comment by Elmas — November 8, 2011 @ 6:37 am

FINALLY!!! A company with a good moral philosophy! From now on, I will I’ll try to patronize Lululemon’s line of men’s clothing whenever I can. Keep up the good work!

Comment by Troy — November 8, 2011 @ 6:54 am

I agree. In all my years trying to identify people’s objections to Ayn Rand’s ideas, they:

1. have a skewed pinhole understanding of what she wrote or stood for,
2. just know that she opposes the fascist/statist/enslaving governments that they desperately want to install
3. hate her simply because their hipster beatnik sloven college friend hated her too.

Just ask these slur-slingers “WHY?” and you’ll quickly witness them scurry back to the unreal intellectual void from which they sprung.

Good for LuLuLemon for defending our individual rights in a world where the largest companies of wealth-production haven’t the moral courage to stand up for their right engage in voluntary free trade, against the hordes of looters and moochers who claim empty moral superiority.

Comment by JP — November 8, 2011 @ 7:27 am

I’m so excited to see Lululemon promoting individuality and the immeasurable value of the human spirit. I’ve always loved your athletic wear, and now I love the values behind the company as well. Don’t worry about the customers saying you will lose their business, the new customers you pick up from this statement will more than make up for it!

Comment by Charise — November 8, 2011 @ 8:02 am

Hey, all you people that don’t understand the Ayn Rand philosophy, click this: http://www.imagine1day.org/

That was founded by Chip Wilson. What did you do today?

Ayn Rand’s philosophy in not about greed in the context of which you understand it. It is about the use of force, political, coercive, mob force against the rights of individuals to live their life as they see fit and without force against others.

Comment by Dave — November 8, 2011 @ 8:12 am

Very interesting post. It seems like the Rand haters are not providing any rational arguments at all, but empty assertions and personal attacks. The Rand fans seem to be offering actual ideas. I’m going to read some of Rand’s nonfiction. Thanks, Lululemon.

Comment by Kael — November 8, 2011 @ 8:33 am

Guess what, Amanda? The world has 7 billion people now because capitalism and freedom improved the life span and productivity of the 1 billion that existed in 1800. Where people live today is the result of the extreme mobility afforded us by the technological revolutions of capitalism; never was it so easy to immigrate, or to move from community to community as it is today. In pre-capitalist societies, talented industrious people were routinely obliterated, ground down, stifled; in capitalist societies today, they flourish. And “an attitude adjustment” – the attitude that their lives belong to themselves by right — is exactly what has allowed people to rise from poverty, escape conflict, and recover from widespread illness. This is indeed why America has hundreds of millions of wealthy, happy, and healthy humans headed to their next yoga class or other activity of their own choice.

Comment by John L. Pattillo — November 8, 2011 @ 9:10 am

way to be controversial and alienate people that do not want to be associated with her name. very unfortunate choice.

Comment by ks — November 8, 2011 @ 10:08 am

@Anne – You wrote that Ayn Rand held “that those who struggle should not be helped and should be allowed to fail so that only the successful survive.” This is completely false. What she held, and what she dramatized in her novel, is that everyone–from the great steel magnate to the local bus driver–prospers more when the great minds are free to innovate, and everyone suffers when they are not.

Since you seem to be referencing some kind of social Darwinism in your misstatement of Rand’s philosophy, I’ll also point out that the positive “evolution” that occurs in a free society is *not* that the weak individuals die off. It is that the ill-conceived and poorly executed *businesses* and business practices die off, favoring those that work better and bring better and cheaper goods and services to all, thus allowing the weak to survive along with the strong.

Comment by Mark — November 8, 2011 @ 10:54 am

I also read Atlas Shrugged when I was 18 and taking on my independence (from my family, and sometimes it seemed, the world). It’s been a long strange trip since then. Rand’s writing changed my views on a lot of things – and my thoughts on her ideology have changed over the years too.

I was stunned, confused and a little annoyed when I saw the question on a lululemon bag last week. Having read this post and the responses has helped a little.

Generally, I think it’s frightening and sad the way certain political factions have adopted Rand’s writings. But, she was a political person, so it’s not surprising.

If there’s a lesson to be learned I think it’s that while ideals are necessary fuel for a meaningful life – when they become rigid or exclusive they stifle innovation and growth as much as any law or desire to homogenize human behavior.

I know who John Galt is, (and Howard Roark too!) I hope that we can all learn to strive for the highest while never forgetting that we can not escape the interconnectedness of all life. In that – we must always strive also to uplift the unfortunate, the wretched, the lost, the sick and the vulnerable.

For this reason, and the unfortunate associations that have developed with Rand’s writings, I don’t think I will be reusing my new lululemon bag to take my lunch to work.


Comment by Vic Jones — November 8, 2011 @ 11:39 am

Wow! I’m very glad that you posted this and created the bag, especially because you provided a link to encourage others to read the book themselves. Excellent! I’ll definitely buy my workout clothes at your store in the future. (BTW, don’t be concerned with the inevitable firestorm of naysayers. The good always wins out in the long term.)

Comment by Jonathan Powers — November 8, 2011 @ 11:44 am

One of my all time favorite books! I almost fell over when I got this bag at the checkout. I applaud you Lulu and will be an even bigger fan now!!!

Comment by Amy — November 8, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

your PR dept needs to focus on saving your company from dumb pursuits such as these.

it’s very, very easy for people to find a new favourite yoga clothing company… and it’s very, very tough for you to recover from a misstep.

Comment by johnny yogapants — November 8, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

I was so shocked by being handed this bag today at your Portland, OR store that I literally WALKED BACK to return this horrific bag. I thought Lululemon’s principles were progressive (aren’t you based in Vancouver, BC?) but this implicit endorsement of such a perverse take on capitalism (now mind you, capitalism itself isn’t bad, but the way Ayn Rand spins it in her books is anathema to all that is human and morally sound).

What a shame: I have been a loyal customer for many years and now will no longer purchase any of your products. In this political and economic climate, I find it baffling that your company would choose such an inflammatory and offensive statement.

I have UN-liked you on facebook and no longer buying your products. Shame on you.

Comment by TDL — November 8, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

“The title of this book may evoke the kind of question that I hear once in a while: “Why do you use the word ‘selfishness’ to denote virtuous qualities of character, when that word antagonizes so many people to whom it does not mean the things you mean?”
To those who ask it, my answer is: “For the reason that makes you afraid of it.”

It is not the mere semantic issue nor a matter of arbitrary choice. The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word ‘selfishness’ is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual ‘package-deal,’ which is responsible, more than any single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
In popular usage, the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who care for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word ‘selfishness’ is: concern with one’s own interests.
This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern for one’s own interest is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests.”
– “The Virtue of Selfishness” Ayn Rand.

This is the first few paragraphs of one of Ayn Rand’s 12 works regarding the philosophy of Objectivism. She accurately predicted that many people would see the word selfish and immediately associate it with ‘evil’ or ‘bad’. She is quick to correct that we as humans inject subjective ethics into objective definitions. In other words, many of you just got owned by a dead woman who knew you would jump to conclusions based on the word she used.

Comment by LK — November 8, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

I want to point out two facts:
1) Those protesting in the streets in the Occupy “insert city here” thing are doing so because they feel their own interests (in addition to the interests of others) are not being met. They want to peruse their own interests, whatever they are. Thus, they are being selfish. They want something and they are going for it. Is that not selfish, even if they believe it will also help others?

2) I would also like to point out that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is an Objectivist:
Those of you who now refuse to buy Lululemon, will you now stop using Wikipedia? Be consistent in your logic.

Comment by LK — November 8, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

@LK – yes, those of us who refuse to buy more Lululemon are consistent in their logic. We all work with and meet those in life who do not share our political and philosophical beliefs and we learn to get along and appreciate our differences – we can’t banish or avoid all those who don’t happen to share our beliefs. If the founder of Wikipedia is an Objectivist, who cares – he has a right to his beliefs and he is not shoving his agenda down Wkipedia’s readers’ throats nor am I paying a pretty penny to read/see things I do not care to read.

The difference here is that Lululemon is a corporation, beholden to shareholders and profits, so if they choose a marketing campaign that sends a message that i and others don’t agree with, we have a right to spend our money elsewhere and support causes in which we believe. If you and others want to support Lululemon in this Randian campaign, go ahead and let Lululemon take your hard-earned money and support. But allow others to act with their voices and wallets.

Comment by TDL — November 8, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

There’s an excellent video about Any Rand on Netflix Instant Watch in which she is interviewed and cross-examined by Mike Wallace, Phil Donohue and Tom Snyder about her life and philosophy. It’s called Ayn Rand: In Her Own Words, and runs about an hour. Whether you agree or disagree with her philosophy, it’s a fascinating and entertaining hour and well worth watching.

Comment by SPM — November 9, 2011 @ 2:05 am

Are you a capitalist?
“he has a right to his beliefs”
“we have a right to spend our money elsewhere and support causes in which we believe”
“allow others to act with their voices and wallets.”
These are all clear examples of Libertarianism and of Capitalism. Yes Wales is an Objectivist; yes, you have the ability (in a free market) to choose to support the causes and businesses you want, and you voice your discontent with a company by not using or purchasing their goods. That is how a free market works; the ability to choose.
However, in a directed, centralized economy you have the illusion of choice. You have the ability to choose only from the things the government has allowed to exist. (Arguably even places like the US are not complete free market economies. I’m from Canada and ours is even less of a free market economy.)
If you do not want to buy from a particular producer, that is your choice as a free individual in a free market but the problem with your logic is you are boycotting Chip Wilson based solely on his operating philosophy. If you are going to do that to anything, you must be consistent in boycotting all others based solely on their operating philosophy, be they a charity, a business, a non-profit organization or a person. You disregard the fact that the company produces many environmentally healthy products, has a commitment to community involvement and donates to charities. In addition you forget that a corporation is not a sentient thing. It is made up of people. People with beliefs, who use those beliefs to direct their business. You look at them and say: They support Objectivism, I will not support them. Well, Wales supports Objectivism, do you support what he is doing? He is perhaps one of the most influential men alive thanks to his vision of sharing knowledge. He is a capitalist and he has offered his generation-shaping product for free! Stop thinking that just because someone owns a company that they have no greater visions; that they only care about money. It is part of why they are a business and sell their products, rather than give them away, but they do so much more than that.
In addition, Lululemon is not shoving their philosophy down your throat. They are not forcing you to believe or accept these things. They are merely expressing them, much like you are doing by posting on this forum. In addition, Lululemon is not forcing you to pay them anything. You, as an individual taking advantage of the free market, choose to give them your money or not. You choose not, which is fine; your reasoning is not.
Finally, I’d like to point out that there is no such thing as Randianism. Ayn Rand explicitly said she did not want the philosophy of Objectivism to carry her name.

Comment by LK — November 9, 2011 @ 10:49 am

To be clear, my above comment is directed at the user: TDL

Comment by LK — November 9, 2011 @ 10:50 am

I think the liberal/progressive responses proves the veracity of this post. My wife brought home this bag from Lu Lu today and I will no longer complain about how much she spends there. I’ve always loved their products and more impotently their stock. Keep up the great work and strive for greatness.

Comment by Sean — November 9, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

Kudos to Lululemon for making the world more aware of a great piece of fiction, as well as a great philosopher.

Comment by John Paquette — November 9, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

I read Atlas Shrugged at 14, 45 years ago and the works of Ayn Rand remain the single most important discovery of my life. I’ve never heard of this company, but they just put themselves on my radar with this bald statement of commitment to the rational. From my perspective, this is a unique marketing approach capable of hooking some of the most rabidly passionate people on the planet. Assuming that it was probably not adopted out of such a motive but out of the expansive love of life that motivates one to scream messages of joy from rooftops, it gives us a tiny, momentary glimpse of a better, happier world.

Comment by William — November 9, 2011 @ 4:25 pm

You are your worth. Thanks Chip!

Comment by Jaimie — November 9, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

Lululemon and Ayn Rand together. Boy, the world is a wonderful place.

Comment by Jesse McCarthy — November 11, 2011 @ 10:54 am

Just like any author, especially philosophical authors, there will be components with which you agree or disagree.
There are Kantian thinkers that have spent their entire lives examining and reviewing his writings who still don’t believe some of the things he said. Rand was an extremist, and like many extremists she was blinded by her hate of certain organizations or entities.

Rand makes some valid points about the state of society in which being above average is often viewed with disdain. On the other hand, she carried many of her concepts vastly too far.
Capitalism really isn’t a philosophy.
Libertarianism is.
If you’d like to read something that presents the concepts of social interaction and personal responsibility, try out Stranger in a Strange Land or Beyond This Horizon by Heinlein.
Or look into Communitarianism and/or Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.

Comment by Ken — November 11, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

I hadn’t heard of LuLuLemon until a friend (and fellow Rand-brat) sent me the description and link. Congratulations on becoming one of a growing number of businesses and individuals who are standing up for every individual’s right to live and to thrive, in a world that’s pushing hard for universal serfdom (Medievalist throwbacks who have the audacity to call their opponents “conservative” – amazing. 8^)

We are living in a corporatist mixed economy, not a capitalist system, but every business like LuLuLemon that embraces the moral philosophy at the root of business (ergo of human life,) is an inspiration to the rest of us and a decisive step back in the direction of our long-lost liberties.

Congratulations on joining the company of Rand-inspired businesses and businesspeople such as: John Aglialoro of Cybex Fitness International, Bally’s founder Frank Bond, T.J. Rogers of Cypress Semiconductor, Ken Iverson of Nucor Steel, Ralph Lauren, the late astronaut Kalpana Chawla of the Challenger crew, economists George Reisman and Walter Williams, sports stars such as baseball great Cal Ripken Jr., fellow Oriole Brady Anderson, Milton Bradley of the Oakland A’s, Scott Rolen of the Cardinals, the NFL’s Adam Vinatieri, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, tennis greats Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert, entertainers such as Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Jim Carrey, Tom Selleck, Sandra Bullock, Christina Ricci, Jill St. John, Raquel Welch, Phoebe Cates, Rob Lowe, Ashley Judd, Eva Mendes, Michelle Williams, Steven Spielberg, Vince Vaughn, Penn Jillette, Neil Peart, Mick Fleetwood, Simon LeBon, Paul Gilbert, Vincent Herring, Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, Mickey Spillane, Kerry O’Quinn Kay Nolte Smith, Ira Levin, James Clavell, Robert Heinlein, Camille Paglia, Salman Rushdie, John Stossel, to name a few.

The number or quality of people who embrace a given body of ideas is not an argument for its validity, of course; the reason it remains the core of my worldview some two decades since I began studying the philosophy of her and others, is because I have never encountered a valid argument against any significant element of it, yet I see concrete evidence of it in every headline.

So congratulations too on gaining a new customer: Me. (I’m happy to discover that there’s a LuLuLemon store just down the road too.)

And congratulations on offending the easily-offended – always a worthwhile and entertaining activity. 8^)

Comment by SakeBitoSan — November 11, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

Wake-up people. Ayn Rand has NOTHING to do with Yoga. She was a fascistic capitalist who would both laugh at and scorn any yoga practice or yogic thought.

It’s appalling that you’re not connecting with her actual message and tainting the basic precepts of a selfless practice.

Comment by ea — November 11, 2011 @ 8:56 pm

Awesome! I love Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I wish more people would read it – ACTUALLY read it. Thanks, Lululemon. Your products and guiding principles are great!,

Comment by adam larson — November 11, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

Even if you’re suspicious of Ayn Rand’s ideas or know about them and disagree, they deserve respect, and so does lululemon for having the courage to communicate them.

There is a lot of vitriol spewed about Ayn Rand, but a solid majority of what you hear about her ideas is patently untrue. Ignore the shrieking attacks – it’s merely some weak-minded, obnoxious people acting rudely and dishonestly. It’s great to see a successful organization stand up for what it believes in despite what so many people have to say about those ideas.

I urge you to go out and read Ayn Rand’s daring, original – and deeply entertaining – work for yourself. If you disagree with her philosophy you’ll still come out smarter and with broader intellectual horizons.

Comment by Derick — November 11, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

I really, deeply admire lululemon for making this product and this post. Not primarily because I think Ayn Rand’s work is good (though I do) but because of the tremendous conviction it shows that you risked alienating your target market to stand up for your beliefs.

I’ll do my very best to make up for those sorry ignorant and/or dishonest souls who say they won’t shop here any more. I’ve never purchased anything at lululemon before in my life but now I’m going to as often as I can, and encourage everyone I know to do the same.

Comment by Derick — November 11, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

Like William, I am a stranger to this company but thrilled to see someone with the courage to challenge the sickening status quo in our culture. Bravo!

Comment by Curtis Plumb — November 12, 2011 @ 12:26 am

I cannot describe how shocked I was to see these words on a lululemon bag. Ayn Rand does not just argue in favor of personal excellence and innovation. She also believes that the poor are just lazy, and that core human values like compassion are actually somehow evil. In a time like this, when we are struggling with unusually high unemployment and increasing poverty–not, I’d like to note, because workers insist on exorbitant wages, as Rand would have said–it is in incredibly poor taste to start placing her message on yoga bags.

Lululemon generates some of its corporate image–and revenue–from yoga culture. While yoga as most of us know it has little to do with its Buddhist origins, it is a practice fundamentally rooted in the notion of bringing the individual to greater peace. I have frequently heard instructors say that creating peace in the heart through yoga enables us to behave with more compassion in daily life.

Whether or not this is true, I think it is safe to say that there is a basic conflict between the values of yoga and the values espoused by Ayn Rand. (I’d also say there’s a conflict between Atlas Shrugged and basic human kindness, but that’s another matter).

The bottom line: By writing ‘Who is John Galt?’ on bags, you are associating your company with the values of Ayn Rand–not just the ones you like. I find her values morally horrifying, and so I do not think I will ever buy lululemon products again.

Comment by Laurien — November 12, 2011 @ 5:05 am

The people attacking the author of this post, Rand, and now Lulu have just shown themselves to be exactly the kind of person Rand exposes in her book. They preach selflessness, but are actually exactly the kind of person they pretend to hate.

Rand illustrated the virtue of pursuing rational self-interest. Would we have computers and iPod’s were it not for Bill Gates and Steve Jobs pursuing their self-interests? They sure as hell didn’t build their companies out of a sense of charity.

The human spirit, free from social and economic control by government, has produced miracles. Rand celebrated this, so does Lulu. Pity so many people have so much hate for one woman that it blinds them to that one simple fact.

Comment by Chris — November 12, 2011 @ 6:55 am

Atlas Shrugged and the ideas suggested within are utter hog-wash.
Okay, here are a few realities:
1. Not everyone is going to be able to rise from poverty. The reality is that corporations need those people to be in poverty. If we were all able to chase our dreams and be whatever we wanted, there would be no road paving crews, no garbage men, no sewer maintenance workers and no one to sew yoga clothes for wages which would be criminal in the actual countries that those same clothes are sold.
2. Corporations have proven time and again that they can’t be trusted to do ‘what is best for all’. Corporations are quite happy to poison and harm if it means a greater profit margin. There are countless examples of this. Heck, look at the state of the economy in the last 5 years. That situation was essentially manufactured by businesses which knew that they are selling garbage as gold.
3. Atlas Shrugged is an okay book, but it isn’t all that great. Seriously, a 50+ page monologue that is utter masturbation and repetition?
4. All of the people who have posted here have, in one form or another, greatly benefited from socialism. You don’t think that you like it, but some of you would have ended up on the street, homeless if it wasn’t for social programs.

No one expects any business person to run their company like a charity. The mere suggestion is absurd, but they should be expected to operate it in a moral and ethical fashion.

I will not be purchasing lululemon products.

Comment by Asha — November 12, 2011 @ 11:49 am

why does my workout wear have to come with a political or philosophical statement? I just want some quality running pants that make my ass look great.

Comment by Claire — November 12, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

Count me as another customer who will not be spending money at Lululemon this holiday season. I have a feeling the free market is about to teach lulu a lesson in branding.

Comment by Anon — November 12, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

Count me as a customer who WILL be spending money at Lululemon. Brava for the excellence ethic. Bravo for standing behind your beliefs and making them real.

Comment by Lucy — November 12, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

Ok, I am embarrassed to admit that I have not…yet…read the book, but did see the movie and thought it was an intriguing concept. Having been raised in a socialist country throughout my adolescence, I have seen first hand how the very important social safety nets can and will be abused to the detriment of individual freedom. Thanks Lulu for inspiring us to reach further. Oh, plus I’ve been living in your stretchy pants for the past 3 years and they have not failed me yet, so yes I will gladly pay $100. Just keep up the great quality and there will always be a market for you. Thank you.

Comment by Dimitra — November 12, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

Nothing but anarcho-capitalism. This thinly veiled political garbage is offensive and completely unnecessary. I liked lululemon products but I will not longer be buying them as this makes me pretty damn uncomfortable. I hope people see this campaign for what it is, libertarian trash.

Comment by Lara — November 12, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

Good golly. I believe I speak for a certain section of the commenters here in saying that the naive yoga-doing Rand enthusiasts need to take their well-toned bums out of the studio and spend a little more time in the real world amongst those not blessed with being self-consciously awesome and making a fine profit off of it at the expense of society’s most vulnerable. And if you insist on being annoyingly obsessed with a fantasy book, may I recommend Lord of the Rings?

Comment by Frodo — November 12, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

Oh dear. Bad decision Lulu. Rand is more than than ultra-conservative, she’s borderline fascist. Stick to the yoga and stay clear of the politics. And no, it isn’t possible to read Rand apolitically. Her writing constitutes a political manifesto and a particularly nasty one at that.

Comment by Andrew — November 13, 2011 @ 10:31 am

I had never been to Lululemon before but shopped there with my daughter yesterday. Imagine my surprise when the yoga pants she purchased were given to us in a bag that says: “Who is John Galt?”

When I asked the sales woman if that was a reference to Atlas Shrugged she said yes and told me it refers to striving for your best and not settling. I asked her if she’d ever read the book because that is not a very good summary of the book’s very complex ideology. She just smiled.

Perhaps you should make reading the book a prerequisite for your employees so they know what they are promoting. I have read Atlas Shrugged several times, and while there are parts of the book that are compelling and interesting, the emphasis on selfishness and greed seems antithetical to your brand. Do you really think John Galt and Dagny Taggart got together for yoga class?

Comment by Carroll — November 13, 2011 @ 11:11 am

Thankfully, the joke that is Atlas Shrugged can now be seen in video form for those unwilling to bear through the tedious 1000+ pages of the book, so everyone can “enjoy” the philosophy from those who never grew out of the self-important teenager phase.

Comment by Jane Galt — November 13, 2011 @ 11:53 am

I went into Lululemon for the first time today.

I loved the service and the store and the products. I excitedly went to buy two pants. Then I saw the disgusting “Who is John Galt” bag. I refused the bag and left the store.

Later I just felt too disgusted by the right wing cr@p that Lululemon was pushing. I knew that I had to go back and return the pants.

Now, I will never ever go back to Lululemon.

Comment by Roger Fried — November 13, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

So disappointing and creepy to see this company endorsing – and celebrating – in this trite and superficial reading of rand’s work, the principles of greed, individualism and unrestrained free-market capitalism (in other words, the ideology of neo-liberalism, which is responsible for the dire circumstances the world is facing economically). It seems clear that for lulu lemon yoga is an appropriation – an activity that has been emptied of all the cultural and spiritual content – to be used as a lever to sell product and make someone wealthy. Why else would this company so freely be endorsing such an anachronistic philosophical position, but for profit?

The reality is your ‘imagination’, ‘creativity’ and profits are ALL enabled by the “looters” or workers whose labour you exploit for a pittance. Endorsing rand and her ideas while millions are losing their homes, living without health care, unable to afford school or the basic necessities of life (and while the social safety net that could *actually* help these people choose to live better lives is being dismantled) is callously condescending.

I will never buy a lulu lemon product again, and will strongly counsel everyone I know to never purchase from this company as well.

Comment by Opolis — November 13, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

Wow. I have read (err…tried to read without pulling all my hair out) Atlas shrugged. Yes, I am a socialist. I was a socialist in the 80′s during the cold war and I’m a socialist now. I’m not sure how I feel about lulu lemon announcing their political/philosophical leanings. I drink Coca Cola. Love the stuff. Tried to find more social friendly substitutes, but still end up slinking back. Will I continue to shop at lulu lemon? Probably.
The one thing I’m surprised no one has mentioned is what happened to A.R. at the end of her life. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I read that she was not wealthy at the end and could not afford her own medical costs. In fact, she was using MEDICARE. That’s right folks, a socialist government hand out. Ms. A.R. was a hypocrite. So, I’m extremely confused why any corporation would want to associate themselves with that in such a public fashion.

ps I shopped at lulu lemon when it was a little shop on the second floor of a 2 story walk up on 4th Ave in Vancouver.

Comment by Shana — November 13, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

Someone who thinks rand was a fascist either has no idea what she’s about, or no idea what a fascist is. One of the two pillars of fascism is a strong state intervening in the nation’s economy, exactly the pooposit of what rand espoused.

It’s not very yogic to lie and slander to demonize someone, people.

Comment by David Hanley — November 13, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

Rand never said Capitalism was a philosophy. Objectivism was her philosophy. Capitalism was the economic system used within the philosophy of Objectivism.

Comment by LK — November 13, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

@ Andrew
Bahahaha!!! Ayn Rand a fascist? Please, surely you jest. Please read the following:
“Fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government. Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means “property” without the right to use it or dispose of it. It means that the citizen retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.”
Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 226
You may read the definitions of Fascism, Socialism, and Statism (all unique) Rand used in her book. They can be found in the American College Dictionary, New York, 1957 (forgive her, she didn’t have the 2011 version which obviously replaced the definitions with Objectivism = Fascism.) My point being, that Rand’s philosophy called for the absolute minimum government interference in the lives of the citizens. They protected the property owner (your body is also your property), and set out a few basic rules to prevent fraud. In addition, why would Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism support an ideal which supports the idea that a man has no control over what he owns? I fail to see your connection.

In addition, ea, you may wish to read Ch 17 of The Virtue of Selfishness entitled simply: Racism. A sample:
“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism, It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage – the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced by his internal body chemistry.”
Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 147
Somehow I do not see how the link you posted and the ideas held therein have any validity on the philosophy of Objectivism.

Comment by LK — November 13, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

@ Anon
It would be ironic and hypocritical if you used an economic system you do not support to attempt to punish someone who does support it.
I’m not saying you do or do not support the free market, I’m just saying that if you didn’t, it would be very funny.

Comment by LK — November 13, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

@ Asha
Sure, not everyone is going to be able to rise out of poverty, but Rand never said everyone ever would. She said people /can/ raise themselves out of poverty. Not necessarily on their own but through their mutual interaction with other individuals. Humans have potential but just because you chase something does not automatically mean you will get it. In addition, how do you know some people don’t want to be road pavers, garbage men and sewer maintenance workers? Just because it does not appeal to you does not mean it does appeal to others. And actually yes, people would still work for low wages because it is better than not getting anything at all. In many countries where clothing is made, the government inflates currency thus rendering saving impossible. This means the people do not have economic mobility because no matter how much money they have it is worth less and less. However, usually American companies still pay higher than local companies.
Time and time again people have proven that they can’t be trusted to do ‘what is best for all.’ That’s why the government crams it down our throats! Yay for the nanny-state (sarcasm). As to businesses being the source of the ‘state of the economy,’ might I remind you that it was the American Federal government that created the scenario where banks and other mortgage companies had to give out risky loans. A business, not wanting to lose money on what it knew were risky loans, had to take measures to protect itself. I don’t think what they did was good, but they would not have chosen to do it had the government not put them in such a situation. As for Greece, well, a country can only last so long when over half of the population works in the public sector. No new money is coming in if you have to import everything and all the money is just getting circled around.
Yes and Marx’s philosophy books were just riveting! The Communist Manifesto isn’t a 96 (give or take) page book repeating its ideals over and over again ad nauseam. The same could be said about Rousseau’s Social Contract and it’s approximate 200 page volume. Oh my god, it’s a philosophy book, heaven forbid they actually write about their philosophy! I also don’t see many people complaining about Shakespeare’s flowery language. That man took 50 words to say what could be said in 2! 
(And actually, Galt’s monologue is 75 pages long).
A lot of people who have posted here have, in one form or another, benefitted from slavery and the taking of land from aboriginal peoples. I fail to see your point as to how just because people have benefitted from something that that automatically makes it good, or demands that they accept it. “The man who trades liberty for security deserves neither.” – Benjamin Franklin
I agree! All men (as men make up businesses and corporations) should conduct themselves in a moral and ethical fashion. Ayn Rand said a man should conduct himself as a moral individual. Once again, people are using ideas thinking Objectivism does not support them, when in fact it does.

Comment by LK — November 13, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

@ Lara
Ayn Rand wasn’t anarchist. She was just for a very basic framework. Also, there’s a difference between being offended and something being offensive.

Comment by LK — November 13, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

@ Frodo
I’m a poor student who has never done Yoga in my life. I’m also rather nervous about entering the work force in the coming months because I know what the real world is like beyond these protected walls that make up the post secondary institution. There are aspects of Rand’s philosophy I am still grappling with and some which I do not agree with, however, if left leaners and communists are allowed to drool over Marx books, then we must be willing to afford the same to those of all political stripes.

Comment by LK — November 13, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

I’m sure everyone working at lululemon is making exactly as much money as they would choose.

Also: WOW! Chip Wilson is a truly great man for founding this trendy/expensive yoga shop. Right up there with Alexander.

Comment by Michael — November 13, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

It is unfortunate that such a fantastical and well-written novel could be hated in so many different ways. But that is just what it is–fantastical in its plot and its content, and well-written by a truly esteemed author.

I do not agree with the politically ideology emphasized in the book. However, I was inspired when I initially read the book (at 18 as well). Starting college, I thought that a world in which I could create and build anything was truly fantastic. I have continued to strive for success. My views of hard work have not changed — I believe you receive what you put in. However I still do not agree with the politically ideology emphasized in the book.

The novel is Ayn Rand’s response to an extreme communist movement. It has sparked and will continue to spark controversy over any field it covers. It is a tool for politicians and extremists. Those who are against it will curse its name and never hear another word about it. Those who are for it will shove it down the others throats. Is there a middle ground?

I just don’t know what lululemon’s role is here.

I understand why lululemon and specifically Chip Wilson was and remains to be inspired by the book. That being said, I do not agree with its endorsement. Taken apolitically, the book becomes a message of hard work and dedication. Of course, It is impossible to take it that way and leave Ayn Rand’s social ideologies at the door.

Of course, those who choose to leave lululemon will have little to no affect on the company’s overall stock portfolio. However, it is still disappointing to imagine any member of the lululemon family bing okay with offending them — especially when the company has been so ruthlessly built on a stance of love and community. The store has always promoted health, vitality, community, dedication, hard-work, and prosperity. I just hope It will continue to do so.

I wish it didn’t have to be alongside radicals in either direction: those disparaging the members of the lululemon family who advocate social programs, and those criticizing the company’s wealth and success. I wish lululemon didn’t choose to make a talking point the focus of the current trend season. However we are all growing and all learning. Maybe next time they will leave political theory to those not selling black stretchy pants.

Comment by Devin — November 13, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

Bye bye, Lululemon. With this post, you have confirmed my decision never to purchase another thing from you.

Comment by Rodney — November 13, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

This posts represents such an incredibly juvenile understanding of a book with selfishness and hatred at its heart. I can’t believe Lulu built an advertising campaign around it! I’m not willing to shop at a company that supports this kind of philosophy, but personally, I would be ashamed to carry one of these bags in public, on the off chance some tea-partier would think I agreed with them and try to talk to me.

Comment by Jolene — November 14, 2011 @ 3:23 am

Sad that a company that makes money by appropriating Hindu spirituality associates itself with a woman who worshiped money above all else.

If you believe in things like InSite, bike lanes, environmental regulations and universal health care, know that Ayn Rand spent her life opposing those types of ideals. She wanted a government that catered to corporations instead of people.

If Lulu wants to associate their brand with the idea of “elevating mediocrity to greatness”, they could have done it without invoking a novel that stands against the principles that Canadians are so proud of and worked so hard to achieve.

I know I won’t be buying anything from Lululemon, and I’ll be letting my friends know the types of conservative and regressive principles this company stands for.

Comment by Mike — November 14, 2011 @ 4:22 am


You must not know any liberals if you think they “drool over Marx books,” and they certainly don’t quote Marx on their shopping bags. There’s nothing on the left that even comes close to paralleling the bizarre popularity Rand’s terribly-written ode to selfishness has achieved among conservatives.

Comment by Frank — November 14, 2011 @ 5:42 am

Fantastic. Bravo for having the integrity to publicly espouse one of your value systems.

I support you, both figuratively and literally.

Looking forward to additional, hilarious thought-suppression posts from enlightened progressives (oxymoron quota achieved with that phrase). Embrace diversity!

Comment by Tim — November 14, 2011 @ 5:48 am

Wow, pushing the writing of a woman who advocated the death penalty for those born with a sexual orientation different than here’s. Ayn Rand wasn’t just the writer of teenage level strawman centric fiction, she was also a hatemonger. Hard to believe that a company based in a country with such strong progressive values in regards to homosexuality would promote someone who wanted the government to slaughter anyone who felt love for a member of the same sex.

Comment by JasonK — November 14, 2011 @ 5:49 am

Objectivism is the trumpet-call of the rich straight white people, perfect for the Lululemon target market.
I’m through with this company. The terrible slogans all of the place was bad enough, but supporting the most selfish philosphy in Western society is the last straw.

Comment by Cait — November 14, 2011 @ 6:46 am

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Comment by Mike — November 14, 2011 @ 6:57 am

Umm…. no. John Galt is a fictional being fetishizing all that is “good” about greed, self-interest, and callousness. I’ve read the book, even the sleazy scenes; it’s a very long apologia for those who have inherited their wealth (Dagny Taggart) and those who feel their skills make them better than others (Howard Roark).

I will admit it’s a very powerful book in the sense that it continually reminds me of the values of humility, compassion and empathy, increasingly so as Miss Rand’s hypocritical life and shallow philosophy are being hagiographied today.

Never, ever mistake a few lucky breaks in life as being one of the elite.

Comment by Feebs — November 14, 2011 @ 6:59 am

Voice from next door: “Help me! Help me!”
John Galt: “Help yourself, or die.”

Comment by glat — November 14, 2011 @ 7:11 am

Painfully, embarrassingly privileged.

Comment by maggie — November 14, 2011 @ 7:26 am

Yoga literally means ‘yoke’. The practise is about becoming one with the universe, neither above or below anything else, simply equal with it. The philosophy from which it comes emphasizes humbleness, patience, empathy and a detactment from material things.

Lululemon is about paying $120 for sweat pants that make you look cute and that you only wear when you drive to a coffee shop in your SUV because walking would take to long. When you get there you can pull out your copy of Ayn Rand and feel smug about how you place higher than everything else in the universe, thanks to luck, privilege and the suffering of others.

Comment by John — November 14, 2011 @ 7:49 am

Ewww. I honestly thought those ‘John Galt’ bags were satirical. In fact I thought this blog was satirical at first too. You’ve just lost me as a customer.

Comment by highwater — November 14, 2011 @ 8:05 am

Two points from the lululemon “manifesto” do not quite fit with the desire stated in this post, the desire to create a personal “vacuum of brilliance”:

* Friends are more important than money.
* The pursuit of happiness is the source of all unhappiness.

Just sayin’.


Comment by Contra — November 14, 2011 @ 8:14 am

Well well. Overpriced quasi-fascist “yoga” wear? You’ve jumped the shark fellas.

Comment by Ron — November 14, 2011 @ 8:41 am

Funny, I thought Ayn Rand was awesome when I was 13 and sheltered from the real world. Now that I’ve lived a bit, I’ve developed a philosophical system capable of understanding the world in the shades of gray that it comes in.

It is hardly ironic people who disagree with Ayn Rand to avoid purchasing Lululemon products. Ayn Rand does not hold a monopoly on capitalism. And if you honestly think that either you’re with Ayn Rand (and capitalism), or you’re a socialist, maybe it’s time you grow up, stop watching Fox News, and maybe read something that isn’t produced by Libertarian die-hards.

Comment by Ashton — November 14, 2011 @ 9:30 am

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. – Author Unknown

Comment by Charles Bear — November 14, 2011 @ 9:33 am

Annnnd this ensures that I will never buy another lululemon product again.

Duh, such an incredibly dumb, damaging idea for your brand. Who’s holding the reins over there? You might want to hand them over to an adult.

As Amanda so perfectly put it, “I’ll take my workout gear without naive freshman-year analysis next time.”

Comment by Jen — November 14, 2011 @ 9:50 am

It looks like Lululemon created a discussion where people are THINKING. Good for them. Companies sprinkling their products with philosophy is nothing new, and the tag lines are everywhere. Even speaking to socio-political causes. Ayn Rand’s character, John Galt, obviously has touched a nerve, not because of Rand’s humanistic ideology called Objectivism, but probably more because of the way she may be used in the current political arena, as polarized as it is. With the Occupy Movement in view, the tensions are even more high.

I’m not a Humanist. I’m not an Objectivist. I even realize the limitation of Rand’s philosophies (and even in her own life), but the book is considered one of the greatest manifesto’s of all time, a literary classic and Rand’s Magnum Opus. The way the company used the mysterious “Who is John Galt” is perfectly in the bound of exercising their own right to express themselves. Consumers can do what I do with a great number of companies — buy their product despite not agreeing with their philosophy, or they can just quit buying their product if they so choose. It’s a beautiful decision we have.

At the very least, it has us talking, thinking and even if it’s just hot air blowing and ranting all in vain, then I’d say their marketing is working.

So whether it’s New Age, Liberalism, Socialism, Capitalism, Individualism, Collectivism, whatever “ism” it is, it’s not new to marketing, and will continue to be around for a long time.

Comment by James Wilder — November 14, 2011 @ 9:51 am

@Ashton I enjoy when people who disagree with others just demean them and tell them to “grow up.” Some of the most brilliant — and mature minds I know, are those who would disagree with you. Likewise, there are many who are brilliant, mature and full of wisdom with positions that I’d disagree with. So I see much folly in belittling a position with a blanket personal attack and telling them to “grow up.” It hardly speaks to anything substantively. You’re only establishing another of Rand’s characters when you do that (those who say so much but really say nothing at all).

Comment by James Wilder — November 14, 2011 @ 9:57 am

As a Christian, I obviously find myself at a crossroads with Rand’s philosophy. As one with an opinion of the role of government, I see it as a parable of sorts, exposing some of the dangers of putting power in the hands of the incompetent. So it’s possible to have a government opinion and still be compassionate, concerned for those that are without, etc. It’s all about having different solutions and ideas for what is best to resolve those injustices.

But the virtues of selflessness, justice, feeding the hungry and taking care of the marginalized are all concepts foreign to Rand. That said, I think the ideology Rand posits in the book is broad enough for a company to appeal to it if it chooses. Humanism is popular in the West, liberal or conservative. “The power is within you,” et al.

Comment by James Wilder — November 14, 2011 @ 10:08 am

When I first saw the “who is John Galt” bag I was thrilled. I will continue to shop at Lululemon and I will do so with pride.

Comment by Rebecca — November 14, 2011 @ 10:13 am

Thanks for this post. Now I can immediately begin shopping elsewhere.

Comment by MBowers — November 14, 2011 @ 10:26 am

Now I have this mental image of a jovial Ayn Rand stretching on a yoga mat designed to look like a dollar bill and saying “Eat healthy! Enjoy life! Dance! Smile! Drink green tea! It has antioxidants!” and then giving you a thumbs-up.

Really, now. Lululemon sells overpriced yoga clothing. That’s it. Nothing revolutionary. Buying their products won’t make your life any less mediocre, and if you’re willing to dish out $100+ for a plain old t-shirt made in China because its brand espouses some loosy-goosy “philosophy” (regardless of whether you agree with it or not), then your life is probably fairly mediocre anyway.

Comment by Alexandra — November 14, 2011 @ 11:14 am

Lululemon: Mediocre products for mediocre people, made special because they espouse a poorly thought out philosophy that arose in opposition to the USSR without much in the way of redeeming qualities. Seems like Lululemon knows their market!

Comment by ben — November 14, 2011 @ 11:35 am

I like the Lululemon merchandise, but this is the last time I will buy something from you. Your “philosophy” before was merely childish: now it’s execrable.

Comment by BLM — November 14, 2011 @ 11:47 am

“elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness”

I was thinking about this quote last night, and I kept thinking about more appropriate was to make this statement than invoking Ayn Rand of all people.

Why not use Gandhi? Someone who achieved greatness in the real world through unity, compassion and love.

Rand wrote books about divisiveness, greed and self-interest. I can’t think of anything more contrary to yogic principles.

Comment by Mike — November 14, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

Alexandra — well said! Haaa..

Though I happen to think the quality of product that Lululemon puts out is excellent. Does it fit the price tag? Probably not. But here we are paying for it anyway.

(p.s. Rand on a yoga mat — thanks for the mental image)

Comment by James Wilder — November 14, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

This makes me happy I’ve never bought anything from this company.

Comment by Cheryl — November 14, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

Ugh. I like the sports bra I got here. Unfortunately, however, the philosophy of Ayn “Patron Saint of Wall Street” Rand is fundamentally incompatible with any society that has aspirations beyond feudalism, so I’m done with this chain. Maybe once this would have come off as silly and pathetic, but the people who believe in this stuff have done too much damage. If anybody can recommend a sports bra made by a company that is not quite so sociopathic, I’m in the market. Made in the USA would be nice.

Comment by Amanda — November 14, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

James, is an ideology really a kind of “humanism” if it only supports one human and says to hell with the rest?

Comment by Amanda — November 14, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

Thank you for this post. I will never set foot inside a lululemon again.

Comment by gmr — November 14, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

As many others have stated, thanks for opening up on your philosophical roots, and now I am going to shop elsewhere.

Objectivism was panned when she originally wrote Atlas Shrugged for good reason, the fact that people seem to think that times have changed to make it more relevant today is beyond me.

Comment by Troy — November 14, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

James, people are talking, but many of them are talking about NOT BUYING their products. And many of those talking about NOT BUYING their products, myself included, have shared this on facebook, twitter, and other social media, effectively alienating a large group of potential buyers. That might be one thing for a politician, “standing up for their beliefs”, but it’s quite another for a company that is trying to sell overpriced work out gear.

You mentioned the Occupy movement.Uh, hello? Anyone at lululemon happen to notice the WORLD WIDE Occupy movement, the housing crisis, the financial crisis, etc., etc. I can’t believe they would be so tone-deaf.

Whatever you think about Ayn Rand and Objectivism, and I think where I stand is pretty clear, it’s not a smart marketing strategy.

Comment by Jen — November 14, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

I agree with commenters who prefer compassion, rather than judgment, with their yoga. While I laud Lululemon’s honesty for coming out of the closet as objectivists who oppose a social welfare state, I think my hard-earned dollars will do better supporting a company with views more closely aligned with my own.

Comment by Deborah — November 14, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

“Who’s holding the reins over there? You might want to hand them over to an adult.” ha-ha-ha, So true!

Saw this article on metafilter today. Shared it with my yoga classmates who all just about puked.

Comment by mary — November 14, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

Amanda — This form of humanism is most definitely of the same variety, granted to an extreme. In the article above, it seems that Lululemon is clinging to part of that message, and not really the whole.

From the above article:
“While the plot in the book may sound radical and far-fetched, we place many of these constraints and limitations on ourselves which impede us from living our best lives. Think about it: we are all born with magical machines, aka human bodies, able to think, jump, laugh and run. We are able to control our careers, where we live, how much money we make and how we spend our days through the choices we make. Of course, there are situations sometimes where we aren’t able to control what happens to us. Life can be hard, challenging and unfair. What we can control, however, is our reaction. We can choose to rise up and be great.”

This seems to be the element of Rand’s philosophy Lululemon embraces the most. That humans have more control and power, creativity and genius than they sometimes behave.

On the subject of Objectivism, which I do not espouse personally, I’m not sure it says “to hell with the rest,” (though I can see why you’d say that. If Rand was in this discussion, she’d say other alternatives are “to hell with the rest of you,” and she’d point to her manifesto (Atlas Shrugged) as her solution to the problem. Is it selfish? Certainly. And Rand pulls no punches about the “beauty of selfishness.” I don’t buy it. But… I’ve been a consumer of organizations that have supported viewpoints and philosophies much more controversial than that. To each his own…. if this were a cheaper product and not stigmatized with the Pretentious Elite, as some of the comments above have articulated, this may be a different “controversy.” Maybe.

I’ve enjoyed reading through the comments either way, and I plan to continue shopping at Lululemon. Not because they inform my philosophical viewpoints, but because they make a damn good product.

As for Atlas Shrugged — for better or worse, the book is a literary classic, and part of a conversation and dialogue that future generations will continue to have.

Comment by James Wilder — November 14, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

Wow. Guess I’ll save money also by shopping elsewhere! Rearden metal doesn’t make very nice yoga gear.

Comment by no longer a teenager — November 14, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

Harry Binswanger: So being one of Ayn Rands friends, I have to ask the following: Are all sociopaths good at hiding it, or are their friends just poor judges of character?

Comment by Ashton — November 14, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

I for one will be shouting from the rooftops to anyone who’ll listen that Lululemon has come out in support of Ayn Rand. I’d say the MAJORITY of the individuals that wear your product detest her philosophy. I look forward to the company’s quick demise. Link to a knock-off site anyone?

Comment by Simon — November 14, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

Great. Now that I know that Lululemon aligns itself with right wing elitism I’ll shop elsewhere.

Comment by ryan — November 14, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

It’s truly amazing how utterly naive the Rand haters are. Without reading her, they have adopted a lot of “opinions” that bear no relation to reality. Let me name two from the posts here: 1) She is “borderline fascist”. I hear this a lot from people who clearly cannot define fascism which is the concentration of political and economic power. Given her defense of laissez-faire capitalism–and her absolute abhorence of governmental intervention in the marketplace, Rand is as absolutely an “anti-fascist” as it is possible to be. 2) “[Rand wanted the death penalty for gays]” Wow. Made that one up in it’s entirety. I don’t recall seeing a single word about homosexuality in all her works–and I have read them all, many times. Don’t recall her ever mentioning the death penalty. She did recommend eating small children, of course…such hate-mongers out there, with absolutely no idea what Rand says but hating blindly that which is well beyond their comprehension.

Comment by William — November 14, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

Wow. I guess I’ll take Lululemon off my xmas wish list. Way to be monsters.

Comment by Justin S — November 14, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

@ Frank
Depends what you mean by liberals. I cannot properly answer the question unless I know. By a basic definition of Liberalism, I am considered a liberal as I hold the values of the freedom of the individual and support capitalism. Please give a more exact definition of ‘liberal’ in order for me to more accurately detail approximately how many individuals I know. However, I never used the term liberal to begin with.

My first comment is: if any shall stereotype those who support Objectivism then why do you suddenly rush to their aid when I stereotype them? Did you read the post user Frodo made?

While yes, Marx was the first that came to mind and perhaps not the best of selections, I would not go as far as to say that the those who I named in my previous post, particularly communists and those of the left-leaning government and economic variants, do not have some strange obsession with philosophers and their ideals. For example, how often do the words ‘You have a social contract’ get used by those above mentioned groups? You may not realize it (but perhaps I am wrong), but you got that from Rousseau. And his ideas have been touted, although not in his name, as the foundations upon which the above mentioned groups are built. So no, I disagree that it is only Rand who receives such attention.

Oh, and a final thought that just came to mind. How often is Ghandi quoted on bags? And those are sold. Lululemon is giving theirs away! Hmmmm………
Just to show a few. I particularly like the last link.

So please stop thinking Lululemon is alone in this and that supporters of Objectivism are the only ones who talk about their ideals or bring them into their business practices. Funny how many here were happy to buy from them before they knew this. Isn’t ignorance bliss?

Comment by LK — November 14, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

Good on you Lululemon, with this post, you have confirmed my decision to continue purchasing items from you.

Comment by Sean Bellamy McNulty — November 14, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

You just lost another customer. It really sucks because I quite like your clothing. I even owned stock in the company (sold for a profit, but no that still doesn’t make me a fan of Ayn Rand). Thanks for the nice clothing and good return on the stock, but your political views are depressing and disconcerting. I’m Canadian and I was so proud of Lulu Lemon.

Comment by Vanessa — November 14, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

Or as Paul Krugman said:

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Comment by Chris — November 14, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

This is so depressing! I used to like the clothes here, but no way can I buy things from this place again. Atlas Shrugged is basically a bajillion page justification for uncontrolled greed. Not my personal philosophy at all!

Comment by BarelyYogi — November 14, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

Ayn Rand’s work on Objectivism, especially Atlas Shrugged, is an attempt to justify “the pursuit of one’s own happiness or rational self-interest” over the needs of others.

For a company so tied to yoga to promote this kind of philosophy is a bit of a disconnect.

Many branches of yoga focus on detachment from worldly wealth, possessions, and desires to reach inner peace and tranquility.

How can you resolve such two utterly different outlooks on life?

Comment by Michael — November 14, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

A little more about the vicious and uncaring Ayn Rand philosophy http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/11/11/the-wrath-of-rand/

Comment by Sean — November 14, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

…. also as the author in my above link points out, any leaders (or business people) should basically disassociate themselves from Rand or explain how such callous disregard for our fellow human beings in anyway betters our society.

Comment by Sean — November 14, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

About 90% of the comments in support of Rand on this thread are astro-turfed. They all read the exact same! If you’re going to fabricate support for this crap at least try using different sounding voices. What a horrible marketing idea and corporate philosophy. I would never patronize this store.

Comment by meanjoe — November 14, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

Now I’m ashamed of the lulu gear I have hanging in my closet. Dammit lulu, couldn’t you have just sold awesome clothes without getting political? I am not going to carry around a bag that supports such blatant selfishness, greed, and disrespect for other’s challenges and suffering.

See ya.

Comment by chels — November 14, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

“We are able to control our careers, where we live, how much money we make and how we spend our days through the choices we make.”

Actually, most of the world has limited control of what jobs are available to them and no one has control of what job they are actually HIRED to do. And, with increasing unemployment rates, the jobs available to anyone are limited… where is the choice there? Most people also do not have control of how much money they make (this is up the intensively decreasing market standards, which are lowering wages everywhere, except for elite management positions). Where we live is often dependent on where the jobs are and how much money we make. Indeed while we have some choice in how we spend our non-working time, it is important to remember that many choices are fueled by their accessibility via income.

I suppose that for most people that shop at lululemon (and most definitely for the upper-tier positions that wrote this blog) you feel as though you have plenty of choice and have the freedom to make ethical choices, therefore expecting others to do the same. But, if you take a moment to step of your pedestal and look at the world around you, you will see that the situation is different for most of the world’s population, including most North Americans.

Comment by howard moon — November 14, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

Seriously? I’ve enjoyed my Lulu pants, but I’m not buying them ever again if you’re going to promote Ayn Rand and Objectivism on your tote bags, and publish a glib and completely wrongheaded synopsis. I’ll buy my pants from a company that’s actually socially conscious instead of one that is intellectually lazy. I don’t think you have a clue what Rand is about, but you staked a claim on it. You want to ally yourself politically? Fine. I’ll make sure every yoga-loving liberal I know never shops at your store again. No joke.

Comment by duckface — November 14, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

Whoa. Believe it or not, I just finished AS a few days ago, and found it to be just a few degrees below The Turner Diaries in terms of ideological outrageousness. This fatuous post nearly matches it, though, in its implications.

Alexis, read it over again. Pay close attention to the characters of Ivy Starnes and Kip’s Ma, and see how their embrace of Eastern religion/ mysticism and Indian culture are used to thoroughly discredit them. Oh, and your belief in reincarnation? Forget it! Yoga was part of the “mystic muck of India” which she summarily and heedlessly dismissed. It’s just like the Republicans, who somehow think they can also embrace Christianity along with Objectivism. Even Rand would tell you that you can’t have your cake and eat it, too (again, it’s in the book.)

Rand’s philosophy is totally incompatible with the roots of yoga, but I suppose it makes sense for a conceited sportswear entrepreneur seeking full license to screw over anybody he wants to in pursuit of a buck. Any rate, this post reveals much about this company’s true culture, which has virtually nothing to do with what I would consider yoga..

Comment by Impboy — November 14, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

John Galt is a badly rendered character in a poorly designed work of fiction by a hypocritical author.

Ayn Rand ended her days living on Social Security.

Comment by Dave — November 15, 2011 @ 5:40 am

Any fair reading of these posts would suggest that lovers of Rand’s works are positive and enthusiastic. Many of those who are describing Rand as hate-filled etc., are clearly hate filled themselves in the invective they hurl–with NO first-hand knowledge of Rand’s philosophy, they use the most vile of personal attacks. So, to the non-readers who got all your opinions second-hand–how do you explain the actual joy that emanates from the both the original blog and the supporting posts? There is a contradiction there–and, as Ayn Rand would say–you need to “check your premises.” But that is the one thing you cannot do, isn’t it?

Comment by William — November 15, 2011 @ 6:26 am

You know who else loves Ayn Rand? The sick, selfish Republican creeps like Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. I will shop elsewhere.

Comment by anna — November 15, 2011 @ 6:29 am

I just bought a “Who is John Galt” bag for $128.00. That’s a little steep, but at least my wife got a free hoodie out of the deal. It’s a pleasure to support a company that doesn’t go along with the mediocrity of the rest of our society.

Comment by Scott Dudgeon — November 15, 2011 @ 7:05 am

Really Lulu? Elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness is a solid message for sure, but by invoking Ayn Rand you’re implying that the greatness which you strive for and support requires leaving people behind, as judged by some arbitrary standard.

It’s cool if you want to be objectivists, but I’m going to bring my meta-ethical moral relativism into your store and we’re going to have to have a philosophical clash.

Comment by stefan — November 15, 2011 @ 7:18 am

Ew, gross.

Comment by Amanda R — November 15, 2011 @ 7:20 am

Bravo to Lululemon for focusing on what is important and striving for greatness…and for encouraging the same in others.

I’m also saddened to see that so many people commenting here seem clueless about the core ideas and ideals which can bring humanity closer together, make the world more civilized, and inspire greatness of character and of productiveness/creativity.

Comment by Eric — November 15, 2011 @ 8:12 am


Actually it was Medicare, not Social Security, but yeah, Rand’s hypocrisy stands.

Comment by highwater — November 15, 2011 @ 8:18 am

I will now be donating all of my Lululemon clothes to charity.

Comment by Erin — November 15, 2011 @ 9:21 am

@william: is “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject” a positive and enthusiastic message?

That was one of Ayn Rand’s core teachings.

Comment by Dave — November 15, 2011 @ 10:05 am

I think it’s apt to point out that Lululemon is a Canadian company that has thrived in a country with universal socialized health care.

Comment by BestSeanR — November 15, 2011 @ 10:27 am

Congrats, Lululemon, your endorsement of Rand and her incredibly reactionary worldview just lost you a customer.

Comment by KGH — November 15, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

Ayn Rand’s evil philosophy is like a virus that has infected the North American psyche. Thanks for alerting me to this so I know NEVER to shop at Lululemon.

I agree with the blog post about rising above mediocrity on a personal level. Self realization is good but there is no reason it needs to be linked with loony government hating and selfish denial of our responsibility for one another and the world around us.

The irony is that Rand is a mediocre writer at best.

Comment by Caitlin — November 15, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

Thank you for making your company’s philosophy clear. As a result, I will never buy another lululemon product.

Comment by C — November 15, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

I think the over arching issue is the philosophy of Ayn Rand that is being praised, in the undertones. A TLDR of her philosphy:

RAND’S PHILOSOPHY: The philosophy, such as it was, which Rand laid out in her novels and essays was a frightful concoction of hyper-egotism, power-worship and anarcho-capitalism. She opposed all forms of welfare, unemployment insurance, support for the poor and middle-class, regulation of industry and government provision for roads or other infrastructure. She also insisted that law enforcement, defense and the courts were the only appropriate arenas for government, and that all taxation should be purely voluntary. Her view of economics starkly divided the world into a contest between “moochers” and “producers,” with the small group making up the latter generally composed of the spectacularly wealthy, the successful, and the titans of industry. The “moochers” were more or less everyone else, leading TNR’s Jonathan Chait to describe Rand’s thinking as a kind of inverted Marxism. Marx considered wealth creation to result solely from the labor of the masses, and viewed the owners of capital and the economic elite to be parasites feeding off that labor. Rand simply reversed that value judgment, applying the role of “parasite” to everyday working people instead. On the level of personal behavior, the heroes in Rand’s novels commit borderline rape, blow up buildings, and dynamite oil fields — actions which Rand portrays as admirable and virtuous fulfillments of the characters’ personal will and desires. Her early diaries gush with admiration for William Hickman, a serial killer who raped and murdered a young girl. Hickman showed no understanding of “the necessity, meaning or importance of other people,” a trait Rand apparently found quite admirable. For good measure, Rand dismissed the feminist movement as “false” and “phony,” denigrated both Arabs and Native Americans as “savages” (going so far as to say the latter had no rights and that Europeans were right to take North American lands by force) and expressed horror that taxpayer money was being spent on government programs aimed at educating “subnormal children” and helping the handicapped. Needless to say, when Rand told Mike Wallace in 1953 that altruism was evil, that selfishness is a virtue, and that anyone who succumbs to weakness or frailty is unworthy of love, she meant it.


Comment by Guy Fawkes — November 15, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

Didn’t think a company like lulu would want to venerate a person who considered the feminist movement “phony”, or indigenous peoples as “savages” .

Comment by Guy Fawkes — November 15, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

Ayn Rand not surprisingly represents the height of mediocrity. Her writing is laboured , stilted ,pretensios rubbish, one can decipher that from only a sampling of her work. Life is too short to waste reading Rand, one does need to eat an entire meal when the first bite suggests the food is rotten.

As a human being Rand was bitter and twisted, emotionally stunted and incapable of forming significant bonds with any other person. These are the portraits of people who were closet to her and knew her best. A life long amphetamine and nicotine addict she was harldy a picture of health physically or psychologically.
Objectivism is the philosophy of the self absorbed adolescent who believe that they are misunderstood genius’s being held back by the mediocrity of others. It is not surprising in the narcisitic North American culture this sort of drivel would have appeal. North American culture remains fascinated with “great man” narratives, the likes of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates are lauded despite the fact that they actually invented nothing, the did not create they did not innovate, this work was done by the work of thousands of anonymous engineers, designers and code writers, but still the fantasy persists.

It’s not surprising since lululemon promotes a retrograde form of egocentric yuppie yoga.

If you are overly concerned about the way you look in yoga class you are missing the point.
If you think that yoga is meant to increase the strength of your ego, self image, entitlement and social status you are missing the point.
If you think that doing yoga makes you spiritually superior you are missing the point. If you think yoga is about your skill and ability in achieving postures you are missing the point.

Yogic philosophies are based on the development of compassion not the strengthening of ego.
Creating a line of overpriced work out clothes produced by Chinese workers in sweat shop conditions is hardly the pinnacle of human achievement.

Comment by Chris — November 15, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

It amazes me that we make it a matter of conscience to buy something from another fellow who has a different perspective, worldview or philosophy of life.

It is your right, and some would argue your duty. So more power to you. But let’s talk about tolerance, diversity and a world of love accepting one another despite our differences in opinion.

Castigating and caricaturing certain groups or people is irresponsible and frankly hypocritical of the many that have bemoaned on the above posts.

Comment by Charlene — November 15, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

Thank you, Charlene. I was beginning to see if anyone realized the hypocrisy here! Liberal groups push their philosophy, praise socialism and big government, and cater to all sorts of Eastern philosophy. They do this all day, everywhere. But a company that even hints at being aligned with a more conservative philosophy (which I don’t believe was even their intent), gets blasted and is unfairly portrayed by all sorts of drive-by posters.

Utter hypocrisy.

“Tolerance only works if you all agree with me.” The Screaming Left to the Red-Faced Right

The Guy in the Middle

Comment by Guy In The Middle — November 15, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

Well, I can scratch Lululemon off my list of places to pick up gifts for the women in my life. It is in my self-interest to do so.

Comment by canoehead — November 15, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

Wow. Now I’m embarrassed to wear my Lululemon clothes to the gym. I read The Fountainhead when I was 19 and loved it, but then I grew up and realized I wasn’t the centre of the universe, and that life is much more complicated than sociopaths like Rand are willing to see.

Interesting that a retailer would decide to promote any philosophy, never mind this one.

I believe that we should all stand up for our beliefs, and that we should all be willing to face the consequences of doing so. One very minor consequence of your decision is that I will never darken the door of a Lululemon store again, and my favourite exercise clothes are now on their way to the recycle bin.

Comment by Lori Bamber — November 15, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

I will never again spend money at Lululemon.

Shocking. Disgusting.

Rand’s doctrine of selfishness is so violently opposed to the philosophy of yoga that I cannot imagine anything more offensive.

Comment by Vivia Kieswetter — November 15, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

No, the message of Atlas Shrugged is an ultra-capitalist message of complete narcissism at the expense of everyone else, not overcoming mediocrity. How anyone who practices yoga can possibly espouse any view of Ms. Rand’s is beyond me. One of the things yoga teaches is compassion for others, which completely violates in every way the message of Atlas Shrugged and every word that has ever left Ms. Rand’s mouth. Yoga and Randism are exact opposites.

I cannot support a company that doesn’t believe in helping others. It would be against every ethic known to man. You just lost another costumer.

Comment by Johnny — November 15, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

My husband read about this in the Globe and pointed it out to me. Objectivism is odious, and I won’t spend my dollars with LLL any longer. Congratulations on losing another customer!

Comment by Darlene — November 15, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

Absolutely appalling, but thanks for publishing this – at least now I know I’m choosing wisely when I spend my heard-earned money elsewhere. Have fun wallowing in your self-serving fantasy land.

Comment by H L Newsom — November 15, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

While you may agree or not agree, I think we can all agree that this has provoked engaging conversation. Regardless of your point of view, I hope the negative feedback does not quiet Lulu. Today in marketing, people take the easy road, too worried to offend customers/public. While the response may not what Lulu had hoped I have to commend them on trying something new regardless of the outcome.

Comment by Beth — November 15, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

Well, I’m learning today’s Yoga is still closely affiliated with Eastern religion. Thanks. And hear I thought it was about relaxation, exercise and stretching. Just think, I’m supposed to be learning compassion in those classes.

Easternism = cool
Westernism = evil

Comment by Sally — November 15, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

I have practiced yoga for over 35 years. I have never bought your stuff and now I know for a fact I never will. I will also actively encourage others to shun your products. Your praising of the drivel of Ayn Rand is unconscionable and you should be ashamed of your self. You are sullying the word yoga and the great practice, not only demonstrating your ignorance but fostering ignorance on others.

Comment by Oliver — November 15, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

Elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness…as a clothing company? Delusions of grandeur abound.

Comment by rob — November 15, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

I used to wonder how LuLuLemon could rationalize its espousal of yogic principles with its practice of selling $100 stretchy pants.

Now it makes complete sense. Exploiting Eastern spirituality for Western commercial gain is, after all, one way to elevate one’s world from (entrepreneurial) mediocrity to (material) greatness — for those doing the exploiting, al least.

Thanks for clarifying. I won’t be shopping at your stores anymore.

Comment by Amanda — November 15, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

I am surprised and shocked. As an academic, I must say Lulu, you don’t really understand Ayn Rand and the character of John Galt. I would recommend that you re-read the book. It was not about lifting ourselves to a better world. Far from it. The book is an ideological attach on government, on community, on brotherhood, in favour of self interest: for Rand, self interest is the only true form of happiness and way to salvation. Surely you do not condone these values?????? If you do, shame on you. I have over 100 pieces of Lulu in my wardrobe …. I cannot support a company that looks down on the values of helping others in need and of community. Shame on you

Comment by Professor Jackson — November 15, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

Well I certainly won’t be buying lululemon for anyone this Christmas. Way to isolate a majority of your market.

Comment by Andrew — November 15, 2011 @ 7:14 pm

Wow. This is embarrassing. Celebrating a life of greed and exploitation – revolting. My family wont be shopping at LL anymore.

Comment by Mark Bee — November 15, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

I remember buying Lululemon for my backpacking trip across Europe when there was a single store on West 4th. I was initially pleased to see a Canadian company from my city do so well.

With this single act of promoting a narcissistic work of hate I will make sure never to buy another item of your clothing again and I will immediately donate everything I still own. I will not be associated with your brand again. You have irrevocably lost one of your oldest customers.

Comment by Erin D — November 15, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

Blech. Any Rand is pseudo-philosophy for mediocre minds. But thanks for the heads-up – I will never buy a product from your company and will spread the word that you’re openly associating yourselves with a megalomaniacal speed freak who would make Newt Gingrich look like Mother Teresa.

Comment by Oomingmak — November 15, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

Sigh. So marks the end of my relationship with Lululemon.

Comment by david — November 15, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

What brand aligns theirs with another?! Textbook marketing FAIL.

In yoga we recognize the importance of taking only what we need, and learn to stop identifying ourselves with objects and ideals.

This attempt at sharing the founders appreciation for a book has pigeonholed your customers and staff, whether they agree with your philosophy or not. This doesn’t sit well with me.

Comment by Observer — November 15, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

I always listen to Rush while I’m doing my Yoga practice, Not. I have never and I will never buy one of your stupid products. I am 15 year yoga practitioner and I’ve never worn or used a yoga product. Give me a break. Losers. (Compassion not Rand’s b.s. rational self interest)

Peace and love.

Comment by Brent — November 15, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

I am not from the US – I don’t know or buy LLL (not keen on spending so much on workout outfit no matter how good they fit) and I have not read AS yet. But looking at the blog post of the company – in specific this part below – it seems like there is a quite big misunderstanding:
“In “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand describes a society where people work and reside in government-controlled environments that are tightly regimented. Without realizing it, this control created a society of mediocrity; propagating a cycle of listless, uninspired existing as opposed to living. The character John Galt encouraged all of the world’s innovators and intelligent minds to go on strike from the increasingly controlling government in order to create a vacuum of brilliance, proving that independent creativity and free-will is critical for quality of life.”

What is described in the above paragraph for me is the American way of life that until 2008 crisis was so much sought after. Mortgage – loans – insurance – brand names – a never ending cycle of buy-buy-buy seasons starting with valentines day- easter- memorial day- summer- labor day- halloween- thanksgiving- christmas back to valentines day- capitalism galore etc. – that is a government controlled life or better to say corporate controlled mediocre life.
As someone watching what has been going on with the OWS movement from outside of US – it seems like (again I have not read AS yet) with the limited understanding I have of John Galt -if he was an actual person right now he might have started the OWS movement which is against the controlling system.

Comment by gg — November 15, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

Interpretations of the book and its author aside – I seriously doubt if Chip (or Alexis) knew of this Tea Party connection… we’re Canadian… we don’t follow your politics THAT closely… we do have our own government to worry about you know :) Chip has always been a controversial character for publicly being anti-union, but I don’t think he could possibly be anti-social service or anti-healthcare… he’s Canadian! Healthcare is a human right here! :) It’s pretty funny to imagine Ron Paul fans rushing to Lulu to get a bag! I’m a long time customer… This is a weird, unfortunate and (I’m sure) unintended political association… My prayers are with Chip and his communications department. Hopefully this connection does NOT stick. <3

Comment by Adrienne — November 16, 2011 @ 12:03 am

This might actually help lulu’s business, since a business profits from a strong customer base rather than from uniting a society. It might also hurt their business, since many yogi’s try to foster compassion, instead of looking for ways to justify greed, self-righteousness and arrogance.

My main problem with Rand isn’t just that it is ideological, but that her theory of how to encourage excellence is both cruel and completely wrong. As the US has gone down this road, we’ve increased the wealth and power in the hands of the 1% and we have less social mobility than Europe does now (ie, less talented poor and middle class people making it big). I don’t see rich heirs and heiresses (of which we now have plenty, and a growing supply) as a testament to excellence, or something that encourages excellence. To the contrary: they show that the game is rigged, foster cynicism and trample down entreprenuers.

Rand pretty clearly is out to justify the wealth, power and privilege of the elite. Given that, it’s no wonder that she ends of wrong on the facts of how to encourage excellence. It is very difficult to be right about anything sociological under the best of circumstances, and almost impossible when your purpose is to justify an agenda rather than understand the world.

Whether or not a boycott succeeds, money does not make you good, and is not the proof of your goodness.

Comment by Daniel — November 16, 2011 @ 2:44 am

How sad that such right-wing ideological drivel has now infected Lululemon. If a founder or executive had read Karl Marx as a teenager, I doubt that you be adorning your stores with slogans such as: “Workers of the world unite!” Sorry, but you’ve lost me and my family as previously loyal customers.

Comment by David — November 16, 2011 @ 3:15 am

I am very disappointed in the Lululemon and in this blog post. You have profoundly misunderstood Rand’s philosophy and the meaning and intent behind her sophomoric books, which are antithetical to the heart of yoga. Rand’s philosophy is based purely on self-interest at the expense of community, making her the darling of extreme conservatives everywhere. I expected so much better from Lululemon. I was clearly naïve. You are no better than any other retailer.

Comment by jeaninuae — November 16, 2011 @ 3:59 am

Ayn Rand == Greed is Good, Altruism bad. If you have to stomp on someone or pollute to make money–no problem. Just only think about yourself!

Exactly the qualities I think of when I think of Yoga.

Glad Lululemon has shown their true face so I know never to shop
from there again.

So embarrassed that I own anything of yours.

Comment by Paul — November 16, 2011 @ 4:59 am

I was intrested in Ayn Rands philosophy in my youth, but like many, with age, I feel that I have more wisdom on the philosophies that she expressed. Upon reflection, one has to realiize that there are no children in Atlas Shrugged. Children and family does not exist in Ayn Rands world! This is not my world and I feel that lululemon is missguided in thinking that Any Rands vision should be theirs. There are so many people to inspire us to greatness, Ghandi, Jimmy Carter, Mandella, Steve jJobs; Ayn rand is not among them.

Comment by Derrick — November 16, 2011 @ 5:21 am

I make a point of avoiding overpriced products where the emphasis is more on the marketing of a brand then on the value received. Unfortunately I live in the real world and have family members who would like to receive your products as gifts. Associating yourself with an author who has become one of the cornerstones of Tea Party philosophy is something I find morally repugnant and as a result you are banished from my list of prospective gift vendors.

Comment by Kelvin Desplanque — November 16, 2011 @ 5:21 am

Thanks for showing me who you are. I will never shop at Lululemon again.

Comment by martha — November 16, 2011 @ 5:27 am

Wow. Just wow. Not shopping here again.

Comment by Nicole — November 16, 2011 @ 5:44 am

Saying objectivism is about not choosing mediocrity is a freshman mistake. Do your homework!

Comment by morchella — November 16, 2011 @ 7:30 am

This campaign of greatness over mediocrity has won you a brand new customer. Never had a huge reason to shop your stuff over competitors at lower prices, however I am willing to spend a little more for a company that inspires me. I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 18 as well. Reread it every few years. If you’ve never read the Fountainhead, do. There are a lot of Toohey’s out there, and a lot of Peter Keatings. We need more Galts and more Roarks in the world.

Comment by Lanie — November 16, 2011 @ 8:22 am

Also, I would buy a bag (and likely another as a gift) that said ‘Who is John Galt’ on it.

Comment by Lanie — November 16, 2011 @ 8:26 am

Thanks Lululemon! Can you make a bag with the quote “Commodity Fetishism Rules!” on it as well? If you could include a picture of Marx, that would help me feel better about my yoga as well.

Comment by chomsky reader — November 16, 2011 @ 8:26 am

Also – commence my campaign of shaming your customers for their complicity in this idiocy.

Comment by Ben — November 16, 2011 @ 8:26 am

I agree with Amanda and all subsequent posts expressing disappointment in this entry. On a very surface level, sure, everyone should push themselves to take control of our lives. But an individual’s likelihood of success in achieving “control” is greatly variable depending on a lot of factors they are unable to control. Many of the millions/billions of people living in extreme poverty today were born into it. Our starting point in life–what family and society we are born into–is determined entirely by luck. And that starting point has profound implications on what resources are available to an individual (in addition to many other implications). No individual functions in vacuum where all that matters is their personal decisions. I live in a society that provides access to free education, good roads, physical society, and financial safety nets. Warren Buffet alluded to this when he said “I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I’ve earned. If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil.” On the other hand, Rand valued individuals who could prioritize their individual needs and desires over those of all others, without regard to the effect of their actions on others/society. I’m embarrassed to know that the lululemon bags contain a quote from Atlas Shrugged, and I’ll certainly avoid carrying them around.

Comment by Deepa — November 16, 2011 @ 8:37 am

Wow–what an ignorant and self-important description of an odious life ethic. Does anyone there have a brain? Or basic reading skills? Or a search engine…?

I hope I can scratch the lululemon logos off my gym wear. Never shopping there again.

Comment by Joan — November 16, 2011 @ 9:23 am

Wow…I’ve never seen so many people with a mediocre understanding of Ayn Rand, ‘Atlas Shrugged’, and, well, “greatness,” as I have here. I’ve never bought Lululemon products, nor accepted them as gifts. I’ve been in the stores a few times, and see nothing but over-priced conformity. I see hundreds of devotees, and likely only half even practice yoga or exercise…the other half just buys it for the status it implies. I wouldn’t even be here on this blog if not for having read an article about this particular campaign and blog. I just had to see for myself what this was about.

$100 for pants I’d sweat in, beat up, wear down, wash extensively, and get rid of as soon as they didn’t make my A** look perky? No thanks! I’ll spend $40 on generic yoga pants and give the other $60 to my favourite charity, or a friend who is collecting sponsorship for a charitable race or something. Instead of chirping about “greatness”, I’d rather help those who need it.

Comment by Fancy — November 16, 2011 @ 9:29 am

Thanks for posting your tribute to Ayn Rand. Now that I know that Lululemon supports her ridiculous and sophomoric ode to selfishness, I will never shop at Lululemon again.
The sharing and community spirit of yoga is anathema to the selfish, “greed is good” “ideas” that Rand espoused. Nothing could be farther from yoga than Rand’s “individualism”. I am not surprised that selfish capitalists have found a way to capitalize on and exploit a thousands of years old tradition of sharing and anti-materialism, but I am disappointed.

Comment by TommyVee — November 16, 2011 @ 9:56 am

I read Ayn Rand too when I was 25 and then I turned 26 and realized that her vision, besides being totally unworkable and cruel, is crypto-fascistic.

The guy who created the housing mess, Alan Greenspan is a devotee as well a host of other greedy self-centered fools.

There is something called the “birth lottery”, some of us win and some of us lose. To build a society for the benefit of the winners is so ill-conceived as to be laughable.

To the owner of this company I would say, “You need to grow the up, it’s time to behave like a big boy now.”

I know a lot more about Lululemon now. I won’t forget it.

Comment by Ian — November 16, 2011 @ 10:03 am

Bravo, Alexis, Chip, & Lululemon! A quote from Victor Hugo seems appropriate:

“You have enemies? Why, it is the story of every man who has done a great deed or created a new idea. It is the cloud which thunders around everything that shines. Fame must have enemies, as light must have gnats. Do no bother yourself about it; disdain. Keep your mind serene as you keep your life clear. Do not give your enemies the satisfaction of thinking that they cause you grief or pain. Be happy, be cheerful, be disdainful, be firm.”

–Victor Hugo to Villemain, “Things Seen”

Comment by Michael Garrett — November 16, 2011 @ 10:05 am

Atlas Shrugged has been my favorite book for over thirty years. It always astonishes me how some people revile her for her philosophy of self-reliance, independence, reason and liberty. Kudos to Chip and lululemon to have the guts to put out these bags. I know I’ll be by to get one soon!

Comment by Marco — November 16, 2011 @ 10:09 am

Here is a fantastic link to a BANG ON response to the latest Lululemon marketing campaign. It’s pretty much going viral in social media which I is good and bad. Good in that it exposes what a cheap piggy pack this whole campaign is, and bad because it also gives Lululemon more exposure…Enjoy:


Comment by Marc — November 16, 2011 @ 11:13 am

It’s interesting to note that the Founder of LuLuLemon seems to miss the message of the book in this quote, “elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness.” Hate it or love it, or burn it, Atlas Shrugged is about what happens when specific individuals – creators, entrepreneurs, musicians – one by one, disappear.

The theme of the book is “the role of man’s mind in existence” – not helping the world to avoid being “mediocre”. (it’s about “helping” yourself to live life well) Of course, mediocrity is not praised in Rand’s philosophy.

But LuLu’s explanation of their promotion of the book/Rand reads as more elitist than individualist, obnoxious really.

Ayn Rand would never advocate “saving the world” so to speak, although certainly her ideas were developed to make YOUR life better, thereby achieving the same effect. But this all reads poorly, and off putting. Like a teenagers understanding of Objectivism.

Still…I’m happy to have her name out there, and to promote the books.

I’m going there this weekend to get my bag lol (and some fitted jogging pants to show off my massive butt)

Comment by Sho Uesugi — November 16, 2011 @ 11:34 am

This is actually just a conspiracy to get Tea Party supporters and other conservative types to do yoga. Once they do, they’ll lose all their anger and become liberals. Nicely played, Lululemon!

Comment by Angela — November 16, 2011 @ 11:45 am

When I first heard about this “controversy” I wasn’t that bothered – if someone wants to use their company’s brand to further their own personal beliefs, even if it risks alienating customers, so be it.

My opinion has soured considerably having read this blog posting. Lululemon’s interpretation of Ayn Rand’s ideas is disingenuous in the extreme. They’ve cherry picked quotes to justify Chip Wilson’s support of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, rather than being honest about what Ayn Rand actually stood for.

Ayn Rand was transparent about her beliefs and didn’t leave much to interpretation. She left many writings, was interviewed numerous times and her followers have established educational institutes that promote her ideas. For Lululemon to focus solely on Rand’s statements about human achievement and excellence without also acknowledging that, in Rand’s view, this excellence was the exclusive domain of a small group of hyper rational elites is pretty slimy. To not acknowledge that core to Rand’s ideology is that these elites were so critical to society that their selfish pursuit of their own goals (and rewards) was de facto moral is also pretty slimy.

Chip Wilson and his company Lululemon can believe in whatever they like, but if they use their customer base to promote those beliefs they should be truthful and transparent, not cryptic (who is john galt?) and dishonest.

Comment by squirrel9 — November 16, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

Well, that’s the last thing that I’m ever buying from lululemon… Thanks for showing your true colours.

Comment by Jonathan — November 16, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

I was an Objectivist in my early 20′s until I realize that no matter how much you try to hold up this ideal human nature is what it is and contradicts many of the principle Rand espoused. In that way, it’s as unattainable as religious principles that it roasts vigorously. Sure, there are some idea contained within that work, but as the old saying goes a broken clock is still right twice a day. Contrary to what Rand and her followers say, pragmatism doesn’t need to lead to mediocrity, but it can lead to being effective and productive.

Comment by DC — November 16, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

I am no fan of lululemon or Chip. The notion that he can claim to be a yoga guru, and yet be a lover of Rand just show how hypocritical he and his company is and how gullible his employees are. Do they realize that Rand is a goddess among Teabaggers and right-wing neo-conservatives? But then again, my butt does look great in my tights

Comment by bob — November 16, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

“Love this book or hate this book, it is the single best selling book of all time after the bible.”

Not even close to being true.

Add me to the list of people that won’t shop here anymore.

Comment by Ian — November 16, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

This is a disturbing reference and certainly out of touch with both the ancient roots of yoga as well as the current times. Ayn Rand’s book is thought-provoking, yes, but most often cited as justification for greed and selfishness. Until I’m sure lululemon culture has evolved, I can’t be associated with this brand. (from a progressive capitalist)

Comment by steve i — November 16, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

Objectivism is clearly at odds with yogic philosophy. Bravo for perpetuating your own mediocrity by failing to even try to do your homework on this one.

Comment by Rebecca — November 16, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

Up to now, the posts here have been about 44% favourable to LLL’s new bag. Given that people are motivated far more by anger than approval, I’d say LLL’s bag is a huge success. Then too, no attention is bad attention from a marketing point of view. Bottom line, pardon the pun, LLL pants make my ass look amazing. LLLs ability to do this for women everywhere is a scientifically significant feat, and we love you for it. btw, I’ve had the same pair for five years and they’re still in great shape. I’ve had several other brands that can’t hold up for even a year. That makes my LLLs a bargain. Anyone who’s worn them knows, and all pouting and posturing aside, they’ll still come back for more even if they don’t like Ayn Rand because you have a great product offered with amazing service. I’ll never forget my daughter’s face when the saleswoman told her about the free hemming!

Comment by Annette — November 16, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

That bag MADE MY DAY! That was my favorite book ever. Thank you!!!!!

Comment by Nicole — November 16, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

In the past I have defended Lululemon’s pricey yoga wear because it holds up so well. I will no longer purchase anything from Lululemon. I am fundamentally at odds with Ayn Rand.

Comment by Abby — November 16, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

Thank you for this. It’s inspiring to see a big company standing for something. No matter what side people are on this book has a great message if you can get over right vs. left. Thanks for this!

Comment by TLCbySummer — November 16, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

My take on why this is a strange marketing decision, especially now:


Comment by Fiona — November 16, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

You have every right to believe in some pure Rand-ian philosophy but I would caution you as to it’s viability in real life, in “practical terms”.
I am 64 years old and fully familiar with the idiocy that Rand posited as the “cure” for our social and economic ills. Having watched as it became the forefront philosophy of a new American style capitalism and infected the Global marketplace.
I have worked as an analyst for my entire career . In other words I am a capitalist and for the record, I think her brand of psychotic nuance has been the most dangerous philosophy to have ever been witnessed in mankind’s economic history! The followers of this trashy attitude toward puritanical markets, have left our entire global financial system on the verge of collapse! I don’t hold Rand personally responsible but again it shows the frsgility of the hman mind? You need a new hero. as does Lululemon it seems.


Comment by James M. Convey — November 16, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

Certainly, we all want to feel good about ourselves. But mediocrity is born we don’t question our own tunnel vision and investigate the deeper messages and motives behind this kidn of campaign – which we are advertising and supporting everytime we carry one of those bags in public. How crafty.
If you do a bit of research on the web, you will find that the much discredited Ayn Rand “philosophy” comes from the 1950′s McCarthy era fear of commmunism. Today, right wing politics and big corporate money in the US are trying to smear fair-minded people as “socialists” because they want a public health plan – much like Canada’s, or some controls on corporate excesses. One wonders, is that what Lululemon’s corporate head office has in mind with this John Galt campaign? If so, they are hugely out of touch with people who are concerned about the current world economic mess and the huge inequities it has caused. My advice: think before you buy. And live by your principles.

Comment by Sandra — November 16, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

John Galt is alive and well in America’s GOP. Have you seen the moron circus in the presidential debates? Why on earth would a company ally itself with such a hateful, arrogant, and selfish philosophy?

Comment by MirandaW — November 16, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

Well I will never buy clothes from this store again. If I wanted to be immersed in the dog-eat-dog world of neo-liberalism I would have read Ayn Rand again. Having gone through a very very embarrassing phase of being a hard core right winger (even subscribing to The Objectivist!), I soon learned that I lost friends, I grew angry and I learned that compassion and empathy are for the weak.

Now, as a mature woman who is long past her brief flirtation with extreme neo-liberalism I have absolutely no desire to give money to a company that thinks the philosophy of Ayn Rand is anything but selfish, apathetic and a horrible blight for society.

Hope you think all the business lost was worth it. Especially given the way the world is now with all the economic recessions.

No thanks. there are other stores to shop from.

Comment by Deanna — November 16, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

The comments would be even more negative to the company if it weren’t deleting so many contrary comments.

Comment by Joan — November 16, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

Uh, right. So evidently the founder of Lululemon has a PhD in Utter Lameness? This is exceedingly annoying, in about every way imaginable. Nice yoga pants be damned… I will not be shopping at this store again.

Comment by Grace — November 16, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

Hey Joan, the many commenters sharing their opinions on this post have shown that the writings of Ayn Rand mean a great many things to a great many people. We appreciate everyone who has taken the time to eloquently share their perspectives. We have only excluded comments (on both sides) that personally attacked others or were profane.

Thanks for reading!

Comment by Allessia — November 16, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

Will wear my lulu with a little more pride now.

Comment by Jess — November 16, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

I am shopping elsewhere.

Ayn Rand’s novels promoted selfishness and greed. Explicitly. That’s what she believed in, and that’s what that quote means.

If that’s what Lululemon stands for, then why would anyone practicing yoga – which has nothing to do with selfishness and greed – shop there?


Comment by Boycotting Lululemon — November 16, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

Mainly I just feel sorry for Lululemon’s marketing people. Trying to market these bags must be horrific. Sorry guys.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy made lots of sense when I was angry and 18. It has nothing to do with yoga and is antithetical to everything that yoga is about.

The yoga community should boycott Lululemon.

Comment by Boycotting Lululemon — November 16, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Well done. I hope to get one of these bags. Those who criticize Rand do not understand her philosophy, nor their own natures.

Comment by bc — November 16, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

To anyone with a working pair of eyes, it should be clear how much of a creepy cult this Lululemon thing has become.

I dare you to post this comment, “free thinkers”.

Comment by hoopz — November 16, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

Lululemon’s philosophy is embodied by *Ayn Rand*? Ayn Rand, who wrote the scene in Atlas Shrugged where the main female character is raped by the protagonist, and it turns out that was what she’d needed all along?

Who exactly is your target demographic?

Comment by Eric — November 16, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

Wow. Is this a joke. That anyone in the yoga community would exalt someone who has influenced the Tea Party and right wingersnto disenfranchise the middle class and steal from them and give to the rich shows a lack of yogic values. Stealing from one to give to another. I am shocked. Ayn. Rand was a novelist who somehow influenced the ignorant fringe in our society that propelled the likes of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann into our political forefront. Bye bye Lululemon products for me. Thank goodness for yogis like Sean Corne and Hala who are supporting positive movements that unify us not divide us.

Comment by Joan Bliefernicht — November 16, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

There is no need for argument. The world is what it is. If people choose to step into greatness through inspiration of a novel, through self-determination, through overcoming a hardship so be it. There is nothing to be said about lululemon, their CEO, or their people. When someone writes “Who is John Galt” on a bag it IS simply a conversation starter. If all of you sat on your computers and complained every time Universal studios released a movie about neoliberalism, communism, objectivism, etc. you would simply have no life. And you would never watch any more movies. So what are you all doing wasting your time here…go be alive. If you choose not to buy lululemon products that is YOUR CHOICE– a key theme in “Atlas Shrugged” and “Anthem.” You choose to be who you are. You don’t need to put everyone and every idea in a box. “You are an Ayn Rand lover because you read her book…” you are not. People put people into those categories. It is so sad. I have read Ayn Rand and I voted for Obama…what kind of box will you put me in? All novels, essays, conversations, words, are interpreted different ways. Leave people to do what they would like. If you truly don’t like the way something is DO something about it…don’t be another social commentator. We have enough of those. lululemon has strong ideas that are bold and brave. It is invigorating to watch a company stand for SOMETHING rather than sit stagnantly in the dark. If lululemon didn’t spark some fire in you, it sounds like you would be sitting, waiting for something to happen to complain about. Be worried with the pursuit of your own lives and those lives you want to cherish.

Comment by Brynn Regan — November 16, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

Wow. Total misinterpretation of the motives of this ‘novel’ that iinspired a political movement in our country devoted to disenfranchising workers, children, the poor, and the I’ll. Eloquent enough?

Comment by Joan — November 16, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

Has anyone ever purposely put themselves in a very difficult position in life and learned a great deal from it? When I read Rand I had sweaty palms and my stomach hurt sometimes. I was a wreck but I had to finish it because I knew something was opening up in my life. I wasn’t sure I was liking it but I went ahead and completed her novel.

Rand singled-handedly challenged core beliefs that I didn’t even know where present within me. I disagreed with her on some things and agreed on others and I am STILL thinking about other ideas that she brought up in her book. Whether or not I agree with her politics, view of women, who supports her or who hates her have no impact on the relationship I formed with the ideas I engaged with. I create my life, day by day, like the rest of us. Some of Rand’s ideas have hardened my previously held beliefs, other ideas have helped me open areas in thinking and living that were firmly closed before.

My reading of Rand, not your’s, was an experience that added to my understanding of myself and others. So, I can say that “I” was elevated to a greater level. So isn’t it possible that you might have a different experience with Rand’s ideas that might elevate you as well? If so, isn’t that a good thing? Even if you whole-heartedly disagree with everything?

Do I love Rand? Am I a Randian? Is lululemon ignorant? I have no interest in knowing the answers to those questions. What I am interested in is, what is blocking an average man or woman from seeing value in places they might not like, or agree with or feel hurt by?
I can say, truthfully, that I went to this place when I read Atlas Shrugged and most of the time I wanted to throw the book in the trash. But that is exactly why I ended up valuing the book so much.

Comment by Cody — November 16, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

I believe some of these posts are being deleted.
Mine was.
I am sorry I hurt your feelings by insinuating the advertising department took the lulu logo from Marlo Thomas and now you are picking quotes from bad old books .
I guess this will be deleted, too.
I am never buying your clothes and I am never coming back to this site.

Comment by Robin — November 16, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

The bottom line is that Ayn Rand was a philosophical fraud and a terrible writer. Great for angry adolescents and those who never grow up.

She promoted a philosophy of selfishness and greed.

The yoga community should not be supporting a company that promotes a philosophy of selfishness and greed.

The yoga community should boycott Lululemon.

Comment by Boycotting Lululemon — November 16, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

Ayn Rand is a fraud, Lululemon wants to make money. I say boycott lululemon for its adherence to this pseudo-philosophy and neo-liberal clap-trap. There are far better companies out there who have a genuine conscience. These guys are pseuds.

Comment by Gerry Mats — November 16, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is the only thing that can save the world from self-destruction.

Capitalism is the only political system fit for human beings to live under. Socialism rewards the looters and parasites, those who want something for nothing.

That is what the Occupy 0.01% (not 99%) aspire to.

Comment by dschubba — November 16, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

Lululemon now supports trodding on the weak? Ayn Rand preaches social and economic darwinism. This is shameful. I will join the others in boycotting Lululemon, I am incredibly disappointed.

Scott Andrews

Comment by Scott Andrews — November 16, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

LULULEMON, you had me when I saw the Bags with “Who Is John Galt?” My favorite hero in literature and my favorite author Ayn Rand. How can I get more of these bags? Will they be available in the stores for some time….hope so…want to carry them always! We sure need a hero like John Galt in these troubled times!! Thank YOU!!

Comment by Jane Kloner — November 17, 2011 @ 2:07 am

Reading through the comments…..very interesting. Those naysayers of Ayn Rand’s work should READ it, carefully, especially, We The Living. Yes, the progressive and far left will probably hate her work but Rand escaped from Communist Russia to embrace Freedom and Democracy of America. She has incredible heroes in her novels. Those who enjoy her should rent/buy both the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged Movies.

Comment by Jane Kloner — November 17, 2011 @ 2:21 am

I won’t be purchasing your clothing for me or my wife any longer. I’ll also be warning my fellow yoga practitioners against your products. Using my money to promote such an awful ideology is very sad.

John Galt wouldn’t have enjoyed my yoga studio. We believe in community, we collect coats and food for the poor, we support each other when we are sick or injured.


Comment by Yogis for community not greed — November 17, 2011 @ 5:15 am

Congratulations to Lululemon for taking a position, even if it is anathema to some of your customers.

Many of the complainants do not understand Atlas Shrugged or have read it under a veil of socialism or fascism or coloured by leftist professorial types.

They are absolutely entitled to their opinions and their decisions to support or not support Lululemon.

I make no claim to be a yoga person, but I choose to support the store in any way I can.



Comment by Doc — November 17, 2011 @ 7:31 am

My wife has been in love with Lulu, and I was not aware of your products for men. I didn’t shrug when she brought home the John Galt bag. That was brilliant, you got me.

Comment by Russell — November 17, 2011 @ 7:36 am

Taking a position in itself is not a great thing if the position is a BAD position. Ayn Rand was a fraud and a bad writer, whose ideas are laughed at by anyone who has ever taken Philosophy 101.

Lululemon has a right to identify themselves with the 1% and corporate greed. The yoga community has the right to boycott it because it doesn’t represent yogic values. How’s that for the free market?

Comment by Boycotting Lululemon — November 17, 2011 @ 8:17 am

This saddens my heart… in that lulu embraces such selfish ideals as that in Atlas Shrugged and that it has caused a great divide in the community over a product that many enjoyed.

The anger this has produced is exactly what joins people together (on either side of the debate) so that they can unify in their anger and hatred for something, and it can be infectious. So rather than rally in hate let’s make a concious choice to band together for love, community, and selfless-ness.

For those reasons I say good-bye lulu your products were lovely and helped in my practice, but it is time for me to take my practice off the mat and bring love into all aspects of my life, even my workout clothing.


Comment by alliy — November 17, 2011 @ 8:22 am

Well you brought out the teapartiers and I hope they keep you afloat because I can tell you that no one in my yoga class supports this idiotic move by you. You will not see an ounce of our families money anymore. I can say the same for many people I have spoken too.

Comment by Mike — November 17, 2011 @ 8:33 am

The news of this new expression of your company’s ideals first read to me like an Onion headline. It seems to me the most elementary satire to align yoga with the principles of Ayn Rand. Hats off to you for your moxy, in this candid revelation of what has previously been an obscured truth: this is a profit-driven company, superficially cloaking itself in yoga principles and mouthing the words of aspirations to peace (and peace should be more than a lazy mind, unburdened of concern for others–it should always, and without limitation include others), harmony, community, and empathy. I don’t think the “greatness” of individuals or companies should be measured by the distance between themselves and those beneath them, but by their efforts to raise those others up. There is nothing “great” about a single individual or company’s financial success at the expense of other human beings. But I suppose it was always naive to imagine you supported anything but your own swelling profit margins, as evinced by your relocation of manufacturing to China (simultaneously truncating your contribution to your local community while taking advantage of another. Namaste). How sad that you can turn yoga itself from something meaningful into a brand, a slogan to reassure the financially comfortable that they have earned their privileged position through their willingness to aspire to greatness and leave behind the “mediocre” (comprising the poor, disadvantaged, disenfranchised, underrepresented, undereducated, etc., etc., etc.). A tool to alleviate whatever remaining guilt or empathy those privileged few might possess, quelling whatever will to change, take action, or engage that they might have with a few stretches in stylish pants.

Comment by Rebecca — November 17, 2011 @ 9:15 am

I guess it makes sense that buying expensive yoga clothes is consistent with the philosophy of selfishness spouted by libertarians. Thank you for the reminder to buy cheaper clothes elsewhere and give more to charity.

Comment by Rebecca — November 17, 2011 @ 9:17 am

Unlimited self interest. Let the weak die. That’s what Atlas Shrugged is about. Now feel good about carrying around that bag or wearing the logo.

Comment by sandra — November 17, 2011 @ 10:02 am

“Marx and Engels never tried to refute their opponents with argument. They insulted, ridiculed, derided, slandered, and traduced them, and in the use of these methods their followers are not less expert. Their polemic is directed never against the argument of the opponent, but always against his person.”

Von Mises – Introduction to Socialism

Comment by Von Mises — November 17, 2011 @ 10:37 am

I’ve never shopped here before, but will now be picking up something for my girlfriend. Posts like this make me feel so much better for the future of mankind. Thank you for sharing your moral integrity, it’s rare to find, let alone publicly hear, Objectivism today.

Comment by Midas — November 17, 2011 @ 11:57 am

Have you yoga practising organic eating redistributionists ever wondered why the founders of your favorite companies like Lululemon and Whole Foods are people on the side of free enterprise and individual initiative? There is nothing noble about wanting to give away someone else’s fruits of labor. You’re welcome to give away your own money, but you have to go out and earn it first.

Comment by False Profit — November 17, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

Thumbs up for anybody taking charge of his/her own life today. Thumbs up for encouraging discourse about the individual striving for greatness.
Small,divisive thinking is not the way of Yoga I think.
Rand’s ideas may be good or bad, as Yogis we can accept without a need to judge.
Pants are good btw. Thanks.

Comment by Martin — November 17, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

Damn, when I wanted yoga pants, I expected that LLL was run by a bunch of dirty, patchouli-smelling, filthy rich hippie hypocrites. However, my estate planner to the rich and shameless sister sang their praises, so I bought the pants anyway. Now I find myself with sufficient yoga pants, and an aching desire to go buy more.

Comment by AndrewInON — November 17, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

Very ‘Ayn Rand’ of LuLuLemon to be taking the Hindu religious tradition of yoga and never giving it any worthy credit but profiting off of it as if Europeans created yoga. Very Ayn Rand, it all makes sense why you have chosen to give her the credit for your “new” ideology.

I really appreciated the Yahoo! article “Lululemon hits branding sour note with Ayn Rand-inspired bags” – glad people are spreading awareness of how corrupt lululemon really is. Then again, most of your customers are more concerned about buying the most expensive tights versus actually practicing those principles of peacefulness and simplicity.

Comment by A S — November 17, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

Red states lead 2-1 over blue states when it comes to charitable work. So you can look down your noses at conservatives all you want, but what have you done.

Just think though since you won’t be buying 100+ dollar pants anymore, because you’re so outraged someone could hold a different world view than you, that’ll give you a little seed money start helping out (ah but then there was that sweet meditation cushion you were looking at… Darn, well maybe next time. At least you voted for Obama!!! Thanks Hero!!!).

Comment by rm — November 17, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

One doesn’t even where to start with this subject. However, as an analysis of Randianism (I know she hated that epithet) is too complex a subject for such a venue; I will venture the following.

Rand’s ethic celebrated the actual producer and person who accomplishes. Corporatist employers, for the most part, are financial Attila’s who are actually exploiters of those who actually produce. Thus, there is great irony that the capitalist class would see themselves in the guise of John Galt.

The enemy of collectivism is not necessarily the friend of humanity; no more than Nazism was to Stalinism (Marxism). Personal excellence cannot thrive in a social milieu that undermines it. The same company with an excellent balance sheet etc in the U.S. would not thrive despite those same individual advantages in backward, corrupt regimes in central Africa. Those who celebrate Rand’s ethic are obtusely unaware of how much we owe to the social capital that allows individuals to prosper. And Randianism is inherently conducive to the destruction of that social capital, fabric and cohesion and to civilization itself.

However, I don’t believe that those who have read her works have actually used their rational and psychological faculties to work through the ramifications of her proposals. They might be reacting to statism which she deals with well enough. But a nation of radical atomists would never be able to guard themselves against a united collective entity, for instance.

As for mediocrity. Aesthetically, rationally and factually (i.e. her sophomoric treatment of history) could only be considered great by a people who are more mediocre than they know.

Comment by John Hutchinson — November 17, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

Atlas Shrugged is a great book and also changed my view of life.

To those people that think it is wrong to take inspiration from this book, what books do you approve of?

Comment by ralf — November 17, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

I wonder how many people who are commenting on this blog post were simply yodeled in by partisan spinmasters to complain about your bag, and have never even read the book (or even heard about your company beforehand, for that matter.)

Most people who are complaining about this bag’s text don’t seem to have read the book and just “know” (because that is what they have been told) that Atlas Shrugged is a bad-bad-bad right-wing-nutjob book. One really has to hand it to true-believers who are taught to hate something they haven’t even bothered to read because their political and spiritual leaders have indoctrinated them to simply hate it rather than actually READ it.

I doubt many people who have bothered to slog through all of the 27 gadzillion pages of this Russian-literature-inspired yawner actually disagree so violently with the philosophy of Objectivism, or they would never have had the gumption to finish this book.

If they HAVE read it and still feel so strongly in opposition to its message then I tip my hat to you. But I doubt this is more than a tiny fraction of the haters who have been yoldeled into this strum & drang.

Comment by James BlackHeron — November 17, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

“There can be no compromise on moral principles”-Ayn Rand

If Chip truly believes in the transformative power of the notion radical individual responsibility espoused by Rand, then why is Lululemon a limited liability corporation? Is greatness easier to achieve when we’re not individually liable for tort and contract claims?

Comment by Derek — November 17, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

I love your clothes. I have been doing yoga since 1988. I was introduced to your clothing line by my girlfriend last summer. Since then I have bought a sweatshirt, a light jacket, yoga pants and a winter jacket.

SO I WAS VERY DISAPPOINTED to see you using slogans and characters of AYN RAND. She represents a worldview which is antithetical to yoga. Have you ever heard of Karma yoga? It is the yoga of service to others.

You must be quite naïve to politicize your products in such a divisive way. Here in the States AYN RAND was embraced by the right wing neocons as a hero. They used her political philosophy to drive this country into the ground. I will no longer be wearing your products in public as they now represent an adolescent and cynical political dogma.

You will be alienating many customers with this tact. Many yogis are on the progressive side of the political spectrum. You have betrayed their trust. Many, like myself will no longer be shopping at Lululemon. In furthering your own “self interest” you should remove politics from your business model.

Baird Hersey

Comment by Baird Hersey — November 17, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

All who pan LuluLemon for the ‘John Galt’ promotion and describe Ayn Rand’s writings as being incompatible with Yoga are absolutely clueless – both about the core meaning of Yoga practice and about Ayn Rand’s Philosophy.

My father introduced me to Buddhism and Yoga when a was 15. I have been a student of Yoga – AS A WAY OF LIFE – ever since. Now age 65, that makes for 50 years. My study of Objectivism, Austrian Economics and related disciplines started almost as long ago.

Let me keep this short. First, Yoga. Yoga is ALL about SElF realization. What you do on the mat in your local studion is but a tiny FIRST step in that process. Yoga’s primary purpose, through disciplined experiential discovery, is the perfection of the self to enable discovery of the divine force WITHIN oneself. Nowhere in any original Yoga text will the student ever find any suggestion that Yoga mastery can be achieved by any other means or has any other purpose. Nor is there any suggestion that a Yogi should strive to do good with resources extorted from other by threat of force (aka “democracy’).

Second, Ayn Rand. If you honestly seek to understand her philosophy, read her (non-fiction) book “The Virtue of Selfishness” at least twice. Then comment again. Ayn Rand admired people who produced wealth through their own inginuity and labour. She absolutely ABHORRED greed. Especially the kind of greed exhibited by thoso who believe that they have an unearned right to the wealth produced by others “in the name of the people”.

Among all you wanna-be Yogi’s, is there even one who would suggest that it is possible to bestow the benefits of Yoga on the masses by ‘democratic’ majority vote? Are you going to institute a ‘Samadi tax’ on the Masters to redistribute their wisdom to “the less fortunate”? Of course not, it is a laughable and utterly amoral idea. Yet, all you statists want to do exactly that every time you vote on some proposal to take from those who produce the wealth of society the product of their labor so that you can then dole it out to your chosen beneficiaries.

Give me a break!

Well, I for one am delighted at the “John Galt” promotion. Yoga is far more than a few asanas on a mat. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is absolutely compatible with the highest principles of (Karma) Yoga. Quite the opposite of what many have claimed, statism (whether fascist or socialist) is the very antithesis of Yoga practice as a way of life.

Comment by Robert_E — November 17, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

Wow! I love to see Lululemon getting behind such contemptible dreck as Atlas Shrugged. I’m totally going to short the stock as your main customer base leaves for greener pastures. Good luck with selling overpriced yoga clothes to libertoothfairians.

Comment by japhet in seattle — November 17, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

Answer: John Galt is a character in a mediocre book by Ayn Rand.

Comment by Judd — November 17, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing lululemon. Not into the Laissez Unfair philosophy your corporation espouses.

Comment by Larry — November 17, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

Ummm. Isn’t YOGA and a practice supposed to show you your mediocrity, not some horrible book written by a self-serving shrill? John Galt is about selfishness and unabashed self-interest; does not seem to square with yoga practice at all. But if you are trying to sell stuff using this quote, then you are more interested in self-interest, not providing practitioners with equipment to realize anything but how to be selfish.

Comment by Japhy — November 17, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

I just heard the report on NPR about your shopping bag. I first heard of John Galt in the early 90s, when I interviewed for a job with the consulting firm Bradford & Galt in St Louis, Mo. The recruiter told me the founder was Mr. Bradford, but Mr. Galt was a fictitious partner. Bradford loved Atlas Shrugged, and said if he had a partner, he would be someone like John Galt. That inspired me to read the book and Anthems. I loved them both.

Comment by Regina E. — November 17, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

You have lost not only my business, but quite a few of my friend’s according to what I’ve seen on my social networks. Ayn Rand is/was a joke!

Comment by jfo — November 17, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

This is not only an outright deceptive portrait of Rand’s work, but a dangerous idea quite at odds with the value yogis place on humanity.
To quote an expert:
“[Ayn] wouldn’t put it as an issue of living life fully or mediocrity,” said Onkar Ghate, a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. “It’s between pursuing your own happiness and self-interest and understanding why that pursuit is right, and to regard that pursuit as noble versus a society that regards it as wrong and ignoble.”

Please know that you’ve lost my patronage.

Comment by Molly — November 17, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

I am not a customer. The NPR story brought Lululemon to my attention. I am writing from the point of view of a concerned citizen and yoga practitioner. I practiced and studied yoga for 25 years.

I read Ayn Rand in high school and college and I was appalled, but I don’t judge you if Ayn Rand personally inspires you. However, PLEASE don’t convert her very limited ideology into public policy that is anti-tax, and anti-social safety net. Just because something inspires you personally, does not make it a viable ideology upon which to govern people in a community or a country.

Proponents of Rand have been gaining political power over the past 40 years and we are now seeing the very distressing results of an organized effort to “take from the middle and give to the rich.” http://www.mn2020hindsight.org/view/graph-of-the-day-take-from-the-middle-give-to-the-rich

Did Lulelemon realize that Ayn Rand is a political figure and divisive? If so, this is a cynical move. If not, this was an ignorant move.

I know a lot of people who are working at their best, and very hard, to produce community good will and cohesion, and to protect those that are less capable of protecting themselves. These good folk are hardly mediocre and many are doing what they were born to do. Just because they are not producers of a commercial good or service and may be paid by a non-profit or a government or not paid at all does not make them mediocre. As her ideology pertains to public policy Ayn Rand is just plain wrong. She was fundamentally and vehemently anti-tax, anti social welfare and yet we have a constitution that gives Congress the power to tax and use those revenues for the common good.

The problem is, really, that we are all fundamentally self-driven. Most of us are quite limited by identifying with that which we see, hear, feel, touch and smell: the little “i.” Empathy and Compassion are quite challenging for many of us. Yoga teaches a lot about yoking the ego with the soul (the big “I”), so that our actions in this life are infused with our soul-purpose on earth. And the soul’s purpose is very much about the “group.” Each soul is linked with the work of humanity on earth. None of us can escape that reality. And we are all trying to work out what that exactly means.

I would like to see a yoga clothing company draw from the vast traditions and philosophies in the historic yoga community that go back thousands of years across multiple cultures, rather than drawing inspiration from reactionary Cold War ideologues.

Comment by Concerned Citizen and Yoga Practitioner — November 17, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

You’ve lost my vote. How can anyone with any conscience possibly embrace Rand’s “philosophy?”

Comment by Lisa — November 17, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

Does anyone else find it curious that some pro-life Christian Conservatives are such devoted followers of Ayn Rand, a self described pro-choice atheist?

Comment by yogamama — November 17, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

The company (and/or its founder/president) have correctly identified the essence of Rand’s Objectivist ethics – each individual is responsible for thinking independently to make the best of their own lives. This rational self-interest is NOT the same as spur-of-the-moment “whim worship” or taking whatever you can whenever you can. It is in fact the opposite. Rand argued that true self-interest requires the hard work of planning long-term based on one’s assessment of reality.

It is easy to see why Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness”, properly understood, leads to the kind of genuine success and innovation achieved by Lululemon, and not surprising that its leader would share this philosophical perspective.

Comment by Roger Zimmerman — November 17, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

So many people seem to choose not to understand Rand. Twisting her words to their own ends because they heard the Tea Party liked her (oh, god forbid we cut gov’t or taxes). I will be buying many Christmas presents from lulullemon.

Comment by William — November 17, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

Wow. My comment appears to have been deleted.

Comment by Concerned Citizen and Yoga Practitioner — November 17, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

This is awesome. Thanks for having the guts to put that question on the bags. I will make my first Lululemon purchase ever, as a response to this action.

You’ll get a lot of little people, with little minds, thinking little thoughts, that will whine about this choice.

Comment by Kyla — November 17, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

…nothing like upsetting the status quo.

Comment by Owen Marcus — November 17, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

I will no longer shop at Lululemon. I have been one of your best customers for years. No longer. Please keep your politics out of my yoga pants.

Comment by Sally — November 17, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Putting the fact that a company is putting this out there… lets take a look for a second about the fundamental basis of not only the book Atlas Shrugged but the principles of yoga based on classical texts such as the yoga sutras.

Who is John Galt? He was a man that didn’t believe that people were entitled to anything and that they had to work hard for what they did achieve. Some may call this a selfish path but isn’t this a path that we all should take? Isn’t this entitled mind set what got us all into the trouble we are in? We must do the work, stand by our work and fit for what we believe in.

I was driving home and heard mention of this uproar on the radio and how people are in appalled that anyone would suggest those that are doing yoga are being asked to be self absorbed. “Yoga is a community building activity” is what they said. And I ask you… is it? In the Yoga Sutras it never talks about the community action. It only refers to the work the individual must do. Yes, yoga is a selfish practice. how lovely is that? Only with the work we do on ourselves can any change happen with in our community. So in the end, I agree that yoga is a community building activity but the individual work can not be overshadowed. We get what we work for. We are not entitled to anything within our community. If you do the work, you will see a positive outcome.

Look at the philosophy behind the reference. Yes, Ayn Rand was very political but that is not the only point. Politics does not equal Philosophy. The point is it comes back to philosophy. And philosophy is sharing thoughts. It was based on debate and opening your mind to create conversation. I am not entitled to my own opinion. I will do my work to understand something deeper then the surface.

Comment by Traci — November 17, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

Taken to the extreme in politics, the ideology has been shown to have serious implications which I do not care to delve into and I am not certain why anyone else would want to delve into them.

At a personal level, this ideology to me seems to embody all that is yoga. If a yogi were worried about everyone else in the room and how they were doing, they would never have a truly fulfilling yoga session. The same is true in life. The ego must be eliminated and a person must, like John Galt, attempt on a personal level to achieve their very best. Whether it is money, love, happiness, or self-knowledge, settling for mediocrity is not what life is meant for.

Comment by Ross — November 17, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

You are either part of the solution, or you are part of the problem. Your company has just stated, loud and clear, that you care to be part of the problem.

Comment by Tina — November 17, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

I was so excited to see ‘Who is John Galt’ on your bags! Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books. It changed my outlook on life. Way to go Lululemon! I love you even more now!!!

Comment by Carrie — November 17, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

AND, you as a company were never home-practitioner-friendly. You can go suck it. Your competitors rock .. they sell materials to use in home practice and blog yoga instruction as well …

Comment by Tina — November 17, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

I can’t wait to get to Houston, TX and buy more Lulu so I can get a bag. I love your high quality, good fitting clothes. They make me look awesome, and that’s worth paying extra for. I heard the NPR piece and I applaud you for your opinion and your leadership. Keep thinking and keep striving to rise above mediocrity. Maybe some of the people who posted negatively will open their closed minds a little and evaluate why they do what they do. Me? I’ll keep striving to rise above.

Comment by Kristie — November 17, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

Who is Chip Wilson? T-Shirt —> http://goodsie.com/store/ragdoll/who-is-chip-wilson

Comment by Ragdoll — November 17, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

To each his own.

It sounds like there is a universal acceptance of the definition of self-interest. Thus causing conflict. We all understand Objectivism in a unique way. Perhaps the following is not aligned with yoga or Ayn Rand or another one of your categories ideas fall into.

But, a pursuit in the name of self-interest can still be an act of humanitarianism.

Am I selfish, because I want to be an entrepreneur who makes enough money to feed my family, feed the poor, send my kids to school, send a stranger to school, start my own charter school, retire, and build homes in poverty-ridden cities?

Comment by Brynn Regan — November 17, 2011 @ 10:33 pm


In Buddhism one strives for enlightenment for the “benefit of all being everywhere” That includes other people. “Self realization” is the transcendence of self. It is more than just realizing the “divine force” within the individual. In the Upanishad we find the phrase “Tat tvam asi.” It means “I am that.” It is the moment when the the veil of ignorance is lifted to reveal that the divine “Self” within us, and Universal Consciousness are one and the same. It is the realization that we are not separate from one another. That we are connected to, and part of all things everywhere.

In the Yoga Sutras the very first concept of the 8 limbs of Yoga is Ahimsa, do no harm to others in though, word or action. In other words, think of others first.

No where in any of the Vedic texts is anything close to the concept of “The Virtue of Selfishness” expressed. Quite the oposite. The greatest joy in life is helping others. The small acts of love, kindness and compassion that we do in our everyday life is where real yoga begins.

Comment by Oman — November 17, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

I’m now a customer for life.

Comment by Sassy — November 18, 2011 @ 5:06 am

Atlas Shrugged – a literary work! Please! This is so disappointing. I just want you to know that you’ve lost me as a customer and I’ve already persuaded several friends (all yoga/Pilates people) to boycott you and your ridiculous campaign and I’m going to keep at it. Young people all over the world are putting themselves on the line in the Occupy movement, in Arab countries, etc. and you decide the time is ripe to push self-interest? Ayn Rand was a fascist pure and simple. Why would you align yourselves with ugly ideas? Who are you going to push next – Hitler? Shame on you. You’ve done something that is amazingly clueless and truly disgusting.

Comment by Maurice Arcand — November 18, 2011 @ 6:01 am

RE: Robert_E,
In Buddhism when one strives for enlightenment it isn’t for the “self” it is for “the benefit of all beings everywhere.” That includes other people. There is more to it than the discovery of “divine force WITHIN oneself.” The Upanishads tell us “Tat tvam asi”. This means “I am That”. It describes the moment when the veil of ignorance is lifted to reveal that the Individual divine “Self” and Universal Consciousness are one and the same. It is the realization that we are all connected, and part of everything everywhere.

In the Yoga Sutras the very 1st concept in The 8 limbs of Yoga is Ahimsa. It means do no harm to others in thought, speech or action. In other words think of other people first.

Nowhere in the Vedas is there anything like the concept of “The Virtue of Selfishness”. The opposite is true. The greatest joy in life is to help others. The small acts of love, kindness and compassion that we do in our everyday life is where real yoga begins.

Comment by Oman — November 18, 2011 @ 6:30 am

I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged or any Ayn Rand but I started last night. Reading through the comments and her bio it seems that she led a contemptible lifestyle but that’s not to say she didn’t have anything to offer the world.

Obviously this is quite a heated issue and many people are closed off to any opinion from the other side, they’re stuck in their own selfishness.

Rand acknowledged in the The Virtue of Selfishness’ introduction that the term ‘selfishness’ was not typically used to describe virtuous behavior, but insisted that her usage was consistent with a more precise meaning of the term as simply “concern with one’s own interests.” The equation of selfishness with evil, Rand said, had caused “the arrested moral development of mankind” and needed to be rejected.

When I look at that I completely agree, the goal in life is to live in a state of bliss, as I feel that happiness comes and goes dependent on our egos and how WE relate to the word selfishness.

With that being said, Rand also discussed the destructiveness of altruism in The Virtue of Selfishness.I understand the forming of an idea that altruism can lead to mediocrity if you look at it in the sense of duty; however, i believe altruism consists of giving something of value with no expectation of any compensation or benefits, either direct, or indirect.

Should I hate Ayn Rand because one thing she said wasn’t what I believe in?

Is lululemon playing the politics game?

How ridiculous.

These bags have given me insights into a new book/way of thinking, and whether positive or negative I’m learning and thus bettering myself. Great conversation starter and albeit around Christmas and perhaps not the best time for such a daring tactic, I applaud their efforts.

Rand: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”

Thank you for reading,

Comment by Interested Observer — November 18, 2011 @ 6:36 am

You just lost this customer. So, so disappointing.

Comment by Casey — November 18, 2011 @ 7:19 am

I’ve never shopped at Lululemon before. I do not do yoga, but I do work out. But, after hearing about you on NPR, I will certainly start.

Comment by JN — November 18, 2011 @ 7:41 am

Ditto what the commenter above wrote:

“I will no longer shop at Lululemon. I have been one of your best customers for years. No longer. Please keep your politics out of my yoga pants.”

Soon as I heard about this I was disgusted.

Comment by Kim — November 18, 2011 @ 8:40 am

I’m ashamed to wear lululemon in public now, don’t want to be associated with endorsing Ayn Rand’s message.

Comment by Kiki — November 18, 2011 @ 8:50 am

This post is a good summary of the “bright” side of Rand’s objectivism. People need to be free to achieve greatness instead of accepting a mediocrity forced upon them by the state. Etc.

But it leaves out the dark side. Her idea of individualism treats selfishness as a virtue, and lumps any collective, communal society into repressive totalitarianism. Basically she argues that there are no downsides to individualism, and no upsides to collectivism.

It’s a great philosophy for people looking to rationalize their own feeling of self-importance and selfishness.

Comment by 41st Ward Progressive — November 18, 2011 @ 9:43 am

Amanda – I can presume from your “freshman-year” response that you haven’t even read the book and therefore can’t make an educated assessment of what it’s about. The harsh fact of life is that this is the real world with real problems and not a sci-fi society where 7 billion can be rich and happy. The book and John Galt merely encourage everyone to strive towards being the very best they can be as individuals and in turn the world will inevitably be a better place.

Comment by ZJ — November 18, 2011 @ 9:45 am

Interesting interpretations into Ayn Rand’s writings, and a feverish devotion to Landmark…
lululemon, please don’t let all the good you do get caught up in this garbage. Ditch Rand and Landmark, it’s time to grow out of that phase and find your own path.

Comment by C — November 18, 2011 @ 10:02 am

Bravo. I’ve long been a fan of Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged. I listened with delight to NPR’s story about your shopping bag touting “Who is John Galt?” I wager that many naysayers have never read this book, which is their choice, but I would hope they have done their due diligence to understand what it means before blanketly accepting the views of critics. I admit that Ayn Rand’s theories are extreme, as are the characters in the book, but it illustrates many points, points that are hard to argue against. People can choose only to see the political messages, but I would hope society as a whole can see the good for each individual to strive to be the best and be passionate and dedicated in what they do. Your customers support that message every time they buy your product. You can count me as one proud and supportive customer.

Comment by Graham — November 18, 2011 @ 10:12 am

NPR actually did a story about this that aired yesterday. You can listen to the story or read the transcript here: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/17/142472057/lululemon-customers-asked-who-is-john-galt

Comment by Teni — November 18, 2011 @ 10:13 am

Although I have loved your clothes, I will never purchase another product from this company. Seriously… Ayn Rand? Yoga? You have got to be kidding me.

I’m taking my hard-earned money elsewhere.

Comment by Kathy — November 18, 2011 @ 11:43 am

I haven’t been a lululemon customer in the past, but I will be the next time I need some yoga pants! I’m impressed with this company standing by the beliefs it was founded upon, even if they are controversial.

Comment by Lindsey — November 18, 2011 @ 11:48 am

This is a ludicrous explanation for an insidious and harmful political philosophy. You have misunderstood Atlas Shrugged – and you have situtated your “rise above” ethos in a awfully reactionary political philosophy. Atlas Shrugged says that “greatness” is a result of personal choices totally divorced from context and one’s actual situation. Atlas Shrugged encourages a world without children, it encourages death to those who disagree with its philosophy (remember the train wreck scene?), and it, naturally, ends in violent struggle. Is this what your company believes in? It’s quite sickening that lululemon has chosen to promote Ayn Rand and her proto-fascist philosophy. By the way, Ayn Rand lived on social assistance in her old age. So much for libertarianism – by her own philosophy she should have starved and died on the streets rather than accept governmen “hand outs”. I’m glad to know the truth about your company.

Comment by RDT — November 18, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

Good for lulu lemon. I’ll buy one. Atlas Shrugged is about a government and elected officials that takes from the workers and producers and gives to there special interests buddys. A government that stops companies from making products that work in favor of companies that make things that don’t work. Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like importing oil but not drilling for it, OR taxing Ford and giving the money to GM, OR preventing farmers from watering their crops, OR someones home being taken by the government because they want someone else to have your land (like a strip mall). That is what the book is about, and John Gault didn’t want to build something and then have it taken away. Do you want a government that spends money they don’t have much of which goes to their buddies businesses and then send you the bill? IF THE ANSWER IS NO THEN BUY THE BAG! Send the message we don’t want any more out of control spending and we don’t want to lose everything we have worked for to pay the bill. Read Atlas Shrugged and you will get it.Kate

Comment by kate — November 18, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

Ayn Rand?

I thought at 15 she was brillant but one I had been exposed to the real world I realized what a 1% view of the world she has. It was no surprize to find years later that the Republicans worship her. Are you going to start pushing other neo conservatives at us too.

Lululemon you have just lost me as a customer. Thanks for putting this us before I did my Xmas shopping. My kids will be getting everything but.

Comment by Sally — November 18, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

“I am for social safety net! And medicare! And no people being bad! And we roses! And pink unicorns! But let me buy the $100 pair of pants and please ignore that the same $100 could feed poor people. I mean, I *need* to have the pants! Oh wait, how dare you put that Rand quote on a my bag?! I’m for social safety net for everyone – now can you take out my $100 pants from the bag because I cannot be seen with it at my $120 lunch”

Comment by Alex — November 18, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

So many commenters here assume that if you criticize Ayn Rand, you just haven’t read her books or really understood it. Not true. I’ve ready nearly everything that shrill fascist has written and find her books badly written and intellectually laughable.

It seems amazingly stupid to me that at this time – with Occupy Wall St. raging – Lululemon would choose to identify themselves with selfishness, greed, capitalism, and the 1%. Those may be Lululemon’s values, but they aren’t the values of most people.

Lululemon is antithetical to everything yoga is about. Now that they’re letting their true colors show, nobody who truly strives to live by yogic principles should support this business.

Boycott Lululemon.

Comment by Boycotting Lululemon — November 18, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

Really disappointed that you decided to do this. Not sure I will choose to shop at your store again.

Comment by Jenny — November 18, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

It is hilarious to see people suggesting that Rand’s philosophy is compatible with yoga. The goal of yoga is realization of atman or the nature of true self not the indulgences of the western construction of a atomized, isolated hyper individualism. Rand advocates egoism the pursuit of ego attachments and petty cravings, power and wealth the exact opposite of awakening.

There is nothing deep or profound or admirable in engaging in the consumption or production of consumer fetish objects. There is nothing emancipatory about being obsessed with small minded struggles of status and hierarchy that is a common feature of baboon troupes.

Rand’s philosophy cannot be reduced to vague new age conceptualizations of “personal best” or motivational speaker hucksterism evoking a quest for greatness, she believed in raw self interest that disregards the degree and extent of negative impact that this behaviour would have on anyone else. In doing so it rationalizes any manner of brutalities or atrocities. i.e. slavery and the plunder and theft of indigenous property.

Using terms like “statism” are meaningless when considering who the true producers of value are. Chip Wilson might as well be John in Galt as far as he influences the invention and production of any goods that are designed by others and produced by sweatshop labour. The question of whether lulu products actually represent anything of value is a different one. The production of wealth is a result of a combination of raw and human resources , the elite in capitalism only exploit these resources they do not invent engineer or produce. “Who is John Galt” he is the personification of the myth of the productive and essential elite.

The irony is that for all Ayn Rand’s talk of liberty and freedom her conception of society would be nothing more than an elitist neo feudalistic police state It is essential to believe that productive activity comes from only a small elite. It is also highly amusing that believers of Rand’s shabby philosophy always believe that they are magically one of the elect and the rest of humanity has no productive value or essential worth.

I would point out that it is not a virtue to “tolerate” or “accept” Rand’s philosophy nor is it “hateful” or “negative” to point out that her belief system is profoundly dangerous, ignorant and hateful.

Also one does not need to read much of Rand to recognize is as crap. You don’t need to lock yourself into an outhouse to know sh*t stinks.

Rand’s promoted extreme narcissism bordering on sociopathy she mocked and derided empathy and compassion if these are values that you embrace you are welcome to them. The paradox of narcissism as evidenced by Ayn Rand’s own life is that you might be able to convince others of your greatness but unfortunately you are unable to influence your own sense of deep inadequacy and unworthiness. Focusing on your own sense of greatness, status or wealth will not lead to emotional, intellectual or spiritual development. It will create and maintain conditions that will ensure ongoing fear, isolation and suffering.

Comment by Chris — November 18, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

Awesome — I need to scrap together some $ so I can get one of the bags :) I’m a huge fan of AS and I think anyone — who takes the time to read and reflect upon it — can take the message and find ways to apply it to their own lives. I cannot even begin to make a difference in society if I am not fulfilled first.

Comment by Meredith — November 18, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

Lululemon, elevating the world from mediocrity with overpriced yoga pants that nobody needs.

Comment by HossCo — November 18, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

Did we read the same book? I will never buy or wear your clothes again.

Comment by Shanda Shepherd — November 18, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

I can’t afford lululemon products but I did buy stock in the company since it seemed to be the hottest thing since sliced bread. Since buying it at $60 a share, it has sunk continuously and is now at a sad $49 a share.

Just a suggestion, but maybe focus less on alienating people from buying your products. Perhaps those who can afford your products are Ayn Rand fans, but there are a lot of people of means who appreciate that not everyone can think their way out of poverty and despair. Those people will now think twice before buying from you.

Now that I better understand the company’s philosophies, if the stock ever gets back to $60 a share, I will sell.

Comment by Amy — November 18, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

Why did you have to go there, I spend an awful lot of money on your yoga wear. Correction, I did spend a lot of money on your yoga wear.

Comment by Cheryl — November 18, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

Perhaps a quote from Buckminster Fuller or E.O. Wilson would have been more appropriate and in-line with the values of both Lulu Lemon and conscious-capitalism, as opposed to the appalling philosophy of Ayn Rand and the hands off approach of laissez-faire capitalism which is greatly responsible for the financial crisis we see unfolding globally today. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Grenspan was a huge Rand fan and even went as far as to say she was his mentor. Since leaving the FED, and seeing the financial crisis unfold with banks like Goldman Sachs making billions off of selling worthless bundled financial scams, he has said he was wrong at least 30% of the time with his “hands-off” approach inspired by Rand. Bucky once said ‘We are all born geniuses but sadly de-geniused by our parents and the rote education system.’ It is highly true and this is the source of much of the mediocrity in our society. We also have Abrahamic religious teachings that promote mediocrity and out-dated metaphors like survival of the fittest that promote mass pathology. Nothing on this planet can exist in isolation, everything is connected, yoga teaches that, it makes me sick that a company like Lulu Lemon could be so clueless in this day and age, I guess you, like Whole Foods, embody many contradictions, you understand somethings, but can’t connect the dots.

Comment by Shayne — November 18, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

It is simply never a good idea to do something that purposely offends a portion of your customer base. It’s bad business. You may get a temporary spike because of the publicity, but if you really want to see how Rand does outside of book sales (which remember are required reading in many high school and college classes so the students are FORCED by the “government” to read it- talk about irony.) check out how well Atlas Shrugged did at the box office last year(hint, it was a huge bomb).
This was a dumb move and there are now thousands of potential customers who will always associate lulu with Rand in a negative way.
Also, seriously whoever is paying for the sock puppets to comment on this needs to learn to vary the message. They sound like obvious bots.

Comment by Peg — November 18, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

Terrible book, terrible message, you will not received another dime from me.

Comment by tom — November 18, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

There was just recently a great article about this company’s various troubles on HP. Check it out….


Comment by tlsgwm — November 18, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

So thought provoking….I don’t think it is the spirit of yoga and inner self inquiries to mandate what that experience should be for others. That type of sheep talk (herd mentality) makes me sick. There is nothing objectionable in Atlas Shrugged if you read it carefully. Just as there s nothing objectionable in Brave New World or 1984. Truly yoga is about balance and demonizing a quest for personal liberty is unbalanced. Not everyone believes that Capitalism is an inherent evil, or that Capitalism = Corporatism. The true problem lies in Governent sponsored corporatism, which is 2/3 of the way to fascism. LuLu Lemon is genius for this controversial campaign slogan by taking a page from Atlas Shrugged. Brilliant!

Comment by Alice — November 18, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

Nice one, You just lost another customer….

Nice job at understanding your customer base and what they stand for, Lululemon, this is one of the funnier PR disasters I’ve ever witnessed.

You might want to do a little more reading beyond Ayn Rand to form a valid opinion on the world we find ourselves in. Ayn Rand’s message only made sense in the context of escaping Russian in the 1920′s and writing this book as some kind of a crazed love letter to what she thought she found in the US. It makes no sense in today’s world, 30 years of supposedly unbridled self interest has led us exactly to where we are today. Her theory is as crazed as the idea that Soviet style Communism was an answer either. To think that somehow it is a choice between rampant individualism and total collectivism is as simple minded as the Tea Party.

And by the way, Alan Greenspan, a famous fan and mentee of Ayn Rand, the ex-head of the Federal Reserve that destroyed our economy admitted his philosophy based on rational self interest was faulty in front of Congress.

Comment by Jonquille — November 18, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

John Galt is the guy who arrives to yoga late, blocks the mirror and refuses to move his mat.

Comment by John — November 18, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

I was discussing this with a group of 5 friends the other night. All of us have spent hundreds of dollars on Lululemon each year in the past and we all aggreed that we’re done with this company. Forever. Not another cent.

This is what this company will get for pushing such a contemptible worldview on their customers.

Comment by lbc — November 18, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

You’ve lost a customer. Just started yoga and have seen your products on some people. Googled your name and came across this — glad I did. The last thing this country needs is more libertarian claptrap.

Comment by Don — November 18, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

Well, I will no longer be purchasing anything from Lululemon or attending events sponsored by Lululemon here in Chicago. I remind every one who disagrees with your sentiments that exercising the power of their dollar by boycotting your stores might just send a massage.

Comment by Karen — November 18, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

Well, there go my plans to ever buy anything from your company.

Comment by AthenaH2SO4 — November 18, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

I have spent maybe a thousand dollars on Lululemon gear in the last few years but wow, you have just guaranteed that I will never spend a penny more on your brand.

I am stunned that you are promoting the ideas of Ayn Rand, which are in direct opposition to yogic ideals. “The Virtue of Selfishness” (one of Rand’s many titles promoting her philosophy of Objectivism) is itself an oxymoron by yogic standards.

From today forward I will spend my dollors on yoga brands that share the yogic values of SelfLESSness and compassion.

Comment by Mary B — November 18, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

You should probably hire a better PR firm. Just unsubscribed from your email list.

Comment by pppatgo — November 18, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

Ayn Rand? Seriously? Contemptible dreck for small minds. I’ll shop elsewhere from now on.

Comment by Brian MacDougall — November 18, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

If I could return every article of clothing I’ve ever purchased @ lululemon & receive a refund- I would. Completely disgusted….not by the quote, because Ayn Rand was a mediocre author at best. But finding out that THIS is the premise the founder built his company on, instead of the tennets of yoga, seriously disgusts me and I feel it truly shows the manipulative drivvle that so many have fallen for. It speaks to a selfish frame of mind to make a buck. “Let’s make our company appear to be based on the ideology of peace & unity-all the while, we really only want their money & could care less about the world community.” I’m ashamed I own any of these clothes & will be donating thousands of dollars of clothes just to clear the karma. If this is your belief, fine, you have that right. But don’t use it to continue to make your millions while screwing everyone…because that is the true belief system of Ayn Rand.

Comment by April — November 18, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

Its one thing to strive for more than mediocrity – I think this is a positive message but how we do this says a lot about who we are as an individual. Ayn Rand espoused the virtues of selfishness a rejected altruism. This sounds like the philosophy of Wall Street and the 1%. Not a surfer dude hippie from Vancouver trying to make comfortable yoga clothes.

Comment by D. Carter — November 18, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

Yikes. Really? Extremist politics with my yoga gear?

No thank you. Will be spending my money elsewhere and letting others know that lulu lemon sucks A. Rand.

Comment by slim — November 18, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

John Galt and all the awesome people at Galt’s Gulch will look stunning in your pants while doing all the farming/policing/teaching/janitorial services and whatnot. However, I don’t seem to be special enough for your magic pants, on me they’re just stretchy pants and super Luon/Luxtreme has no more special power than plain old mediocre spandex. Ugh, I guess it’s because I’m just a good for nothing worker bee! I’ll never pollute your Luluness will my dirty average money again, I promise!!!

Comment by Just Average — November 18, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

Pathetic and shame on you “Yogis”,keep chasing rainbows of “enlightment”.ayn rand was a welfare queen hypocrite. She accepted MCR/MCD Social Security and her “conservative dogma” was a fraud when reality of her end of life took her, like it will take all of us. And “you people” licked it all up, shame on you. Her financial security allowed her more comfort then most of us. Without MCR/MCD and SS, who among us would let grandma/grandpa, the disabled, the poor die under bridges/streets/ their homes? Will that help you “transcend”?
Shame on you “tools” who believe this coporate drivel and responded positively to it. You have black souls and will never find nirvana. Next time in tadasana star down at you toe and “pretend” to learn humilityy Just pathetic

Comment by Jim Wind — November 18, 2011 @ 7:47 pm

Yeesh. Just thoroughly disgusted in the current political climate that this would be the message. You’ve just lost a customer. Can I send you back the pants I bought years ago too?

Comment by LongTimeYogini — November 18, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

This book is the Bible of cooperate greed. I agree that “mediocrity” is a problem, but this right wing ideology (of Rand’s) uses that word as a euphemism for compassion and public service. This essay was written by someone trying to seel a brand and completely ignorant of the philosophy of objectivism, the Rand foundation, or what this book means.

Comment by Mike — November 18, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

Well, my comment was deleted. I also read Rand at age 18 too Chip, but then I grew wiser with age. You need to volunteer in, say, Africa and sow some compassion into your soul. Rand was an atheist who died while on public aid. I wonder if she was thankful someone else paid her health bills for her cancer treatments.

Comment by pat — November 18, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

Do neocons have to try to take over everything? Can’t you leave anything untouched by your selfish, self-centered, self-aggrandizement?

Yoga is not about Ayn Rand. Yoga is not about self-centered selfishness. It is the antithesis.

This is what your Ayn Rand promoting did. Until I learned this about you, I was your customer. I loved your clothes. They were the best. But here’s the thing. Your clothes are no longer the best. Other clothing lines have caught up to you and offer similar. Many offer it for less. And I just became Prana’s new customer. You’ve lost me and every other yogi who wore your clothes not for the label but because they were the best.

You will keep all of the yoga trendies who “show up” for yoga wearing Lululemon because both are a trend for them. They are your customers who will support your ideology.

They are also the few people here who are posting multiple contrived comments of support. These comments may or may not be genuine, but even if they are, they are not the majority of the yoga community. Not even close.

I’ve done yoga day 5 days a week in a class of 50 people for many years. About 5 of those people are your new Lululemon customers who will support this.

The other 45 are conscientious people who will not just object to your ideology, they will resent you bringing that ideology to yoga. And they will particularly resent you trying to bring yoga into a hostile political environment.

The Tea Party is not popular in the yoga community and the yoga community is a tight.

Lululemon just made themselves a proud sponsor of the Tea Party. Good luck with that.

Comment by Suzanne Williams — November 18, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

Not only will I never buy your clothes again, I will not wear the Lululemon clothes that I have. I hesitate to even donate them knowing your logo will prominently appear on them.

I had NO idea that this is what the company founder was about. Latching onto and exploiting the ideas of yoga.

If someone were to counter your marketing effort with yoga tops that said “I’m a real yogi. I don’t support Ayn Rand or Lululemon” I would buy those tops in a heartbeat and wear them every day to yoga. I’m serious.

How dare Lululemon bring this selfish filth to yoga. And how stupid. You have to be aware of the abundance of yoga clothes available. Affordable yoga clothes. I used to splurge on your stuff. I should thank you for giving me an easy out on that indulgence.

I’m an avid yogi at a popular studio. And I go on many retreats with hundreds (literally) of other yogis. Every time I see someone wearing your logo at my studio or on a retreat, I will make sure they know about your ideology. I’ll also ask my studio to discontinue carrying your line.

Comment by Anne Shephard — November 18, 2011 @ 10:45 pm

This has to be one of the worst marketing strategies to go down in history.

Lululemon just became the Peta’s “real fur” of yoga.

Are you people crazy?

Comment by Jennifer Garner — November 18, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

Lululemon just became the Peta’s “real fur”.

This is the worst PR move ever. Regardless of what the Bot posters on here are trying to sell. I mean come on, do you think anyone is buying that?

Comment by Samuel Adler — November 19, 2011 @ 12:06 am

Seriously? Bwuahaha!! Ayn Rand followers are Tea Party Birthers. Why is a Canadian retailer endorsing political dogma on their clothing? Keep your views to the knowledge of your subject matter: Yoga. You just lost another customer “Chip”.

Comment by K.K. — November 19, 2011 @ 12:46 am

A lot of the cronie support posters here keep saying the only reason people are objecting to it is because we haven’t read it. Atlas Shrugged is required reading in Lit 101 class. We’ve all read the book.

Supporters of Ayn Rand can make all the philisophical arguments to try to defend it. But the truth is that Ayn Rand ideology provides greedy people with an excuse to be selfish and greedy.

People who espouse Ayn Rand’s ideology are justifying their greed and selfishness under the guise of the purity of self-interest. But it’s really just greed.

Comment by John Gault — November 19, 2011 @ 1:10 am

The notions of greatness and mediocrity are egocentric and not in keeping with yoga’s spiritual basis.

Comment by Jonathan Wells — November 19, 2011 @ 1:18 am

I love yoga, and I am also an avid Rand reader. How many people commenting have read Atlas Shrugged? Or have they just heard about what it’s supposed to mean on the internet or through a newscast? Read the book, make your own decision and then comment on it. I will continue to shop at Lulu and will go today so I can hopefully get a bag!

Comment by shay — November 19, 2011 @ 1:54 am

What’s next? Mussolini’s name on a bag!? After all, he established “order” in Italy and the trains started running on time.

Comment by Goran — November 19, 2011 @ 5:07 am

Great post and great idea! I just shared this with my girlfriend and she loves Lululemon even more now (didn’t know if that was possible…).

Comment by Chris Smith — November 19, 2011 @ 5:15 am

I have been seriously into yoga since 1987, and read Atlas Shrugged the same year. I have since read all of Ayn Rand’s writings – fiction and non-fiction. One of her main themes (also in Atlas Shrugged) is Individualism vs Collectivism: Individualism (creativity, integrity, productivity, virtue, taking responsibility, curiosity, self-sufficiency, self-interest, charity, individual rights, John Galt) vs Collectivism (religion, mob rule, groupthink, racism, dumbed-down, socialism / communism, loss of individual rights, living off the productivity of others, welfare, Wesley Mouch).

Nothing could be more individual than Yoga – integrity in the poses to get the most benefit, the individual effort to practice it and meditation – which can only happen within each individual. Even the Yoga philosophy of finding the truth (oneness, god, etc.) within is distinctly individual as opposed to religious – that is why I was attracted to it. I have found that Ayn Rand’s philosophy (known as Objectivism) goes hand in hand with yoga. And for those of you who have heard that she is an atheist, you might want to study it before jumping on that one. She acknowledges the existence of “energy” or rather that existence, whatever it is, exists – her objection is the humanized God as defined by religions.

I have never been to your store but heard the NPR show about you. It seems there is one nearby so I will check it out.

Comment by Howard — November 19, 2011 @ 8:37 am

I’m laughing at the comments left by these self absorbed yogis who are used to spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on their yoga gear while I shop at thrift stores. I’m wondering if any of these enlightened people have even met the downtrodden folks whose cause they so vehemently espouse, or is it just another way to be trendy.

Comment by Teresa — November 19, 2011 @ 8:37 am

I don’t think anyone would disagree that there isn’t something good to be found in ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ And, when depoliticized, I pursuit of happiness and self-betterment seems to fit nicely with the modern liberal sense of self-work or self-improvment that ties in nicely with modern manifestations of “yoga” as a form of self-improvement. When considered outside of any social or political implications, they seem harmless, and rather happy.

But I would argue that yogic philosophy, at least drawing from its Buddhist ties, would not support the concept of “man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life,” rather that humans, in their individual difference, are interconnected in a deep web of interdependence with all life, and the purpose of life is precisely letting go of the self or the individual pursuit of happiness and opening up to this deep web of interbeing.

On another note, while they’ve already been discussed here and there, I think it’s also worthwhile to mention the political implications of Ayn Rand’s thinking. I agree that politics is a contentious issue and recognize that there is no correct way to approach political and social modes of thinking, but it is certainly important to be aware of the implications of our selected ideological frameworks.

An individualist politics, in which individuals are motivated by their own self-interest in order to be productive (read: obtain profit and a privately funded standard of living in a capitalist economy), one which demands greatness of individuals, effectively erases the deep-rooted systems of class, race, gender, sexual, ableist, and other forms of inequality. What does this mean? Well, as system that focuses entirely on the individual and his or her self interest as motivating his or her success renders illegible–completely invisible–the deep rooted systems of power which effectively produce stratified social circumstances. So, in effect, the poor become blamed for their poverty. An individualist politics (of which Ayn Rand’s objectivism is one, we might also discuss neoliberalism and neoconservatism) rejects any the idea of the social collective: so environmental rights, animal rights, and collective rights are seen as simply impeding on an individual’s liberty, on one’s freedom to pursue one’s own happiness, which is “the moral purpose of life.” But, in the capitalist economy, which Ayn Rand supported, one’s pursuit of one’s happiness is most definitely at odds with the needs of the environment, of animals, of workers: those whose labour or very being is exploited for profit. Even liberal attempts to address these concerns within a capitalist system, such as the minimum wage, environmental laws, child labor laws, and public education as an initiative of equal opportunity, are rejected by objectivist philosophy.

So while Ayn Rand’s writing may seem harmless and inspiring if read outside of its subtle advocation for a hyperindividualist political framework, she was herself an advocate of a political system that holds at utmost value individual rights to pursue self-interest in a capitalist society. This is a system which erases human interconnection with one another and with all beings, which renders invisible systemic forms of power to effectively blame the poor for being born into poverty, and which naturalizes “rational self-interest” as the most essential and innate of human behaviours.

Comment by Andrea Palichuk — November 19, 2011 @ 8:38 am

Very Disappointed. You have lost another previously loyal customer. I cannot support a company that actively promotes such a narrow-minded, selfish worldview. Thanks for showing your true colours before I made the mistake of buying or asking for any of your clothes for Christmas.

Comment by Meg — November 19, 2011 @ 8:51 am

P.S sorry for errors above due to iPad post

Comment by Texas Girl — November 19, 2011 @ 8:53 am

In “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand describes a society where people work and reside in corporate-controlled environments that are tightly regimented. Without realizing it, this control created a society of mediocrity; propagating a cycle of listless, uninspired existing as opposed to living. The character John Galt encouraged all of the world’s innovators and intelligent minds to go on strike from the increasingly controlling corporate agenda in order to create a vacuum of brilliance, proving that independent creativity and free-will is critical for quality of life.

Comment by Daeran — November 19, 2011 @ 10:15 am

Maybe LuLuLemon can come up with a new bag that says “Who was Alan Greenspan?” Greenspan after all was a huge Rand supporter and has now testified under oath that we was wrong a large amount of the time, while residing over the Federal Reserve, including making the decision to not regulate the dark market of OCD derivatives, which reached over $550 trillion dollars in 2008, before evaporating overnight because of the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Many people here claim that the people that are criticizing Rand’s book and work haven’t read the book, maybe so, but considering Greenspan’s admission alone, someone who even met Rand several times, to basically come out and say I WAS WRONG, this whole campaign in really shameful and just goes to show how truly disconnected LuLuLemon is from the reality of the world today.

Comment by Shayne — November 19, 2011 @ 11:01 am

Hey, Lululemon, thanks for bringing the Tea Party to my yoga class. Until this, it was one of the few places to get away from their ire.

Next, instead yoga teachers sharing the words of Gandhi and saluting fellow man, we can look forward to them spewing the words of Rand encouraging us to diss our neighbors in the name of self-interest.

Fantastic. Namaste.

Comment by Brooke Silva — November 19, 2011 @ 11:40 am

Excellent post! And a great book.

Sorry you have a few comments here from others that are negative.

Keep up the good work!

Comment by Dora — November 19, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

In the real world, what would John Galt do when he found his sales sufficiently impacted by boycotts?
Perhaps he’d retire to his island and start feeding on his cannibal friends?
Or, like Ayn Rand taking Medicare, it is more likely he’d sell out.

Comment by shelleybear — November 19, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

I have practiced yoga for the last decade and it has made me a more compassionate , kind and aware person. I am not just aware my own selfish needs but also the needs of others (e.g. my family, friends, and coworkers). I am deeply saddened (but hardly surprised) that a consumerist and upscale clothing company would claim to support yogic ideals when it suits their fiscal bottom line, and then endorse the virtue to selfishness and capitalism on the other hand. I’m very familiar with Ayn Rand’s philosophy and I find it to be the antithesis of the goals ordinary yogis and masters strive for everyday. Our goal is NOT to be the best, but to be the best we can be in service to Nature and humanity. We ARE instruments of God, NOT God itself. Any credo or “mantra” that forgets this is NOT in line with yoga’s tenets. The late Yogi Bhajan said famously,”What is the purpose of life? Answer: to elevate ALL, big and small.” Put THAT on your tote bags, please!

Comment by Pam — November 19, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

Let me make one more small effort to explain. Clearly this will not make the collectivists among you change your mind. Understanding how the Anarcho-Capitalism described in Ayn Rand’s writing have much in common with Yoga, especially at the Dharma and Karma level.

Many of you claim to know the UNIVERSAL purpose of Yoga. This is spiritual and intellectual hubris of the worst kind. Sadly it is typical of collectivists who always stand ready to claim a better knowledge of what is good for the rest of us that we do ourselves.

Yoga is first and foremost an experiential path of discovery. As such, its purpose and its results are unique and different for each of us. This is however not the main point I will address here.
To make this a little more interesting, let me stark by quoting from a post by “Oman”.


Now I’m going to surprise you. I will take as my starting premise that Oman’s statement above is absolutely correct. You see, the philosophy of Liberty (including Ayn Rand’s version) also has a 1st concept. It is commonly referred to as the “First Principle” and it states that no human being may initiate aggression against another. Aggression in this context is defined as violence, fraud, theft or any other form of harm to others in thought, speech or action.

Well, waddaya know!

Aggression by the way is what it is REGARDLESS of any “good” intention. In other words, even an ostensibly charitable good becomes aggression if it is forced upon the recipient against the recipient’s will. It becomes double aggression if such the charitable good was not produced by the giver, but instead obtained by force (of taxation) from others against their will.

Sadly, Oman next blows what was such a promising start, by giving us his own interpretation of the meaning of Ahima.

<> NOT.

Ahima requires of me that I begin by thinking of ME. I need to become aware of my weaknesses and shortcomings so that, through learning and exercise, I may first ensure that I am no burden to others. I have no business involving myself in the lives of others unless (a) I have achieved a sufficiently large store of knowledge and self sufficiency from which to give to others and (b) I have been explicitly and personally invited by them to do so.


In closing I leave you all with one provocative question. Most if not all of you probably claim that you live in a free society, one in which you enjoy liberty. Most of you would however be hard put to define what liberty really is. What it provides you with and what it demands of you. So this then is my question: Can you define “liberty”?

If you are unsure, I offer you the website http://www.tolfa.us as a good place to begin your exploration.

Comment by Robert_E — November 19, 2011 @ 2:17 pm


Let me make one more small effort to explain. Clearly this will not make the collectivists among you change your mind. Understanding how the Anarcho-Capitalism described in Ayn Rand’s writing have much in common with Yoga, especially at the Dharma and Karma level.

Many of you claim to know the UNIVERSAL purpose of Yoga. This is spiritual and intellectual hubris of the worst kind. Sadly it is typical of collectivists who always stand ready to claim a better knowledge of what is good for the rest of us that we do ourselves.

Yoga is first and foremost an experiential path of discovery. As such, its purpose and its results are unique and different for each of us. This is however not the main point I will address here.
To make this a little more interesting, let me stark by quoting from a post by “Oman”.

** In the Yoga Sutras the very 1st concept in The 8 limbs of Yoga is Ahimsa. It means do no harm to others in thought, speech or action. **

Now I’m going to surprise you. I will take as my starting premise that Oman’s statement above is absolutely correct. You see, the philosophy of Liberty (including Ayn Rand’s version) also has a 1st concept. It is commonly referred to as the “First Principle” and it states that no human being may initiate aggression against another. Aggression in this context is defined as violence, fraud, theft or any other form of harm to others in thought, speech or action.

Well, waddaya know!

Aggression by the way is what it is REGARDLESS of any “good” intention. In other words, even an ostensibly charitable good becomes aggression if it is forced upon the recipient against the recipient’s will. It becomes double aggression if such the charitable good was not produced by the giver, but instead obtained by force (of taxation) from others against their will.

Sadly, Oman next blows what was such a promising start, by giving us his own interpretation of the meaning of Ahima.

** In other words think of other people first. ** NOT.

Ahima requires of me that I begin by thinking of ME. I need to become aware of my weaknesses and shortcomings so that, through learning and exercise, I may first ensure that I am no burden to others. I have no business involving myself in the lives of others unless (a) I have achieved a sufficiently large store of knowledge and self sufficiency from which to give to others and (b) I have been explicitly and personally invited by them to do so.


In closing I leave you all with one provocative question. Most if not all of you probably claim that you live in a free society, one in which you enjoy liberty. Most of you would however be hard put to define what liberty really is. What it provides you with and what it demands of you. So this then is my question: Can you define “liberty”?

If you are unsure, I direct you to http://www.tolfa.us as a good place to begin your exploration.

Comment by Robert_E — November 19, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

I want to thank everyone who has participated in this discussion. I probably would never have read Atlas Shrugged except I was stuck in Alaska as a teenager for one week with only one thing to read. The book made a big impression on me. It made me think about the role of an individual in society, the role of government in business and the role of government in people’s life. No matter what side of the conversation you are on, one thing is clear to me. We need to become the best individual we are capable of to contribute to society and live a life we love. This book is on the lululemon reading list because I wanted to invite everyone who works at lululemon to think about the negative impact a company, government or individual can have when they are not taking full responsibility for their choices and lives.

I would find it difficult to believe that someone who has read the book would not see that the same themes are relevant today. The Occupy Wall Street movement is questioning the role of government in business, the role of business in society, who should be taxed and the distribution of taxes and as individuals, demanding that society allow them to reach their full potential. Ayn Rand, in order to make a point, goes to the extreme, but extreme is what it took to write one of the most read books of all time.

Reading the book became an inspiration to many of my choices in life. What I got is I only have 30,000 days to live. Personally, I was inspired to be everything I can be. That means I make a top quality product, treat my staff and customers with the utmost respect, that I am a great citizen that makes a difference and my family is cohesive and full of possibility. In 30,000 days I have no time for those that are not out to be great in their own lives, no time for products that will not last, and no time for people without integrity.

As an individual taking full responsibility for my life, I reach my full potential. I know when I am reaching for my full potential I help the world reach its potential and the world is a better place.

I am thankful for my life and I thank all those who create greatness in their lives.

Agreeing or disagreeing with the ideology of Ayn Rand is not the point of our putting “Who is John Galt?” on our shoppers. It was about sharing what inspired me to create a great company for great people, and inviting people to read the book to form their own opinion.

Chip Wilson

Comment by chip wilson — November 19, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

Chip, I read your post above. I can’t tell if your explanation was just to defend your decision, or if it’s also an attempt to manage the backlash and salvage your customer base.

If it was only to defend yourself you succeeded. We get it. You’re great and you have “no time” in your remaining 30,000 days for “mediocre people”. Your words, and thank you for letting us know.

However, if you wanted to salvage the customer base who contributed to the greatness of your brand and company, you failed. You failed to see who and what your customers are about. You failed to even acknowledge us in your post.

So, while you may be great in many things, at customer relations you’re barely mediocre.

Comment by shakti — November 19, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

Wow, so from this blog post and Chip’s response in the comments above I guess Lululemon thinks that those of us who don’t agree with Ayn Rand’s crazy right wing philosophies (and yes I’ve read Atlas Shrugged) are ‘mediocre.’
Lululemon thinks that those of us who care about the environment, thinks workers should be treated fairly, and the less fortunate should not just be cast off are ‘mediocre.’

I’m sure you don’t care about what I think since you’re brushing me off as just another mediocre failure, but I’ve done quite well for myself while actually caring about others and the world around me. I can be successful without buying into insane selfishness.
I’ve done well enough to have spent a large amount of money on Lululemon products for myself and my girlfriend in the past.
I won’t make that mistake EVER again.

I’ve been spreading this news to everyone I know who shops at Lululemon and everyone I’ve talked to has been just as disturbed as I have.
You’re losing a lot of customers for this.

Comment by JohnN — November 19, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

Yep, we get it. Thanks for letting us know.


Comment by shakti — November 19, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

Well said, Chip Wilson, well said.

Rest assured that you have many many friends. More people every day are waking up to the evils of statism and the true promise of liberty.

Whatever you do, stand your ground. Don’t capitulate to the masses of envious people who are too cowardly to acknowledge that their first responsibility is to stand on their own two feet instead of being a burden on others. God forbid, they make something of themselves rather than demand that the wealth created by others be handed to them unearned.

Comment by Robert_E — November 19, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

Stay Hungry. Stay foolish. – Steve Jobs. I’ll take him over Ayn Rand any day of the week.

Comment by Am Squared — November 19, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

I love the idea of the bags. I wish that you could buy the bags online separately.

Comment by Tim — November 19, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

Bravo to Chip Wilson! My wife just started yoga and loves it, but still needs the clothes. Now we know where we are getting them from – you. I also want the bag…

Always entertaining, if not also pathetically sad, to see the usual hysterics of those who want to think Ayn Rand is the bogie man. As usual they show all emotion (a seething hatred), no argument, and zero reading skills (or at least mediocre wikipedia skills).

Tons of experience makes me doubt if most of these people are even customers, Rand haters are an extremely motivated bunch.

And to think anyone actually deludes themselves into thinking they do yoga out of “selflessness” and wear expensive clothing with it “to help one’s fellow man” that they claim they care so much about. Community? Harmony? May be a principle of yoga, but people join for personal health and to make their butt look better. Please, it is ridiculous.

Comment by Robert J. Wigard — November 20, 2011 @ 4:42 am

Message for ‘Am Squared’:

You may want to read the book ‘I am John Galt’. Steve Jobs plays a very prominent role in it.

Comment by Robert_E — November 20, 2011 @ 5:27 am

Chip, you entirely missed the point of the book (and yes I have read it). You took one thought that appears noble and ignored the implications of what has to happen. Rookie mistake. Stick to making stretchy clothing.

Comment by Markville — November 20, 2011 @ 9:05 am

Lululemon’s affiliation with John Galt / Ayn Rand makes me an even bigger fan of the lululemon brand. While the idea of striving for more than mediocrity is a component of the book and Rand’s philosophy, it is not the focus of it at all. Her philosophy is actually about looking out for number 1 (yourself) and doing what you want at all times, regardless of what others think. It’s about personal integrity and being authentic. Unfortunately too many people in North America are way too caught up in impressing others and not thinking for themselves. That is the opposite of being authentic.

Every single person I know who I would consider having a deep level of self-awareness has come to the conclusion that the way to achieve as much contentment/fulfillment as possible in life comes from helping others. Therefore if I focus on looking out for myself and my own happiness, I will make my life about helping other people (because it makes ME feel good) and as a result the world will benefit. The difference is that I’m helping others authentically (because it’s rewarding to me), rather than doing it to impress all my friends with how much of a saint I am. I’m a Life/Career Coach so I see this every day. I firmly belief that everyone eventually figures out that helping others is the true key to happiness, so if we all look out for our own happiness (and therefore help others in the process) the world would indeed be a better place. Unfortunately not everyone reaches this level of awareness and they spend their lives continually trying to impress others and not have to the courage to think for – and be – themselves.

That’s my $0.02 worth.

Comment by billy — November 20, 2011 @ 10:08 am

The best way to neutralize this controversy would be to issue a series of bags with each featuring a different thought provoking question or statement, all from various public figures and works of fiction. For example, Ghandi, Siddhartha, etc.

Comment by Stephen Bonser — November 20, 2011 @ 10:20 am

Chip,There are many persons and books that might inspire us to personal greatness, inner peace, fulfillment, respect for and service to our fellow man, and all that. An author that espouses an intellectual elite (including describing herself to Mike Wallace as “the most creative thinker alive”), a social caste system, and was a “Red under every bed” McCarthy-ist is no such person. A novel/manifesto that promotes laissez-faire capitalism and unbridled greed as noble goals, while kicking the less fortunate to the curb is no such book.A quote from Gandhi would have been more appropriate in every way. He was a yogi, he also believed in the greatness in each of us, and he promoted the textile cottage industry (Lululemon?) that helped overthrow the Raj creating Home Rule in India.I agree with you that everyone should read the book, especially the seemingly endless monologue by Galt himself. We should all read as much as we can. But put, “Who is John Galt?” on your signature bags? Bad idea.

Comment by Pilate — November 20, 2011 @ 11:12 am

Ayn Rand has certainly influenced many people over the years. The Tea Partiers, Alan Greenspan, Ron Paul & Rand Paul to name a few. Perhaps the most interesting of these is Alan Greenspan who has said (see the Frontline documentary–The Warning on PBS) his acceptance of Rand’s views was the reason he had a hands off approach to regulation during the time he presided over the FED. Brooksley Born, running a small agency in the ’90s called the CFTC within the then Clinton administration, told Greenspan to support regulation of the dark pool market of OCD derivatives but he refused. By 2008 this market had reached over $550 trillion dollars worldwide, and had made big bets on the US real estate bubble. Then came the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, and the market nearly evaporated overnight. It was so interwoven with international banks and business, it prompted the $16 trillion dollar bailout from the Fed. Now this is in contrast to Ron Paul, who actually calls for abolishing the Fed, as we currently know it. Paul is a huge Rand supporter also; he even named his son Rand after her. Paul’s son is different than his dad on many issues, including the Fed. Rand Paul is currently proposing in the US Senate, to abolish the EPA and environmental protections that we have all come to take for granted. So it seems what Ayn Rand does best is reinforce people’s individual perspectives, as diverse as they may be. If Brooksley Born had been taken as seriously as Ayn Rand, we probably wouldn’t be in the worse recession since the great depression. So is a character created by Rand an appropriate choice for LL’s campaign?

Comment by Shayne — November 20, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

Chip read this http://www.theawl.com/2011/04/when-alan-met-ayn-atlas-shrugged-and-our-tanked-economy
Greenspan said after crisis: “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms [...]

“Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders’ equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief.”

Comment by Shayne — November 20, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

I have been wearing your beautifully designed and made yoga clothes for years, ever since I discovered them in Florida and tracked down your store in Atlanta. Now I will not wear them again, afraid that by being seen in lululemon I will be mistaken for a supporter for the ridiculous rantings of Ayn Rand. I have no interest in making any political statement in yoga class but, if I did, it would certainly not be a statement in support of childish selfishness, greed, and sophomoric literary tastes.

Can you recommend another designer of yoga apparel to me? I have a whole wardrobe I need to replace.

Comment by Tally — November 20, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

Who is John Galt? Who is Keyser Soze? Who is Nikola Tesla?

Comment by Meret — November 20, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

Baby and the Bath Water, m’friends. At least to start…

I have read Atlas Shrugged (AS) some dozen times or more and can say, obviously, that I’m a fan of the book. I rather distaste Objectivism and the efforts of Ayn Rand herself, but in Atlas Shrugged, she tapped into something different. Consider the time, the state of economies and ‘world order’ when she wrote and published the book. And, then, consider where her work went after and beyond, AS.
Consider, too, the blog posting doesn’t refer to Objectivism or Rand’s work beyond AS and John Galt himself. “What John Galt teaches us.” is what Alexis titles the last segment of her blog posting. I’ve had discussions with folks that consider themselves “Objectivists” and they have some reservations with what John Galt espouses in the book.
Have you not also found many people to have some appreciation for her characterisation and portrayal of a lot in Atlas Shrugged but also do not, could not, support Objectivism?
(And her writing,…uhg. Not always the best, granted. But the conditions and the story, the discussions,… Really. Swap the word “money” for whatever you value most. Read the book again and tell me that you also don’t feel some passion and understanding that aligns with Wyatt, Francisco, Hank, Dagny or Ragnar Danneskjold.
For my family, for my art, for my health, for the environment,…”I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” Sure. Take that to mean genocide, capitalism, clear cutting, war, the US Judicial system, the birth and use of corporations, whatever. Sure, lots of Ayn Rand’s actions, words and followers have championed that understanding. But, allow yourself the same honesty to evaluate, to “check your premises”, when the *things* in society are the way they are today – environmental abuse, political neglect, corporate control; that we’ve normalised rape, abuse, the (academic) imprisonment of our children – how many of you feel like our levels of all those are comfortable and legit today? Not me. So what’s wrong? What am I going to do about it? Don’t you want your actions and work to go towards reflecting, resolving or solving the things that you value? I want to be as efficient and effective towards those ends. When I don’t see the results meeting a level with which I’m comfortable,…what am I going to do about it? Am I willing to check my premises – to be honest with myself and the situation – to do everything I can, to my last breath, to earn the results for which I work so hard?
“I mean, how am I to deal with people? I mean, if nothing is held firm for the length of one hour [think about our current state of advertising, 'news', politics, our economic state, etc.] – we couldn’t go on, could we?” Well I know that things are solid [the forests and salmon and soils and water - we kill those and we kill ourselves - that's solid] – but people [our courts? our 'leaders'?]? Dagny! They’re nothing and anything, they’re not beings, they’re only switches, just constant switches without any shape. But I have to live among them. How am I to do it?
“Cherryl, what you’ve been struggling with is the greatest problem in history, the one that has caused all of the human suffering. You’ve understood much more than most people, who suffer and die, never knowing what killed them. I’ll help you to understand. It’s a big subject and a hard battle – but first, above all, don’t be afraid.”
“…How did you manage to remain unmangled?”
“By holding on to just one rule.”
“To place nothing – nothing – above the verdict of my own mind.”
Do you really think the next politician is going to make a difference that matters (much less keep their word and promises)? Do you really think that more money will solve the problems in our schools; that our “justice” system is just; that corporations have our health and well-being at heart; etc.? So don’t place all the nonsense that teaches us that “more of the same” is going to make the world the way we know it should be. “Place nothing above the verdict of your own mind.” Do the work necessary to figure out what it is and what you do and love most in this life…and then commit to it completely, unreservedly, wholly.
You can be guaranteed that some folks won’t like what you do or what you stand for. So why worry about them too much. Is it such a crazy idea to espouse a kind of equanimity here? *You* have to know what it is and why it is, *you* do and say, act and behave, the way you do. Just as I am responsible for my own.
Is it up to the neighbours to recycle and care for the stream you share, regardless of what you do? No. It matters what you do. It’s the only thing in which you, ultimately, have control. Does anyone not see the relationship with this and, for example, Vipassana? The stories are different but, I find, the essence of the meaning to be much aligned.
Granted, I’ve always read Atlas Shrugged with this understanding. I had thought, many years ago, that the rest of Rand’s work would hold the same. I was wrong. I can’t support that Objectivist drivel any more than Greenspan’s, a Government’s; that of the corporate media, the ‘vitality’ of social networking, public schooling, corporate prisons, etc.
I hear Alexis, LL and Chip attempting to explore, bravely, some of what that story instructs.
I do not hear them promoting Objectivism nor Ayn Rand.
I hear them asking us to take responsibility to question if we’re doing everything we can – to understand what we really value and to affect the change we want to see. I hear them saying, “and if what you do is not working, it’s up to you to figure out how to make it work. It is the responsibility of no one else. Do what you know and value to be right, just, and of highest value.”
Along those lines, I would and do feel comfortable “doing business” with Chip Wilson.
Best of luck to all. I fear we’re going to need all we can get.
And thank the gods for passionate, caring, creative and committed people…we’ll need all we can get.

Comment by Ramey — November 20, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

Who is John Galt? This is a question with a very specific answer, at least to those of us who have spent extensive time in right wing circles. Rand was an fervid William Hickman fangirl. And no, please do not google that name!

Going forward, lululemon will have sickening associations for me. Even yoga itself has started to seem unhealthy after this.

Comment by Pat — November 20, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

I have only recently gotten into your products. The comfort level they provide more than make up for what I consider to be a hefty pricetag. In fact, I’ve actively started to replace my entire comfort wardrobe with your products and am a happier person for it.
I have been a true fan of Ayn Rand and all of her novels. Atlas Shrugged is not only her Magnum Opus, but the book has been my mantra for personal success as well.
For whatever reason you have chosen to place the ‘Who is John Galt’ question on your bags, I applaud you for not putting that, but for making a statement of your belief. Regardless of what it is, at least you are showing support for a true classic.
For all of you on this blog who have been bringing up Greenspan– get over it. You obviously have no idea what Rand’s objectivism ideology entailed. May I invite you to play your NPR, attach an Obama/Biden 2012 to your back window and continue on complaining, but not really changing anything. Somewhere there’s a worthless kid at an Occupy protest who is physically and mentally capable of working, but would rather wallow in his own filth protesting for an unknown reason who will gladly take your LL sweatpants you no longer want.
If you truly feel that the company’s placement of a question from a book dictates what clothing you purchase, please stop buying it. This is the selfish nature in me that hopes one less trustifarian or wealthy trophy wife will be wearing the same article of clothing I am. It also means I’ll have a better selection of products when I go to your store. Finally, it just might be the best marketing tool for the store. I’ll wager that those who support such a capitalistic message can and will afford more of their clothing than those who have more than one deodorant recipe with petuli oil as the top ingredient.

Comment by Bill P — November 20, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

It interesting that the author, acting here as the voice of Lululemon, chose to leave out the part of Ayn Rand’s belief system that condones a rape culture. How can a company whose customer base is largely women, and who claims to empower those women, subscribe to a pseudo-philosophy that degrades women by suggesting that rape is always “welcomed rape”? Not to mention the fact that Rand’s objectivism leaves absolutely no room for Karma Yoga, and without that, asanas are only gymnastics. This is disgusting on so many levels. Lululemon, you’ve lost a customer and gained an enemy.

Comment by Mellie — November 20, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

Just made my first lululemon purchase.

Might have been a bad business idea to associate the company with the ideas of Ayn Rand (or somebody’s interpretations of those ideas).

That aside, I think the owner’s heart was in the right place. Good luck lululemon!

Comment by Pete — November 20, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

Ahh, another unoriginal Jezebel reader. Would venture a guess you never even picked up the book.

Comment by Bill P — November 20, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

I bought a $98 hoodie last year and admittedly loved it however, I will no longer wear it after learning this. Tomorrow I will return it to the Portland store where they can discard it as they please.

Comment by jerald — November 20, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

I have been greatly disappointed by Lululemon. I am not sure I will buy your stuff again. I have been a pretty devoted consumer of your products and in the past have felt good about my purchases.

I would say in Chip’s idea of what “greatness” is I’m doing it-but it’s only due to being witness for those who haven’t always had the opportunities I have had. Chip and Ayn Rand absolutely don’t understand how systems interact (class, race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality) in the world and that not everyone has the same opportunities in life. Plus, the notion of being “mediocre” is subjective. In my view, yoga is a facilitator for meaning making. You can have meaning and great validity while being “mediocre.”

Chip, you didn’t even acknowledge that your customers felt basically betrayed. Your choice to have Ayn Rand influence your company and products is off putting and your REACTION to your customers concerns is even more so.

Comment by Kelly — November 20, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

I would address my post to Mr. Wilson, but on further thought after reading Mr. Wilson’s comments up the thread, I think my thoughts will be more appreciated by Emily White and other board members and shareholders. Mr. Wilson appears indifferent to the negativity this imposes on the yoga community.

The idea of self-interest is at odds with the teaching and practice of yoga. Yogis are committed to saluting others and being part of a community. And the yoga ‘commercial industry’ thrives in this ‘community’ because of that commitment.

Lululemon has enjoyed great success because of a cohesive yoga community.

Promoting the Ayn Rand mantra of self-interest creates conflict within our community. I need only point you to Bill P’s offensive comments several posts up from mine to demonstrate the ugliness that this conflict brings.

Among his offensive remarks he refers to a person as “worthless” who would rather “wallow in filth”, another as a “trophy wife”, and makes insulting reference to petuli oil as deodorant.

That kind of offensive language is common among Rand enthusiasts. It is divisive and it won’t be welcomed. Your product will now be seen as an intrusion into a community that strives for cohesion.

The success of your product will suffer because of that intrusion.

Comment by Janet — November 20, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

Thank you for your comments, Chip. Very illuminating. Do you really think that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement an offshoot of the thinking of Ayn Rand? That the 99% is claiming that unbridled self-interest should triumph over compassion and charity? You are really tying yourself in knots now.

Comment by jeaninuae — November 21, 2011 @ 12:42 am

I only want to echo previous posts that have already stated this so eloquently: Ayn Rand did not write self-help books. If you follow her philosophy to its natural conclusions, you arrive at the economic collapse of 2008. The Rand Foundation has done an impeccable job at promoting her as a neutral figure of individual empowerment (I read Atlas Shrugged for a high school essay contest on that very subject, for example), and this is clearly the trap that Chip has fallen into. Maybe he needs to join a book club and broaden his analysis.

I bought a few Lululemon products this year and have recommended them to my friends. I will no longer support this company. Not by carrying their mat to yoga class, not by wearing their logo, not by sharing them with friends.

Comment by Zoe — November 21, 2011 @ 5:51 am

I am a customer and a stock holder. Today, I am selling my LULU stock because I anticipate a significant loss of customers who do not wish to be associated in any way with Ayn Rand and her world view, nor do they wish to be drawn into the negative energy of bitter political controversy which already permeates our daily lives. A very poor executive decision – to build walls instead of bridges between your customers.
Today, I also stop wearing Lululemon clothing. Just one stockholder/customer opinion for what it’s worth.
Today, I also stop wearing Lululemon clothing.

Comment by Lynn — November 21, 2011 @ 7:10 am

As most of us know well, the most striking thing about this book is it’s adoration of selfishness and promotion of unrestrained arrogance and elitism for the rich and successful. The only possible connection between this and the quasi-mystical health/philosophy self-help movement that is American yoga might be the obsession with self I sometimes see in adherents: self-comfort, self-health, personal happiness and well-being. “Serenity now…for me! Anything to comfort MY delicate nervous system except drugs”.

Comment by Ben — November 21, 2011 @ 7:34 am

Ayn Rand – Brilliant!
Atlas Shrugged & The Virtue of Selfishness – Two best books EVER written!

Socialists – Bottom Feeders!

Bill P. – You will never get through to the socialists posting on this blog. They are mediocrity realized. Even if they were to collectively brainstorm, they would fail at that! They cannot think for themselves. They don’t want to think for themselves, because that just wouldn’t be fair.

Comment by Tracy — November 21, 2011 @ 8:16 am

I at least applaud Lululemon for being honest. Now I can safely never shop at your store again, and will encourage my family and friends to avoid Lululemon as well.

Comment by Caitlyn — November 21, 2011 @ 8:46 am

Well I applaud your bravery. Standing up for freedom definitely makes me more inclined to shop at your store.

Comment by Jim Peters — November 21, 2011 @ 10:09 am

The negative responses to this blog posting are testament to the fact that so many people have little historical, political or economic knowledge … in Atlas Shrugged, Rand gets at what drives individual creativity and work ethic and illustrates how an over-regulated, micro-managed workforce or citizenry becomes resentful at being thwarted in its inventiveness and freedom. When the fruits and rewards of one’s work are forcefully removed by the extortion perpetuated by big government, what is the incentive? I would think that anyone who is an entrepreneur and has an iota of understanding of “Human Action” (as per Ludwig von Mises) or economics would absolutely see the logic of this article and Rand’s book. I suppose the naysayers must all work for free or be on the government teat.

Comment by Priss — November 21, 2011 @ 10:22 am

Cornering the market in self-regarding dunces worked for the U.S. Republican Party. I wouldn’t bet on it working for you.

Comment by Renfield — November 21, 2011 @ 10:25 am

After reading some of these comments I am sure about one thing, Ayn Rand is truly mis understood. The true definition of selfishness is doing what is best for me but NOT at the expense of others. Individual rights are always respected! Do you not care for your children first before you care about others? If you do not folow this phillosphy I feel very sorry for your children.

Comment by Jon — November 21, 2011 @ 11:22 am

Mediocrity. Really? That’s the big problem in America? I won’t bore our “self-reliant” friends by bringing up climate change or child sex trafficking (I know, I know – the Market can take care of all that, if only the dam government would get out of the way!), or obesity or teens intentionally cutting themselves. And, don’t get me wrong, every time I am forced to buy another mediocre piece of crap made in China only to see it fail, break or otherwise mess up my day (like kill my cat, for instance… but I digress), my head explodes in rage. But, you know, if mediocrity is your complaint – OK. I just want to postulate that mediocrity is best banished in a well educated society. One that funds its schools, for instance, and doesn’t vilify teachers. Access to health care might help free up some creativity too. Here’s another thought: What is the final mediocrity? The archetype? The mediocre nadir? My answer: Greed. Who are more boring than the greedy?

Comment by Tony P. — November 21, 2011 @ 11:22 am

– There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.


Comment by G D Milner — November 21, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

I would venture a guess and say that most of the negative posters are not entrepreneurs. If they were, they’d realize that the creative innovators are the ones who drive the human race forward. True Lassez Faire capitalism is the most efficient means of creating wealth and creating new innovations. I would also argue that many Scandinavian countries are more economically free than the US. True entrepreneurs will try to succeed in spite of regulations and sanctions. Does everyone on the planet have the same opportunity to succeed given the same attitude and level of intelligence? of course not, that’s absurd. Luck is an important part of business as it is an important part of life. Where would we be today if throughout human history we were all living on a commune and doing our menial jobs with everyone earning the same income? We would be living in the stone age (exaggeration of course for you dolts out there!).

Comment by Kenny — November 21, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

Thanks for the straw man, Kenny.

Of course! That’s what the Lululemon shoppers who regard Ayn Rand as a sociopath want: for us all to live together in a commune and make the same wage for cleaning toilets.

Are the Billions of people on the planet who live in desperate poverty only unlucky? If you get mugged tonight, on your way home from watching Monday Night Football at the bar – are you only “unlucky”?

Comment by Tony P. — November 21, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

Oh, the irony of it all…

An arrogant company proclaiming its greatness meets it’s demise due to its mediocre messaging.

Gotta love the irony of it.

Comment by Eliot — November 21, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

Way to go Lulu, steal an artist’s works, and related ideologies and oss off as your own. Piggy-backing while claiming you’re self-made, it’s more than laughable. But it’s the same dog and pony trick put to use for decades. Blatant propaganda with gleefully blind followers, may you take even more of their money this holiday season!!!

Comment by Cheersquad — November 21, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

@Bill P: to exchange comfort for hefty price tag is more than its worth? Are you for real, man? Youre happier because you’ve a closet full of over priced clothes? You’re just another John in Madame Luluemon’s little black book of suckers. This, is your wake-up call,buddy. Never underestimate, the other guy’s greed!

Comment by Cheersquad — November 21, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

Ayn Rand has always been the philosopher non-philosopher’s read. She is the darling of book shops because she affirms our own spontaneous sense of the world, but is irrelevant when viewed against genuine acts of thinking by people like Foucault, Adorno, Badiou, Zizek, etc. What interests me is the way lululemon here exposes its own incompatibility with Yoga as a practice itself. Anyone who takes “inspiration” from banal taglines scribbled across bags and tight pants misses out entirely on the exacting call to concentration and renunciation at the heart of yogic practice. The individual always has been a fantasy, one peculiarly exciting to entrepreneurs convinced their lives are meaningful, expressive, “innovative”, etc. Stop residing in the space of pseudo-philosophy and challenge yourselves by actually immersing yourselves in the great thoughts of the 20th C.

Comment by John — November 21, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

@Kenny, I would highly disagree. I’m an entrepreneur and I know many more and they despise Ayn Rand’s philosophy, it’s the old paradigm. I’m sure lots love her too, but let’s not generalize. My mentors are people like Bucky Fuller and Paul Hawken. A lot of the mediocrity in our society can be traced to Abrahamic religious teachings which teach people to be followers, not leaders and even some Enlightenment philosophers such as Newton, Bacon and Descartes. The metaphor of the machine can only go so far. And humans as machines only legitimizes this idea of a cog in a machine. There is a story of biologists raising grasshoppers in a cage. One day they take the cage lid off, but guess what? The grasshopper still only jumps as high as the cages lid. That’s humans in a lot of ways, why? We have a broken political system that spends more money on the military industrial complex than on education, we focus on rote learning, more than critical thinking. There are models like the Waldorf School that teach this and produce more well-rounded students that are not so much focused on reductionism and specialization but on a more multi-disciplinary approach, much more holistic, the new paradigm.

Comment by Shayne — November 21, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

Your products look great, don’t worry about the nonsense. Congratulations on earning my money, Lululemon.

Comment by Howard — November 21, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

Whoa.When I saw a Lulu bag this weekend with “Who is John Galt?” on it; I freaked. I am a yogi and believe in social responsibility; I did not think Lulu was making a pro-Ayn Rand statement. While perception may become reality for folks (like the political info spewed these days). My first impression was hope…hope that people would inquire and maybe read for themselves. Hoped that reading would lead to thinking. Agree/disagree…I hope the Ayn Rand books will open people eyes to the possibilities ahead for our society. For some, it may strengthen convictions for capitalism. For others…maybe it will make them questions themselves and the people representing our political parties.

Comment by Tracie — November 21, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

I was waiting for a response to the stupid Occupy Protests! If people like me and Lulu stopped working on stuff like this it would stop the motor of the world! The rest of you are just jealous. Me and my friends are going to all buy the bags and walk past the smelly Vancouver hippie protesters tomorrow! If you can’t afford a measly $128 for the bag then you should maybe put in some effort and overcome mediocrity!

Comment by Judy — November 21, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

“Foucault, Adorno, Badiou, Zizek”

You’re being serious?

Comment by Ray K. — November 22, 2011 @ 4:27 am

I read Atlas Shrugged as a sophomore in High School. It was sophomoric. “Who is John Galt” boils down to “screw you buddy, I’ve got mine”. I don’t think Yoga is about that.

Comment by Bubberella — November 22, 2011 @ 6:55 am

On the other hand, the nice thing about the bag is that it will identify people to avoid.

Comment by Bubberella — November 22, 2011 @ 6:59 am

I would like to congratulate Lululemon on raising some fab points and taking a stand against moronic liberals who feel it is everyone(but theirs)responaiblilty to take care of everyone else. Ummmm P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L
R-E-S-P-O-N-S-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y … get some!!!

Comment by Tina — November 22, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

I’ve enjoyed some Rand, though I disagree with it, and could never get into Atlas Shrugged in particular. I don’t think it’s a good idea for a company to hand out bags with a Randian slogan on them. Makes it seem like the company is selling Objectivism, not yoga pants. Bad idea IMO.

But there’s one thing that puzzles me in any discussion of Rand: her critics’ endless refrain that it’s “good when you’re 15″ and not when you’re older. The sheer sameness of that critique, and the way it’s delivered, make me wonder if she’s got a point.

And yes, I did read The Fountainhead as a teen. I did so because my extremely liberal (I don’t think she’d disagree if you called her “socialist,” quite honestly) mother gave it to me one day and said it’s important to read, to take seriously, and to study. She said that her values are absolutely opposite to those that Rand espoused — and that this was exactly why it was important for her to show Rand to me. Not to show me the face of Satan, but to allow me to make my own choices about my own values.

I wrestled with the book. I liked a lot of what it had to say about valuing people, especially rather than valuing gods. I struggled with the idea it presented that not all people are equal and that people really do vary in drive and talent, and that at least as Rand saw it, that’s not a bad thing. And yes, that helped me to see worth in myself — though I don’t believe I ended up valuing myself more than others.

But did I love it out of my teen years? No, not really. I moved on to Nietzsche — parts of which I loathe, and parts of which I love. So I suppose I could say I’ve “outgrown” Rand, along with the rest of you.

I’m neither an Objectivist nor a Nietzschean, though I certainly do love to talk and think about Nietzsche because I find his ideas fascinating. In the end, though, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.

But the thing is — I don’t really understand why it’s worth disavowing enjoying a book! Why are her ideas so awful that it’s, again, a uniform and weird conformity to say “I’m not 15! I care about others!” whenever she gets mentioned?

I’m politically liberal and believe that meritocracies would be nice work if you could get ‘em — but you can’t get ‘em, so don’t try.

But I don’t feel at all threatened when asked to consider opposing viewpoints, and I certainly wouldn’t call philosophies cruel or uncaring without having studied them carefully — or without being willing to explain *why* I find them so damaging, in detail.

Comment by Alexa — November 22, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

(Though I will say I agree with whoever suggested reading Foucault instead of Rand… again, many similar ideas (both Rand and Foucault were drinking from Nietzsche’s fountain, really) but much more carefully presented and in greater depth.)

Comment by Alexa — November 22, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

Hmm, not sure why my “Read Foucault” message went through but not my “What’s so sophomoric about Rand” message. I wasn’t profane, I don’t think. Perhaps because I said I didn’t think it belongs on a bag?

Trying again: I’m not sure why people always say Rand is for “teenagers.” Why should that be? I don’t think she’s as heavy-duty a philosopher as the greats, and I think Objectivism gets nutty in places, but I don’t see why only teenagers should read her.

Read anything that makes you think. If something made you angry, think about and understand why.

Comment by Alexa — November 22, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

Wow, Lululemon, way to bring the enemy to your client base. Do you realize that Ayn Rand supporters love to aim their hate directly at liberals? They’re doing it right here on your blog. Directly at the majority of people who do yoga? Some of these posters have called us bottom feeders and worse. It’s as if you’re intentionally providing a platform for that hate right here on this blog.

Are you doing this on purpose? Are you trying to give the Lululemon yogis a we’re-better-than-the-rest-of-you position over the rest of us?


Comment by Brenda — November 22, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

Anyone who has a problem with the bag’s sentiment is, quite frankly, part of the problem. Enough said.

Comment by Roxana — November 22, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

Yogis like herbal tea. Not right-wing Kool-aid.

It’s one thing to commercialize yoga. It’s an entirely different thing to try to politicize it. Please keep your politics out of our yoga.

Comment by Kim — November 22, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

Tina- unfortunately many individuals who live in poverty due so as a result of policies… not because they don’t want to take personal responsibility for themselves. Everyone is on some form of welfare: fiscal, social or occupational. Be careful who you judge and why.

Comment by Brooke — November 22, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

WOW!! Chip Wilson is the man! My wife and I are already in love with LULU and now they have loyal customers for life.

Comment by jjh — November 22, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

I am very glad you chose to put this on your bags, so now I can choose to NEVER buy anything from you again! Objectivism is antithetical to the very basis of yoga which if you knew anything about yoga, you would know that it literally means, “union”. Objectivism as stated by Rand in her own words believes a persons’ moral purpose of their life is their own happiness. If you believe this, you cannot also be a yogi. I suggest people writing positively about this here do a little more reading on the topic, before just accepting the parts you chose to cherry pick for your blog. This philosophy is disgusting.

Comment by Lynn rose — November 22, 2011 @ 9:05 pm

I live in Palo Alto and I will be spending my Black Friday money buying gifts from this store.

Comment by Christy — November 22, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

Thanks for being true to your principles. I’ve never bought lululemon- just thought if it ad another hippie store. I am going shopping there this week!!
Iove it when hipp ies realize their favorite stores are actually run by conservatives.

Comment by elana — November 22, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

Just read Ayn’s book and you’ll understand. To comment without knowledge is ignorance incarnate.

Comment by Mike from vancouver — November 22, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

Great combination of the fuzzy BS often associated with much new age yoga and the fuzzy BS on the pages of Ayn Rand. Time is ripe. We all watch TV. We all think each of us is a hero and working together is a waste of time. Great epiphany. Perfect for a company that sells pants as a shortcut to enlightenment.

Comment by doctor business — November 23, 2011 @ 3:05 am

I see there are a few OWS clowns trolling this blog, they are a poor excuse for personal perseverance and responsibility, their stench follows them. Their grasp of how the world really functions is laughable, obviously they have a hard time facing adversity or assuming responsibility.

Good for you and this company for taking this position, Atlas Shrugged is a real inspiration and model to follow.

_I_ am John Galt! _You_ are John Galt!

Comment by Lee C — November 23, 2011 @ 8:43 am

“Anyone who takes “inspiration” from banal taglines scribbled across bags and tight pants misses out entirely on the exacting call to concentration and renunciation at the heart of yogic practice. ”

-Thanks, John.

“Objectivism is antithetical to the very basis of yoga which if you knew anything about yoga, you would know that it literally means, “union”.”

-Thanks, Lyn Rose

Comment by Tony P. — November 23, 2011 @ 9:46 am

Just a quick question for all Ayn Rand fans. Have you ever noticed that there are no children or elderly in those books? Seems in her world they are ‘moochers’ too.

Comment by Nikki Myers — November 23, 2011 @ 10:36 am

Amanda’s comment made me think a bit…. of course it’s not just a change in attitude, it’s the change in attitude which brings forth different choices which then leads to different behavior and action. Life is hard, but you can reach the best potential you have by changing your attitude. No, we aren’t all going to be multi-millionaires, but we can all do the best and be the best that each one of us can be. I don’t think that’s naive. It’s just fact. Do the best with what life gives you. That’s your choice.

Comment by Jan — November 23, 2011 @ 10:45 am

The basis of connection between individuals (you and me) is some sort of shared reality. A yoga studio is one shared reality that presumably (hopefully!) many people in this conversation share. The part of our shared reality that is outside of you is, by definition, “objective”. The floor pushing up on your feet, the sweat dripping on the floor, the voice of your instructor…these are all objective elements in our shared reality.

As individuals we all exist in relation to the objective reality that is outside of us and extends far beyond the perception of our personal senses.

Objectivism is right in that it accepts that an objective reality exists outside of the individual and that a key factor in our success and happiness is how we respond to this objective reality.

It falls short (by a long shot) in failing to grasp the barely imaginable constraints and suffering imposed on a huge proportion of people in this world. The trauma done to these individuals makes it literally, physiologically much harder for them to recognize that they have some control over their life and situation. They are like a car with a broken carburetor. They function, but at a much reduced capacity because their bodies and their brains have been literally rewired by their suffering. For those of us brought in the comfort, wealth and myopia of the United States it is very difficult to recognize the challenges the majority of humans on this planet face.

Closer to home, the literal mind-numbing mass communication and consumerist behaviors of most Americans insulates our minds to the greater reality of the world.

The primary flaw of objectivism is a lack of compassion for other people in very different circumstances than our own.

Inhabit your day,

Comment by Jay Ferm — November 23, 2011 @ 11:00 am

Now imagine a room full of people who have all pursued their own greatness and are coming together for practice – the possibilities are endless. Thank you for reminding us of this great lesson, Lululemon!

Comment by Michelle — November 23, 2011 @ 11:04 am

@cheersquad: you fail to understand what I am implying. I find the Lululemon products to be worth the price. The first time I saw the tag I had sticker shock. I’m used to buying Nike and Adidas workout attire, and failed to understand why LL’s would be double the price. That is until I recieved a pair from my wife who is a huge lover of the products. Now, I understand. It’s not a perfectly inelastic product as far as economics goes, but I’d be more than willing to pay more for the product if need be because I deem it worthy. It meets and exceeds my standards and will continue to buy it because of that.
As to all of the others who have flamed me, and especially a thank you to Janet who essentially proved my comments, I got a good read from your responses. If you feel that those who protest something they don’t even understand, give nothing back from society but only take (sound like theives?) are not worthless– you fail to grasp anything worthwhile other than your own ideology.
And to the yogi’s who flame EVERYONE who don’t agree with their concept of social worth– I find you to be intellectual facists. You are far worse than the idiot biggots of this world. At least THEY admit they’re biggots.

Comment by Bill P — November 23, 2011 @ 11:17 am

This is totally insulting and ridiculous. How can a company that espouses the virtues of yoga and loving-kindness openly support such trash? Empathy and compassion are virtues, not selfishness.

I will NEVER buy anything from your company, and I will sure give my friends hell for purchasing things from you. This is a disgrace.

Comment by ayogi — November 23, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

Although I know people who rave about their products, and I bought a mat there that is indeed a very good mat, I’ve always been uneasy by Lululemon’s apparently elitist approach to yoga. I’m even more uneasy now I know that not only the business but many people who practice yoga admire Rand. I’m all for reaching one’s own personal potential, but not at the cost of selfishness, which is what I feel Rand preached. There are many other quotes out there that could have promoted striving to be the best person you can be, without injecting an objectivist point of view–too bad they didn’t choose one of those for their bags. BTW, having read about this story, a friend with whom I practice recently threatened to “occupy” my capitalistic mat :-)

Comment by Michelle — November 23, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

Bill P., I appreciate your comments. You’ve made me reconsider my position re: Lululemon’s decision to align itself with the Ayn Rand and her followers like yourself. At first I thought this was detrimental to the yoga community; to create a division amongst those who practice.

However, if such a division already exists and there are those who judge liberals, hippies, their petchuli, etc., it’s better that we know who you are and what you are about.

Lululemon now makes it easy to identify you, and therefore easy to avoid. I appreciate Lululemon providing that service.

Comment by Janet — November 23, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

All very puzzling. I’ve been a fan of the quality of lulu, but I am not a fan of pushing ideology like that of Ayn Rand when also positioning oneself as a true yoga brand. Keep the preaching and the pushing of ideas out of doing business, please. Or, are some people successful by generating controversy? Count me out.

Comment by Jayne — November 23, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

I first read The Fountainhead at age 14, before I had any sort of political opinion or association. A lot of it resonated with me and made me feel better about having thoughts firmly outside the mainstream. I think that because I read it so young, and without the taint of political bias, I was a lot more open to the ideas. I can say her books changed my life for the better. I think a lot of people who dislike Rand are older people with a set political orientation upon first read.

That was 20 years ago, and of course I can see that Rand’s ideas would be impossible to implement in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean her ideas don’t have value. You don’t have to buy her philosophy wholesale – it’s OK to choose the things that have the most meaning to you. I like Chip’s takeaway that we must take full responsibility for the choices in our life, and I like that he chooses excellence.

As a 6″ tall woman, I have struggled to find yoga pants that don’t look like high-waters. I had heard Lululemon sold tall sizes, but until recently I never lived in a city where there was a Lululemon store, and tall girls have to try on pants in person. After hearing the NPR story, I decided it was time to finally check out the pants. I came away with some sticker shock and a pretty pair of pink thong panties (in a Galt bag, of course). I’ll have to save my pennies for the pants – even pants that have a long enough inseam (yay!) are not worth going into debt for, but Lululemon has a new customer.

Comment by Casey — November 23, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

Chalk one up for your advertising team. I’d never heard of your store. I’m not much of a Yoga guy. I am however an individualist and a true believer in the potential of the human being. Stories regarding your Galt bags and your company philosophy brought me to your site. You can expect to see me on your customer list today, and shopping in your stores in the very near future.

Comment by Dr. Jim — November 24, 2011 @ 4:46 am

I have SO many problems with this that I don’t even know where to begin. One thing is certain, I am off lululemon! I have no desire to align myself with a brand whose philosophy is so opposed to what yoga stands for. Not only that, but isn’t “Atlas Shrugged” the TEA PARTY’s bible? Really? THAT right, lulu? Not on my dime. As for being able to “control” our greatness. Again, I can only say, REALLY? Have you ever been born into poverty? Have you ever had abusive, uneducated parents? If so then you are well aware of the inequity in pursuing a future of “greatness” that comes of being born into a low-income household. Randianism is great on paper, but in real life, NOT GREAT! It’s merely rhetoric. Go join the GOP, lulu! Bye.

Comment by Cameo — November 24, 2011 @ 7:55 am

I always thought luon was Reardon cloth!

Comment by Joseph Meyer — November 24, 2011 @ 8:18 am

Yoga is a practice in meditation with the ultimate goal of removing the ego – to fight the notion of dualism and see all things in the world as one. Atlas Shrugged celebrates the ego. Dualism is essential to it’s core philosophy.

And honestly Lululemon’s mission statement is to “elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness” ? You make yoga pants! The only thing you elevate from mediocrity to greatness are the butts of your cliental.

Comment by Paul Miller — November 24, 2011 @ 8:18 am

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is needed now more than ever. Those who practice it are responsible for the benefits we all enjoy.

Comment by Jim Rudd — November 24, 2011 @ 11:17 am

How can I get one of your bags ?

Comment by Jim Rudd — November 24, 2011 @ 11:18 am

Janet et al,
Well, if you truly believe in what your saying, and your stance actually matches your conviction, put your money where your mouth is. Put, right here right now, your bank account and the passcode to access it. For all of you self-proclaimed yogis, I challenge you to put your studio address and guarantee that anyone can come to the classes free of charge anytime the sessions are given for as many times as they want. If you are not the proprietor, you will pay for the sessions anytime anyone wants to experience your teachings.
Get over it. You make money and keep money, and that is selfish. You can volunteer anytime you want and espouse the collectiveness teachings, but unless you truly fully embrace it, you’re playing lip service.
I, at least, know that I deserve what I earn. I give to charity because I want to, not because someone makes me. And that, is what Rand writes of. If you want to bash her prose, go for it. Her writing is sophomoric and I fully admit it. It’s the message she writes of that we Randians embrace, not the character. I mean really, of you are basing your purchasses off of who does or does not agree with you, well, I don’t even need to finish this.
Yours truly,

Comment by Bill P — November 24, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

Who was Alan Greenspan? Seriously, look it up, see who his idols were? How it motivated him at the Federal Reserve, and how it helped lead to the banks being ultra-un-regulated, which in turn brought on this global meltdown & crisis. It’s pretty clear that the people on this board that support LLL are all wealthy and still unaffected by this global crisis, and until something happens to their job and their life, because of their “individualist” views, they will unlikely to change, until their bubble bursts, it will happen….what goes around, comes around.

Comment by Guest — November 24, 2011 @ 7:03 pm

Lululemon is a COMPANY, not a yogi. Creating controversy is a marketing coup. Well done Lululemon Inc. If you dont’ like the bag, don’t buy it. If you don’t like the company’s approach, vote with your wallet. Yogis are supposed to practice tolerance, so let Lulu do what they like (especially if they’re not harming our collective environment). I’ve tried on their clothes – excellent quality – but I don’t own any and wouldn’t wear a high-profile brand to teach yoga classes because THAT sends a stronger (and wronger!) message to my students than Lululemon’s baggy declaration. If you have aggravation, direct it to Monsanto, Bayer, Dow Chemicals, etc!

Comment by Pam — November 25, 2011 @ 3:14 am

Really great bag! Really great book. I’ve done yoga for a long time and also love Atlas Shrugged so it’s great that the two can come together this way.

I use yoga for the physical and mental discipline benefits but do not subscribe to the mystical aspects. So there’s no contradiction that way. For those who take the mysticism seriously I can see how they might have a problem with this but c’est la vie.

Comment by zardoz — November 25, 2011 @ 5:01 am

I practice Yoga.
I read Ayn Rand.

Atlas Shrugged was just one of her books. I’d say over 90% of people misunderstand selfishness. Don’t rely on other people’s false, uninformed claims about her ideas. If people truly want an understanding, they will read her non-fiction: The Virtue of Selfishness, and Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal. There are plenty more.

Ayn Rand was for freedom, for feeling good about oneself, and for voluntarily exchanging ideas, love, and values with one another. That is what my Yoga practice is about too.

Comment by Ted — November 25, 2011 @ 8:45 am

I am a third-generation merit scholar and self-made American woman. I find the psuedo-philosophy of Ayn Rand as morally detestable as her “literature” is aesthetically objectionable. Your company’s endorsement has ensured that I will never purchasing a Lululemon product again.

I will be sure to spread news of this endorsement in my community of friends in finance, media, the arts and politics. Indeed; any progressive-minded woman I know of high net worth will be notified.

Comment by Sarah — November 25, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

Steve Wozniac states in an interview that “Atlas Shrugged was one of his [Steve Jobs'] guides in life.”

John Mackey the CEO of whole foods says: “”I had imbibed the liberal ethos of Austin, and the general thinking about inequality of wealth, and that there are all these greedy business people out there that take too much of the pie for themselves, and that we would have a much more just society if we all shared,” he says, “until I started a business and found out I was now one of the greedy, selfish people, and Safer Way wasn’t making any money, and I had to meet a payroll every week. And I had all these ideals that came crashing down.” He tells us there would be no Whole Foods without Atlas Shrugged.

And now we have Chip Wilson of Lululemon confiding to us that his company wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for John Galt.

Now what are all you poor liberal/progessives going to do? Boycott Apple, Whole Foods and Lululemon? And if you send your children to the trendy Montessori school down the road, do you know that Ayn Rand is the only public intellectual to endorse that Method of education?

Looks like Ayn Rand did something more than eat babies for breakfast.

Comment by Sharath — November 25, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

Who was Alan Greenspan? Seriously, look it up, see who his idols were? How it motivated him at the Federal Reserve, and how it helped lead to the banks being ultra-un-regulated, which in turn brought on this global meltdown & crisis.

Ultra-un-regulated? Just what years were these please? The actual concrete facts, are of mounting and progressive regulation against the banks. There is no period of bank deregulation. As far as Greenspan goes, the very essence of his job was control, i.e., regulation, of the banks in the largest scope possible.

You spout the diametrical opposite of the truth.

Comment by Robert J. Wigard — November 26, 2011 @ 5:48 am

Look at the progressive (that apparently have a claim on yoga) collectively (and see what I did there) melting down?

I know how I plan to spend some spare money this holiday season.

I’m very much middle class, or as I like to say, the REAL 99%. But when I can, a like to buy fine things. Looks like lululemon will get my hard earned dollars from now on.


Comment by lauren — November 26, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

As a loyal customer of Lululemon I was mildly offended to see anything having to do with Ayn Rand associated with the store and the products I wear. To quote one of the many points by Allen Barra “Capitalism’s Wicked Witch”:

“(Ayn Rand’s) real heirs are Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, who read passages from her books to their audiences, careful to avoid writings that would alienate the fundamentalist right. You can draw a straight line from Rand’s equation of JFK and Hitler to the tea-baggers who paint swastikas on pictures of Barack Obama.”


Comment by Greg — November 27, 2011 @ 3:39 am

You guys just got a new customer.

Comment by Tim — November 27, 2011 @ 7:10 am

When Alan Met Ayn: “Atlas Shrugged” And Our Tanked Economy: http://www.theawl.com/2011/04/when-alan-met-ayn-atlas-shrugged-and-our-tanked-economy

Comment by Guest — November 27, 2011 @ 11:18 am

Well, I am so pleased to see this company’s support of Atlas Shrugged, my fav book. I never heard of you before, but I am now going to browse your website to look for myself and for gifts, after hearing about your “Who is John Galt” shopping bags through the ‘buzz’. Good for you for standing up for what’s right! Bravo!

Comment by Dihann — November 27, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

My first reaction to this was wondering if Chip and the Netflix CEO were spending a little too much time together. But then it hit me, what If Chip is transitioning this brand from hippie chic to mainstream. I think it’s ironic that he’s trading in the people that he claims are living in the moment ie his “most creative state” folks for the Ayn Rand crowd, but we’ll see how it all shakes out. I’m a little amazed that so many AR fans claim to know what I know, have read and understand, lol.

Time will tell, and we’ll see how it works out, but I’m guessing this will be a pride comedy before the fall kinda thing.

PS Alissa, we all aren’t born with bodies that can run and jump.

PPS I thought it was supposed to be the seaweed , lol.

Comment by Ckpw — November 27, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

Bravo – came here from a news article, and look forward to being a new customer !!!!

Comment by Richard — November 27, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

You folks take life way too seriously. Rand wrote a book that was inspired by the consequences of collectivism she witnessed first hand in the USSR. The underlying theme of all her works is that you own yourself, you exist for yourself, you are not a means to another’s ends, your happiness is to be directed by you and most of all the state does not own you. Fascism and Communism where collectivist ideologies responsible for the state sanctioned murder of millions and this horrified her–that was her definition of altruism, the sacrifice of self for something which they place no love or value too. the belief that men could claim ownership of your life or your mind and make you die for their own means. Selfishness is not evil. What is evil is living to do the bidding of others while compromising your desires, values, principles, and joy. That is the opposite of selfishness and is the “altruism” Rand despised.

Comment by eli — November 27, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

Bravo… I read about your campaign in the NYT and was immediately impressed. This takes sheer genius and a vision to accomplish. Obviously you have both.
It is refreshing to see meaningful marketing campaigns. More brands should follow suit, instead of me-too self serving campaigns. I look forward to getting to know your brand better and becoming a customer. Keep up the excellent job of daring to be different. I applaud your team’s efforts and wish you continued success.

Comment by Wolf TMC — November 28, 2011 @ 4:31 am

Existence is Identity; Consciousness is Identification.

- Atlas Shrugged.
- From Galt’s Speech

Comment by Mark A. Hurt — November 28, 2011 @ 4:49 am

I am appalled and it will make me think twice about making more purchases from Lululemon. I am a frequent customer at the new Upper East Side store in Manhattan, have been buying Lululemon since you all opened in NYC. I have no interest in wearing clothing associated with a “philosophy” I find repugnant. Athleta just opened a couple of blocks away – I think I can do just fine there.

Comment by Gillian Stern — November 28, 2011 @ 4:51 am

Oh lululemon, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Comment by Randee — November 28, 2011 @ 9:33 am

I applaud your right to express your absolute fandom for the self-absorbed philosophy of Ayn Rand. Likewise, I will exercise my right to never buy Lululemon again… as your brand no longer reflects my beliefs or values.

And as a marketer and businesswomen, I cannot believe you just mutilated your brand this way. Sad. Lame. Your stockholders should be rioting.

Comment by kat — November 28, 2011 @ 9:42 am

There are those who understand the writings and philosophy or Ayn Rand… and then there are those who criticize her. I have always loved Lululemon’s top-notch, fashionable atheletic wear. Now that I know their corporate philosophy, I’ll never buy my athletic-wear anywhere else… not to mention tell all of my friends about you. Kudos, Lululemon for standing up for your values in a world turned upside down! I am proud to be a loyal customer.

Comment by Victoria — November 28, 2011 @ 11:26 am

@Eli said it best. Just adding my support to the list. For those of you who are just “horrified”, read the book before you go knocking the philosophy.

Comment by Anne — November 28, 2011 @ 11:33 am

Epic Fail Lululemon. The c.y.a backpedaling blog post was even worse.

Comment by Captain P — November 28, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

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Comment by Captain P — November 28, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

Wow. It is amazing to see people overreact over something so simple as 1 particular idea from a 1200 page book.

Mediocre: of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance.

The point is clear here. Be better than mediocre. That was it. If you have a problem with being better than mediocre you have some serious issues. Sure there is more to the book than that, but there is nothing wrong with trying to inspire people to be better. That is what this company does/tries to do. I can’t think of any other company that is more in your face about inspiring you to be better than you are. No one can force you to be better and no one is going to help you be better. Why should they? Why?!

I applaud this company for sharing such a simple yet powerful idea. If trying to improve yourself is scary or frightening, then just continue to be mediocre. Those of us who want to and will improve ourselves will continue to succeed while you sit around and moan about how ‘unfair’ life is. Life is what you make it. Yes there are outside influences but they only impact your decisions. YOUR decisions. You have the power to make the decision as to how something influences YOUR life.

Comment by Bryan — November 28, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

Bad philosophy, bad business decision. It seems strange to launch a large-scale marketing campaign based on such a polarizing, viciously anti-social, self-centered and narcissistic philosophy. This seems especially odd considering we’re talking about a company that sells yoga clothes.

Comment by JK — November 28, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

Please bring back or inspirational “quote” bags.
Anyone viewing the old “quote” bags would say, what is that? It would spur conversation forever. It made me feel good just carrying the bag. Sometimes getting the bag was just as great as the item I purchased.
Now, with these “John Galt” bags, I want to hide it when walking down the street. There is no pride in walking or receiving this bag. Conversations now are “I don’t know” or a poor explanation of what it is.
For a bag to provide motivation and inspiration is genius. Let’s go back to that please. I want to purchase new items, but want to wait until I can get an “old quote” bag!

Comment by Mark B — November 28, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

I will no longer be shopping at the Lululemon store in my neighborhood. Altruism is a virtue. Giving to those in need and suffering should not be condemned. This entire philosophy supported my Lululemon is destructive and selfish. I’m deeply ashamed I ever bought anything from such a business.

Comment by Madge — November 28, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

Objectivism is a wonderful philosophy for rich white guys – it helps justify ones existence and the satus quo of capitalism. As a lived reality, it kind of sucks. In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand says, “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” But if this philosophy had any validity, we’d all be living a blissfully happy life – look around…doesn’t seem that way, does it? ;-)

8th century Indian scholar Shantideva said, “All the joy in this world comes from wanting others to be happy, and all the suffering in this world comes from wanting only oneself to be happy.”.

Einstein said, “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison, by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”.

Laissez-faire does not, has never, and will never exist – no matter how much our wishing wants it to be – the game has always been rigged and always will be… money isn’t the problem – people are the problem. But really, its our collective understanding of ‘human nature’ that’s the problem. Human history is a tale encapsulating the corrupted notions of power and greed. Objectivism lets us ‘off the hook,’ because by using it, we get to absolve ourselves of compassion towards our fellow human being, by saying, “See, It’s always been this way, so its all good!”

Now, don’t get me wrong – I think capitalism still has the potential to be the best economic model and I believe that the Constitutional Republic envisioned by the framers still has the potential to be the best political model – they go well together. :-) But look what human nature (as we understand it) has done to these models – they’re so corrupted, we hardly recognize them. Rigged systems don’t get unrigged – even in revolutions. The rich are always in control, and everyone else suffers. The only real revolution takes place in the heart/mind. Find it there, and recognize all of this for what it is – nonsense! :-P

Comment by Buddy — November 28, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

It’s easy to tell who has not read the book but spits negativity and hate at someone else’s beliefs. Those children should know this: for each one of you who throws their trucks out of the sandbox, there are two who are happy to trade the sweat from their brow for quality goods, as this site sells.

Comment by Rob — November 28, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

Your founder clearly doesn’t realize what Objectivism means for government. I too found once objectivism a personal motivator. However, it has horrible consequences for a society. I might he suggest he take a class beyond Philosophy 101.

Because of this, I never want to buy another product from you. I would be embarrassed to have this bag. Unless, of course you are the 1%.

Comment by Janet — November 28, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

No wonder these clothes are so expensive. I’ll get my yoga clothes from somewhere else.

Comment by Tangela — November 28, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

I don’t understand how a company that has been declining in quality in recent years and outsourcing their manufacturing to China can really embrace a statement like this. Just a nail in the coffin that used to be my expensive lulu addiction.

Comment by Marie — November 28, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

Hooray for Amanda (posted 11/2/11), Eric R, Susie, & countless others for recognizing and posting about the inconsistencies of the book & the yoga-centered claims of lululemon. I will NEVER shop here again. Very disappointing.

She said it best…
“I will no longer be shopping at the Lululemon store in my neighborhood. Altruism is a virtue. Giving to those in need and suffering should not be condemned. This entire philosophy supported my Lululemon is destructive and selfish. I’m deeply ashamed I ever bought anything from such a business. Comment by Madge — November 28, 2011 @ 5:09 pm”


Comment by Virginia — November 28, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

in 1000 years the humanity will be in 1 of 2 places:

1) Controlling several solar systems having harnessed unlimited resources thereby reaching standards of living beyond our wildest dreams. Jesus will be admonished as the charlaton he was and humanity will embrace Ayn Rand as our true savior.

2) liberals will have driven humanity back into something resembling EngSoc in ’1984′

You occupiers are not the 99% – You are the bottom 15%.

Comment by jesus is dead — November 28, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

Who is John Galt? He was the founding father of Guelph Ontario, Canada.

Comment by Al — November 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

Rand was a cheap charlatan who wrote juvenile pulp fiction. It’s so sad that, in this day and age, we have to elevate such weak thinkers to a position of notoriety.

Having a company promote selfishness and moral relativity is an interesting protection of its brand. This is pretty offensive.

Comment by Michael M. — November 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

I’m so embarrassed for you.

Comment by Carrie — November 28, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

I LOVE IT! Thank you! I have read this book twice (been on my third time for a while now) and saw the movie. And I’ve been practicing yoga this entire time. I have to agree with most of the other pro-Rand comments in that a lot of the negative comments are coming from people with blatant misconceptions of Rand’s philosophies. And for those that know Rand and don’t like her, practice the freedom of not buying the bag. You may have lost a lot of customers who don’t understand this philosophy, but I can assure you that you have gained just as many of us that didn’t buy before.

Comment by Jess B — November 28, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

Just heard about you from Stephen Colbert. Prior to the show, you were my favorite brand of yoga clothes, and you have now lost me. Ayn Rand has a very narrow and destructive view of civil society and humanity. Good-bye, Lululemon! I love yoga, and I will find yoga gear providers whose values are more aligned with my own.

Comment by Jennifer — November 28, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

I could not believe this when I found out about it. Serves me right for not doing my research.

While the sentiments in the original post are fine, they skate on past the reality of Rand’s philosophy. Those of us who can afford to buy these products would do well to reflect on the fact that we are not forced by circumstance to live in poverty. Many are; this is an undeniable fact that Rand ignores. Many are born with disabilities, such as mental ones, that do not allow them to go beyond the “mediocrity” the world has brought them. Rand emphatically does not believe that humanity has any collective responsibility toward such people.

I don’t think Chip really believes that the masses are trash to be discarded, that the beliefs from which our practice is derived are worthless, or that sometimes women just “need” raping. All written evidence seems to indicate Rand did. I just think Chip is ignoring these inconvenient truths.

I think the yogic thing to do would be to think about the lessons many of us learn in class–particularly those on compassion, rather than looking to score cheap political points.

Comment by Jeff — November 28, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

I have read Atlas Shrugged. Have you? Really?

Radical self-absorption is entirely antithetical to my view of yoga and yogic philosophy.

I have spent thousands of dollars over the years in your store. Now that I know your corporate philosophy, I am ashamed of that.

Count me as a lost customer.

Comment by Heather — November 28, 2011 @ 11:08 pm

Even worse than the “government-controlled environments” are the corporation-controlled governments. And the “rational self-interest” found in Rand’s writing is an abhorrent philosophical stance.

Comment by anonymous — November 28, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

I have asked to be removed from Lululemon’s catalog list and will no longer shop in the store here. What a shame to promote self interest and greed. Why politicize athletic wear? Seriously…Who is John Galton? A fictional character symbolizing so much of what’s wrong with this country. And yes, I’ve read the book, and hated it.

Comment by Emme — November 28, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

*Galt (DYAC)

Comment by Emme — November 28, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

I suggest that Lululemon employees and customers actually read Ayn Rand and consider the academic discourse about Rand’s philosophy; take a political philosophy class. I am shocked that Lululemon cultivates an association with Ayn Rand. The pursuit of self-interest and denial of altruism seems contrary to the philosophy of yoga. Perhaps one could say that when I am cultivating a healthy body and mind through yoga practice I am making my community a better place…but, then again, it would seem that I would not be looking past my own nose. If this is what an individual can contribute to community (and feel ‘right’ about doing so), I am concerned about the health of our society . Lululemon, I am so disappointed and fed up with your pedalling stuff (much of it made in China) in the guise of making the world a better place. Wink. Wink. Cha-ching! OM.

Comment by salisa — November 29, 2011 @ 12:56 am

John Galt was a character in a book written by a wordy psychopath. I took all the clothes I regretfully bought from your company to Goodwill today, and I will never shop with you again. You understand, right? I’m exercising my free will.

Comment by Jill Sanders — November 29, 2011 @ 1:04 am

@Sharath: Now what are all you poor liberal/progessives going to do? Boycott Apple?

Actually, now that he’s dead I suppose I can stop boycotting them. I haven’t owned one since my Apple IIc. Mainly because I had heard how Jobs lied to Wozniak about how much money the first batch of Apples had sold, so he could cheat him out of $5000 (Wozniak, who forgave him, has always been a better role model.) Oh, and the part about how he rejected his daughter and wouldn’t have anything to do with her for most of her childhood.

So I guess you were hoping to shock me with news that Jobs admired Ayn Rand, and you may have had that affect on some, to me it’s old news. I already knew he was a self centered egotist.

Comment by Noman Ingme — November 29, 2011 @ 2:06 am

Atlas shrugged because when he turned 80 he realized what an a**hole he was.

Who wants to live in a society where every person lives only for him or herself? Not me.

lululemon adopts a philosophy I find repugnant. I will never again buy another lululemon product. Those spiffy bags might be pretty good at preaching right-wing views, but bad word of mouth is heard quite loudly, as well. And, yes, I will be spreading plenty of it.

Goodbye lululemon, hello athleta!

Comment by Shawna — November 29, 2011 @ 4:37 am

Bring back the old bags. Those were inspirational. Period.

Comment by Matt F — November 29, 2011 @ 6:01 am

I won’t be buying from lululemon any longer. That has nothing to do with yoga- you should keep your business out of political ideals.

Comment by Jane — November 29, 2011 @ 6:29 am

Your clothes are amazing and sometimes I can’t help but buy them – thank you for giving me a reason NOT to. Know your demographic. Even if you’re a conservative to the core, egocentric and every-man-for-themselves believing person keep it to yourself. Those notions are antithetical to most who practice yoga and more importantly (to you) purchase your clothes. Namaste

Comment by John — November 29, 2011 @ 6:56 am

I am a shareholder of Lululemon and have bought clothes and invested for years. However, i am now seriously considering selling my stock. I don’t care if Chip has a different philosophy than I do. But, I cannot actively support, through my investment in the company, his promoting a destructive and selfish political agenda, which is what Rand is all about.

Comment by Barb M — November 29, 2011 @ 7:17 am

Madge, Sarah and the rest of you who are vowing not to shop at Lululemon because you don’t want to mix politics and shopping, I’m sure you’ll also be swearing off Ben & Jerry’s, Levi’s, Progressive Insurance, all General Electric products, everything that Warren Buffett has a stake in, Microsoft, and a myriad of other products pushed by lefties, many of which are unabashedly promoted with a leftist message.

Or is it just conservative politics that make you ashamed? I don’t remember anyone having a sh*t fit when the bags promoted an environmental message.

Hypocrites, all of you.

Go Lululemon. I admire your bravery.

Galt/Taggert 2012!

PS–The snark from the chick who won’t shop at the Upper East Side store anymore was the howler of the week!

Comment by Lulu — November 29, 2011 @ 7:46 am

Fantastic – don’t allow those who misunderstand the meaning to sway you. I assure you that for every one of them that tunes out, you’ll get 10 more new customers. Including this one.

Comment by Brian — November 29, 2011 @ 7:50 am

Steve Jobs was John Galt.

Comment by Kurt — November 29, 2011 @ 8:55 am

Who is John Galt?

John Galt is a fictional character that was so averse to America that he picked up his ball and ran to a secret valley in Colorado. He believed that he advanced the world by carrying it on his manly shoulders (the rest of us are just freeloaders) thus, Atlas Shrugged the world off his shoulders. John Galt believed that his money was the true measure of his worth. John believed in the virtue of selfishness.

I read a comment above that quotes John Galt… “Existence is Identity; Consciousness is Identification”

Does Lulu really believe that declaration? If so, you should reassess your yoga.

Comment by blaze — November 29, 2011 @ 9:18 am


Bad idea. I guess you made a corporate decision (which the stockholders and board back up?) to alienate your current market segment and go after the lucrative teabagger market…?


Comment by jeff friesen — November 29, 2011 @ 9:21 am

Very, very disappointed as a long-time customer. Will boycott lululemon going forward and urge the many others in my close-knit and considerable yoga community in Montreal to do so as well.

Comment by didierseth — November 29, 2011 @ 9:33 am

To call for a boycott in light of this ugly turn is not hypocritical. I am down with pro-environmental slogans but not pro-unchecked-rampant-”screw you poor huddled masses”-capitalist innuendo that pays homage to an uber-libertarian who advocated rational egoism over ethical altruism.

Sorry if that seems like a double standard to some.

Comment by didierseth — November 29, 2011 @ 9:37 am

Clearly, you’ve not deepened your world view since you were 18 if this is the conclusion you’ve reached about Ayn Rand and her works. What drivel. You’ve lost my business.

Comment by chris w — November 29, 2011 @ 9:38 am

Who is Tommy Douglas?

Comment by Etienne — November 29, 2011 @ 9:48 am

I’m pretty positive that the Randian idea that true happiness is only attainable through relentless pursuit of self-interest over all things isn’t found in any yoga related teachings. Putting your company’s leader’s personal philosophy directly on the items they sell is risky at best and downright dumb at worst. I think you’re firmly in “dumb” territory when you mix Objectivism with your products.

Comment by Jimmy — November 29, 2011 @ 10:01 am

Well I guess they will no longer get my money.

Comment by H — November 29, 2011 @ 10:29 am

I have read ATLAS SHRUGGED and some of her “Objectivism” writing. Her heroes are overly dynamic (much like the TWILIGHT novels) and everyone else are dim-witted animals. It’s more propaganda than literature.

Her reactionary writing put the ego first. The only value is money. Cooperation is a crime. Everything I know about yoga says keep the ego out of it. It’s about dissolving and letting go. Winning by refusing to fight. Surrender to the ebb and flow of life and what exists.

Rand is the antithesis of these concepts. Her ideal man was a sociopath (she wrote pages of adoration for William Hickman after he brutally murdered a girl and she planned to model a protagonist after him).

You can find intelligent and useful quotes from otherwise unsavory people, but simply parroting the overused phrase of “Who is John Gault?” (which she does as a lazy way to build mystery over her superman hero) does not demonstrate a philosophy. It is merely fanboy tagging of one’s product.

I was considering buying some of your products, but I will now look elsewhere.

Comment by John (not Galt) — November 29, 2011 @ 10:51 am

Thank you Steven Colbert and the New York Times for exposing Dennis “Chip” Wilson. I will have to return the $591 order I just placed last night. I am so bummed. I really loved these products. I will also clear out my closet of all lululemon gear and return it as well. Wow. Another Tea Party executive. Bummer.

Comment by Carol Wallin — November 29, 2011 @ 11:11 am

I wonder if everyone that posted above has actually read Ayn Rand’s works… specifically Fountain Head & Atlas Shrugged. These books aren’t considered extremely conservative for no reason. Their overall premise was not about people living in mediocrity but more “lets not give to the little guy… lets take ALL we possibly can!” Her literal hatred of anything that might be considered “socialism” by giving to the poor is well documented. These books fly in the face of everything a Yogic way of life would represent: love, compassion, giving, sharing and spreading the wealth. I dont want my Yoga wear to speak to my political views so I will not be making any purchases.

Comment by Cherie — November 29, 2011 @ 11:42 am


Go shop at Athleta. It’s owned by The Gap, which was founded by a Republican. Good job people. Good job.

Comment by Bryan — November 29, 2011 @ 11:57 am

Thanks for letting me know. I will use my free will to shop elsewhere now. Peace.

Comment by Ato — November 29, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

I am surprised and appalled by many of the comments made here. It seems that a lot of people are misinterpreting the philosophy of Ayn Rand and have not taken to reading her many books. What is the problem with individual rights? Do I want my life controlled by the majority? Do people really think they have no control over their own lives? This is kind of a load of crap.

My first introduction to Ayn Rand was in high school, when I was assigned to read Anthem. This book has a marked effect on me, but it would be years before I was enticed to read more Ayn Rand publications. In high school, I was unable to truly appreciate the message. In college, I was assigned to read The Virtue of Selfishness. Many people misinterpret this title, thinking it allows one to be self-centered with no regard for others. This is not the case. It simply says that society should not expect you to take care of others before you take care of your own. If I only had enough money for groceries for my kids, I would not spend it on my neighbor’s kids. This may seem like a no-brainer, but altruism teaches us to put other peoples’ needs before our own. In Atlas Shrugged, the story is of a world much like our own. It shows how government intervention in social conscious can lead to our own demise. I think we can all agree that the government can go to far. I agree with Chip and that Corporate Social Responsibility should be practiced. By promoting this virtuous philosophy, more people will take it upon themselves to make their lives better. If we keep on this path that we are on, my neighbors will want me to pay their mortgages for them. Oh, wait, we are already doing that! Or pay for their health care. Oops, there’s another one. If everyone learns to take control of their lives, act for themselves, and take responsibility for their choices, then there will be no need for welfare and society will be not only freer, but able to progress beyond our imaginations.

Comment by Kim Daniels — November 29, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

What was lululemon?

Comment by TeddyKGB — November 29, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

How do I get one of these bags!?!?!?

Comment by Susan — November 29, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

I have been somewhat amused by the back and forth conversation that has been going over the last couple of days and I actually think it is quite healthy. Both sides have a point and although I don’t particularly agree with Ayn Rand’s philosophy outside of the idea that you should try to live your best life, I am always skeptical of this need to start a boycott whenever you don’t agree with something. Nobody should be penalized for their opinions. The idea of free speech is that you get to have what ever opinion you have no matter how much it may infuriate your neighbor. Let’s remember the Dixie Chicks!

That all being said, I did catch some parts of a post from Kim Daniels where she somewhat cynically refers to social healthcare and the social safety net right after saying that she agrees with Chip’s vision. It is worth noting that Chip, being a Canadian, has never had to worry about health care and has for his entire life enjoyed all the glory of socialized medicine and a generous social safety net that us here in the US only dream of. So, Chips neighbors are in fact paying for his healthcare and every other Canadian working at Lululemon. It is so much easier to have that I come first attitude when you have a solid safety net to rely on should something go wrong.

Comment by Kristinn — November 29, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

lululemon is now promoting the same book, author and “philosophy” that American Republicans, political hawks, global warming deniers, Fox News and libertarians promote. That. is. unfortunate.

Comment by Sherwin Arnott — November 29, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

While the intent behind this (being the best “you” you can be, achieving greatness) is admirable, there are serious political implications with this reference that are totally unaddressed in this blog post. It’s a startling oversight on Lulu’s part, and frankly is very discouraging to me, as a consumer, because in the past I’ve found Lulu’s philosophy to be so inspirational. I’m very disappointed – I think you should just stick to making excellent athletic wear and avoid political references on your shopping bags.

Comment by Kate — November 29, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

Why did lulu risk alienating ANY part of its customer base? We’re all entitled to our opinions and the detractors and acolytes will probably never see eye-to-eye, but in this battle the company is the only one who stands to lose (and they’ll stand to lose their customers). I personally will no longer shop at lululemon. Whoever made the decision to create this bag certainly did a mediocre job thinking the decision through!

Comment by Katia — November 29, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

The pair of pants I just bought at your store on P Street in DC will have to last the rest of my life because I am never shopping at lululemon again. Ayn Rand was a narcissistic megalomaniac and a hypocrite; she benefited enormously from the same state-funded social programs (free university education, state funding for the arts) that she would later demonize. Apparently only she could make good use of these communal programs – the rest of the world is well-advised to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. How about “Who is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf?” Or maybe Leymah Gbowee or Tawakkol Karman? There are a lot of ideas and historical figures that deserve recognition – Ayn Rand is not one of them.

Comment by Shana — November 29, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

What are all of you on!? This is completely disturbing. Have any of you read that book? Or even know what Rand is all about? Kim Daniels, you said it. I’m shocked at these responses, AND the audacity of a yoga brand to think this is a motto to live by.

Comment by archivist — November 29, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

I’m quite disappointed. The rosy interpretation given in the original blog post is certainly not how I’ve ever interpreted this book. I would think that the company would be a bit more thoughtful before getting involved in longstanding philosophical debates that are much more controversial than the blog post suggests. Personally, I read Atlas Shrugged with I was 18 and I was very turned off by the shallow narcissism of the main characters and the ideas they espouse, not to mention the poor treatment of female characters. I’m going to have to take my business elsewhere. Good thing they just opened a Prana in my neighborhood – now that’s the free market at its best.

Comment by Sarah — November 29, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

It says that lululemon’s founder, Chip Wilson, first read this book when he was eighteen years old. I too read Ayn Rand when I was a young adult. However, I did not come away from the experience with a similar feeling about John Galt. Ayn Rand’s representation of the wealthy and the powerful as oppressed parties was off-putting to me then and still is.

Putting a symbol of selfishness front and center of your marketing campaign has turned this customer away forever. What a shame.

Comment by Melinda — November 30, 2011 @ 7:31 am

You gotta be kidding me. My wife actually bought some of your products this year. For the last time. Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy’ creates hate and disdain and has no place in yoga. The book is an overwritten tome so full of logical and practical inconsistencies it’s laughable to all but those who use it as justification of their own social position. Billions of people work hard, toiling every day to provide for their loved ones. Toiling a striving to better themselves and their lot against all odds. A third of the world lives on less than $1 a day. I’ve built myself a nice business, employ 50 people and do quite well. I pay my taxes but would have no trouble paying more if it’s needed to help keep this country strong, healthy and well-educated. Somewhere along the line people like Rand have forgotten that ‘governement’ is what we call it when well-meaning people get together to provide and do things for each other that we can’t do on our own. WE are government.
Odd how all the ‘innovators’ or ‘job creators’ in the book were inheritors of wealth. There are many brilliant people who never get a break. And if the high-mucky-mucks were to go ‘on strike’ there would be plenty of intelligent people eager to take their places. Want to see the country in turmoil? Imagine what would happen when the teachers, the nurses, the busdrivers, the farmers, the garbage collectors, … THE PEOPLE, go on strike. The uber-wealthy in their gated communities would be metaphorically akin to small furry creatures trapped in office wastebaskets, frantically starving in their decaying McMansions. Your company should be ashamed. There, I said it.

Comment by Juan Galt — November 30, 2011 @ 10:30 am

Selfish, isn’t it – to leave your family and all that you’ve known, to chase some rough idea, some fancy, that basically everyone that’s ever known you thinks is a dangerous and wrong choice? What gives someone the nerve, the gall, to purge themselves of the responsibility that, for generations, has been honoured and respected? Just how selfish might someone be considered if they walked away from their lives and family to chase some rather idealistic, and most might say, unrealistic and impossible dream?
How else do we understand what the Buddha did, eh?
And, “Existence is Identity” – after exploring places, experiencing people and trying to resolve the injustice and suffering that possessed his senses….do any of you practise Vipassana? Explain to me how “Existence is Identity” doesn’t apply to that practise?
Existence is Identity;

Comment by @iramey — November 30, 2011 @ 10:40 am

John (not Galt) – you said,
“Her reactionary writing put the ego first. The only value is money. Cooperation is a crime. Everything I know about yoga says keep the ego out of it. It’s about dissolving and letting go. Winning by refusing to fight. Surrender to the ebb and flow of life and what exists.”

I am not a promoter nor fan of Rand and Objectivism but I am of Atlas Shrugged. The novel highlights just how important cooperation is – cooperation and commitment of those that have shared values.
“Dissolving and letting go”…is that not what John Galt, Francisco, et al., essentially are promoting by withdrawing their energies and efforts from a system and philosophy that thrives on disadvantage, abuse, dishonesty and corruption? “Winning by refusing to fight”…is that not, basically, the entire point of the novel? The examples and text, the monologues abound – not to mention how Galt handles his ‘capture’ at the end.

This is fun, folks.
I can’t wait to see everyone trashing their ‘swoosh’ shoes and gear, popping the brands off their cars, deleting their facebook accounts (they’re selling YOU,…they are in business and DO NOT care about your well-being), etc. – as passionately as some are responding here!
And don’t stop there! Be sure to walk everywhere! Be sure to care and love the people you do, NOT because it matters to you but because “it’s the best for them, it’s what they want”…if you do it for yourself…someone might call you selfish. As a matter of fact, don’t have any preference, don’t share any passion, don’t make any choices, abandon any commitment and responsibility. Anything less, really, just let’s others see how selfish you really are.

Absurd, huh?


Comment by @iramey — November 30, 2011 @ 10:57 am

+1 Michelle!

“Now imagine a room full of people who have all pursued their own greatness and are coming together for practice – the possibilities are endless.”

Comment by @iramey — November 30, 2011 @ 11:04 am

Wow. I am happy to know this about lululemon before I bought anything else from you this holiday season. No longer a customer.

Comment by beth — November 30, 2011 @ 11:06 am

Big ups to Stephen Colbert for bringing this to my attention. Just dumped my 450 shares of LULU on the news. Oh, I’m sure you’ll land a handful of Rand-ites for this made-in-Shanghai product… but given that part 1 of the movie version of this waste of paper did so poorly I’d say you made a mistake (if you’re looking to ‘the free market’ for guidance). Since I had been an investor I’m aware that the majority of your manufacturing is in Shanghai, Cambodia and Indonesia. You still maintain offices and small operations in Canada and an even smaller amount in the US. I suppose it was nice to launch a business in Canada. Start-ups can be easier there as the company isn’t burdened by providing health care and the principals can leave their prior commitments without fear of losing health care. The biggest problem I see with Rand and her sheep is that the world she created is far too simplistic. And those ‘objectivists’ who follow her think that the alternative to Rand is pure socialism or soviet-style communism. Look around idiots, the communist chinese are kicking butt! I like the models of social democracies in europe that are outpacing our standard of living, our health outcomes, our education. They understand that is necessary to invest in a countries future. The core problem with many of our own social programs is that the administration of the programs has been so gutted by republican cuts it has become impossible to discern the truly needy from the poor-but-greedy. It used to be that the unemployed had to seek out work and report in person to a labor agency. Now that the program administration has been so gutted in the search for efficiency most ‘applicants’ simply call-in or go on-line to submit weekly claims to collect their benefits which are often issued via debit card. Since the left fights any attempt to decrease benefits the resultant savings from cuts demanded by the right guts the personal responsibility that should be built into the program. I digress. Rand is just nonsense and an excuse to be selfish. We are social animals. We help those who are truly in need. Our country provides for the general welfare of it’s citizens. Your company espouses turning your backs on the weak. I pity your contemptuous corporate stance and I deplore your taking it while not supporting the country and people who supported you in your ‘rise from mediocrity to greatness’. Who is John Galt? Who cares.

Comment by Jeff Thomason — November 30, 2011 @ 11:07 am

+1 eli!

“You folks take life way too seriously. Rand wrote a book that was inspired by the consequences of collectivism she witnessed first hand in the USSR. The underlying theme of all her works is that you own yourself, you exist for yourself, you are not a means to another’s ends, your happiness is to be directed by you and most of all the state does not own you. Fascism and Communism where collectivist ideologies responsible for the state sanctioned murder of millions and this horrified her–that was her definition of altruism, the sacrifice of self for something which they place no love or value too. the belief that men could claim ownership of your life or your mind and make you die for their own means. Selfishness is not evil. What is evil is living to do the bidding of others while compromising your desires, values, principles, and joy. That is the opposite of selfishness and is the “altruism” Rand despised.”

Comment by @iramey — November 30, 2011 @ 11:11 am

Hey LULULEMON… I’m posting this again because it looks like you’re so busy deleting posts that you accidently deleted mine… so here it is again:
You gotta be kidding me. My wife actually bought some of your products this year. For the last time. Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy’ creates hate and disdain and has no place in yoga. The book is an overwritten tome so full of logical and practical inconsistencies it’s laughable to all but those who use it as justification of their own social position. Billions of people work hard, toiling every day to provide for their loved ones. Toiling and striving to better themselves and their lot against all odds. A third of the world lives on less than $1 a day. I’ve built myself a nice business, employ 50 people and do quite well. I pay my taxes but would have no trouble paying more if it’s needed to help keep this country strong, healthy and well-educated. Somewhere along the line people like Rand have forgotten that ‘government’ is what we call it when well-meaning people get together to provide and do things for each other that we can’t do on our own. WE are government.
Odd how all the ‘innovators’ or ‘job creators’ in the book were inheritors of wealth. There are many brilliant people who never get a break. And if the high-mucky-mucks were to go ‘on strike’ there would be plenty of intelligent people eager to take their places. Want to see the country in turmoil? Imagine what would happen when the teachers, the nurses, the busdrivers, the farmers, the garbage collectors, … THE PEOPLE, go on strike. The uber-wealthy in their gated communities would be metaphorically akin to small furry creatures trapped in office wastebaskets, frantically starving in their decaying McMansions. Your company should be ashamed. There, I said it.

Comment by Juan Galt — November 30, 2011 @ 11:12 am

My daughter worked in your providence showroom. In respect for John Galt she is quitting today… she is going on strike. She and John urge all employees of LLLemon to go on strike. Don’t let corporate power take over your life, drain you of your imagination and drive, or bully you into subservience.

Comment by Joan McCardle — November 30, 2011 @ 11:20 am

I haven’t purchased from Lululemon yet, but perhaps now I will, since I have learned about the “Who is John Galt” controversy. I’m reading Ayn Rand for the first time, and it is simultaneously terrifying, beautiful, enforcing and validating of my own experiences as a capitalist pig who works damn hard every single day in order to craft the life I wish to lead. And for all the socialists reading, yes, that does in fact include supporting those less fortunate, providing jobs and training to those with the personal wherewithal to perform them and to learn. As I see it, all these programs designed to provide a safety net are over used, saturated with corruption on every level, and no longer viable – they cost every one of us more than we can possibly put in. What starts as a dream or enlightenment quickly becomes a stick point for mediocrity and lack of trying. And just in case folks like Juan Galt right there above want to claim that I must have inherited family wealth (which isn’t any sin or crime, by the way, but rather just a bit of good luck), try this on for size: Raised in a single parent family – father left when I was six, my sister was 3 and my other sister wasn’t yet born (she would be in a month and a half). We grew up on welfare – and I’m very, very grateful for that safety net. HOWEVER, the entire time we were the fortunate recipients of food stamps and medicare (no cash aid), my mother was busy re-educating herself so that she would be able to find work that provided enough income to raise us all. We never owned a home, we always rented. I left high school at 16, worked, started college, for which I wrote my own tuition checks. My bachelors degree took me 14 years to complete, since I was also busy working full time and raising a child on my own. I worked hard for several companies before starting my own some ten years ago. While my business was growing, my husband and I also bought and sold used items (ie, we were “junk peddlers”, started a food service busienss (a hot dog cart – never dismiss it, it provided much needed income at the time), and began doing the janitorial work in our town – cleaning public toilets. Even today, we still do the janitorial work, as it is good, honest income derived by good honest service work. People in town despise us for what we have, without thinking about what we have done, and continue to do, to earn it. And not one person or business has ever come and indicated to our contract holders that they would like to bid on the job – apparently, the people around here with “so little” who resent ME for having “so much” are too good to clean toilets and vacuum public buildings. I’ll continue to work hard, to wear expensive stretchy pants and Cartier if I desire – and to help out the helpless. But I’ll be dipped in shit before I re-distribute MY wealth to those who decline honest work. I’ve had it up to here with nasty entitlements. And no- social security and unemployment insurance are not entitlements, since the workers themselves also contribute. I don’t want to push grandma off a cliff – just the Occupy dillweeds hating on capitalism and free markets while their tweeting on iPhones and sleeping in expensive tents made overseas. Hypocrisy.

Comment by Bridget — November 30, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

Ha yeah the Great Men should behave like petulant little boys in real life until they get their way, great ‘philosophy’ there guys. I know who John Galt is: A giant douchbag that has no place in a civilized society. Oh and also the MOST BORING SPEAKER EVER!
DIAF, lululemon.

Comment by rizzo — November 30, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

Awesome. I like Lulu even more now. Definitely shopping there more often!

Comment by Dawn — November 30, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

It’s the greed and self-centredness of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that is one of the reasons we humans are destroying the planet and destroying each other. We need to reach out to each other in compassion, not with a sneer for “being mediocre” and not great enough, as Ayn Rand would have.

Ayn Rand’s philosophies really only work for the greedy and those using force to get their goals. And no matter how strong we make ourselves, we are all going to have moments of weakness and failure. When you are in those moments how do you want people to react to you? Those espousing Rand’s lifeview would sneer at you and probably pick through your pockets for spare change. Wouldn’t you rather receive a kind word and a helping hand from a great community instead? But I think this little girl explains the issue better than I can: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQmz6Rbpnu0&feature=player_embedded

Now that’s a Vancouverite I’m proud of. Lululemon, I’m ashamed of you and I won’t be shopping there again. It seems to me that if you are truly yogic, you would be exploring yoga sutras, not Ayn Rand. Something tells me that the two philosophies are completely incompatible.

Comment by emily — November 30, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

Ayn Rand is not someone to promote the “soul” or other logos LULU promotes to sell yoga and exercise. She was anti-religion (reality and facts are only what you can see) and anti-social responsibility (each person for themselves). How can a company and its supporters use a logo like John Galt which shouts individual over community? Makes no sense to me and scares me- the view of readers here that say things like “get over it” “don’t be so serious” etc- let me ask how serious are you about your exercise program, about what you wear to do exercise? I suspect pretty serious. So, don’t put others down for being serious! Ayn Rand and her fictional characters were part of her “Objectivism” philosophy- it was all part of a push to promote the individual over the community, to focus on the objective like money over emotion or spirit.
No more LULU for me I am sorry to say!!!

Comment by janet k-g — November 30, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

I have purchased thousands of dollars of merchandise from lulu. I am extremely disappointed to learn of your political leanings and eagerness to share this selfish point of view with your customers. It tells me that what you say you stand for is a lie.

I am so disappointed. Ayn Rand was not the consummate capitalist or human. She was a selfish, vain, atheist who was obsessed with ego as the source of all creation. I used to tell everyone about your company and your great products. All of my workout wear is yours. I am now ashamed to wear the label. Truly sad. I have read all of her books and when I was younger and childish she appealed to me. But it takes an evolved human to understand her deeply flawed philosophy.

Comment by Robin — November 30, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

Lululemon wants to surpass mediocrity? Ironic given that Ayn Rand was such a mediocre writer. A. S. is a 100-page polemic crammed into 1200 pages.

Comment by Joe in SF — November 30, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

Thoughts from a great teacher.. the opposite of Rand. “It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect. Such freedom is my best description of spiritual maturity, because once you know that your “I” is great and one with God, you can ironically be quite content with a small and ordinary “I.” No grandstanding is necessary. Any question of your own importance or dignity has already been resolved once and for all and forever.”
― Richard Rohr

Comment by Robin — November 30, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

I was always uneasy with the contradiction of wearing expensive designer gear while practicing yoga. Thank you Lulu for clarifying this conundrum for me. I will go back to my $10 gym shorts. Maybe lulu should make a line of apparel emblazoned with dollar signs in the style of Ayn Rand.

Comment by RCB — November 30, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

ARE YOU INSANE ???? Please go bankrupt now.

Comment by L. — November 30, 2011 @ 10:25 pm

I love how lululemon is choosing its customer’s political beliefs for them. I wish apple would start imprinting a hammer and sickle on my computer next time I buy a laptop.

Grow up, jerks!

Comment by Nick — December 1, 2011 @ 3:41 am

I was happy to get an explanation for the slogan on the bag and I love that it created so much debate. For those who think Atlas Shrugged espoused ideas of “greed” or a “lack of empathy,” this is not exactly what Rand was saying in the book. She described characters who wanted to receive the full consequence of their work and to have ownership of their wealth and belongings. The book explicitly explains that people could be charitable but that it should be a choice and not demanded of them by the government or anyone else. Americans are a generous bunch and not necessarily because government demands it through taxes or offers tax deductions for charitable gifts. Here is an article describing some American charity (interesting sections on political ideology and donations toward the bottom) http://www.american.com/archive/2008/march-april-magazine-contents/a-nation-of-givers

Additionally, I would like an example of when a government (any government or all combined) has done more to increase the standard of living globally than capitalism has, and I’m willing to overlook the outrageous instances where communism has sent countries head first into poverty. ;)

But this aspect of the book is not what Lululemon was referring to in their use of the phrase, “Who is John Galt?” Using the phrase in the way they described makes sense to me considering the company makes an impeccable product.

Comment by CW — December 1, 2011 @ 3:53 am

It seems profoundly strange that an objectivist, who worships at the altar of pure reason, would make a conscious choice to alienate a substantial portion of the people who buy his products.

Comment by NotJohnGalt — December 1, 2011 @ 7:38 am

Goodbye lululemon. You have made your bed and you will lie in it now. No one I know at my yoga class is going to support you anymore. And don’t kid yourself, lots of people are talking about dumping you

Comment by Travis — December 1, 2011 @ 9:19 am


You really should rethink your heroes. Ayn Rand’s objectivism is puerile drivel, especially when read so superficially. At it’s heart lies a stunning disregard for community and social responsibility. Rand leaves her followers with their moral compasses pointed straight to GREED. This is the mantra of the very people who have destroyed this economy and polemicised American politics. Your company philosophy is misguided by an ignorant reading of the writings of a true sociopath.

Comment by William Barnewitz — December 1, 2011 @ 9:21 am

Thanks Lululemon, for becoming that annoying contrarian turd who lived across the hall from me freshman year, made me suffer through the truly, transcendentally awful prose of Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, and like you, told me I just didn’t get it because I rejected the idea of the “morality” of selfishness and greed. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, I just don’t see why you need novels to sell the idea of selfishness, there seems to be plenty of it to go around already. What, were the licensing rights for “greed is good” too expensive? Count my wife and I as two more former customers.

Comment by Who is Jon Spencer? — December 1, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

If Stephen Colbert thinks it was a bad move for a company to do this (much less an overhyped, overpriced YOGA company), you may want to rethink your direction and who your customers are.

Ps your headband stinks and it slips out of my hair.
It will have to slip off into a garbage can.

Comment by Becky — December 1, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

You have now created an activist against your company. When you have loyal customers (me) and you do something that is so alien to their core beliefs it is the fastest way to not only lose customers but to activate them to work against you. Way to go dummies at lululemon!

Comment by Robin — December 1, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

Atlas Shrugged, and all the major works of Ayn Rand, suggest reprehensible and childish philosophies of the world. In our world, where people live, some are sick, or old, or young, or ill, or otherwise destitute. These are people who cannot control “where they live” or “how much money they make”.

At the end of Atlas Shrugged, the ‘great minds’ run off to a hidden valley, leaving the majority of society (affectionately dubbed “Takers”) to suffer and die; effectively, because they are ‘lazy’ or as lululemon puts it “choose mediocrity”.

These are the people who yoga is for! Healthy yogis have a duty to their fellow man — to help people and alleviate suffering. Not “be great”. What vanity.

Hasn’t the fallacy of Objectivism and unbridled capitalism become quite clear in the marketplace today?

Namaste Everybody.

Comment by James — December 1, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

I couldn’t be happier about this! I just wish I’d heard about it sooner. I went straight to the closest lululemon after work yesterday to drop $600 of my hard-earned money on their great product and even greater philosophy. I worked at lululemon during a transition time in my life, and seeing this reaffirms what a positive experience it was overall. Their core library readings really inspired and elevated me, and Atlas Shrugged could fit right in there. I’ve since been passionate about avoiding the mediocrity trap and striving for greatness, and I think it is AWESOME that Chip and his company had the courage to put this out there in the midst of so much averageness, in a time when we can see a lot of Atlas actually happening in our country. This seals my deal with lululemon as a customer for life :) Woohoo!

PS Being an active, healthy yogi or other athlete does NOT mean you are anti-Rand. I would argue that yoga requires great discipline and strength, both mental and physical, and a total dependence on yourself to improve and achieve.

Comment by Courtney — December 1, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

I have been practicing yoga 5-6 days a week for the past 7 years…but I”m also a libertarian who was greatly influenced by Ayn Rand’s philosophy–Atlas Shrugged in particular. I never saw them as being contradictory in my own life, but I often struggled to put my philosophy of the two it into words for others to understand. You hit the nail on the head! THANK YOU!

Comment by yogilibertarian — December 1, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

Ayn Rand is a hack. Her ideas are shockingly underdeveloped and childishly self-centered so it’s not entirely surprising that they appeal to teenagers ( so many fall in love with her in college) who are still ensconced in a “me” universe do not yet know the work of real philosophy. However, even if her ‘philosophy’ was in any way philosophical, her writing is still just plain awful; heavy-handed, repetitive, proselytizing pulp with poorly drawn characters and predictable outcomes. Her musings are bitter ideological propaganda at best and at worst, a paradoxical invitations to a deeply slavish lazy intellect. I simply cannot exchange money for a product that is actively promoting such drivel. I’m sad on two fronts; to see how many people support selfish thoughts and bad writing, and (selfishly) that I will no longer have ethical access to quality yoga products!

Comment by Cathi — December 2, 2011 @ 12:27 am

You can now watch the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job here for free: http://vimeo.com/25491676
Note the parts about Alan Greenspan, and how Ayn Rand has his greatest mentor and how it led to him prohibit derivatives from regulation. Even after being quoted as saying some of these financial transactions couldn’t be cracked by even people with a PhD in mathematics….

Comment by Guest — December 2, 2011 @ 10:46 am

I have walked past your stores many times but never dared enter for fear that I would encounter some of the scathing limousine liberals that have posted above on this thread. However, learning that you are driven by one of the greatest American thinkers has encouraged me to take a step inside…

Comment by Luke — December 2, 2011 @ 11:48 am

Wow. Apparently this company makes great clothes, judging from all the people proclaiming their value even as they claim to be throwing them out. Some of this stuff should be used in an ad campaign–”I quit shopping here even though they make the best clothes ever…” cannot be beaten for a testimony to quality.

Comment by William — December 2, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

Nice Post. I don’t understand why you would assume any customer would get THAT message from that quote.

I feel you are being dishonest with us.

Comment by Patrick — December 2, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

I think Paul Krugman said it best:
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Comment by Ed — December 3, 2011 @ 8:42 am

I LOVE this debate. It embodies the height of pretension and hypocrisy for all lululemon-touting yogis. If what you are so inexorably against is self-betterment, or even capitalism for that matter, then why in the hell were you EVER buying 100 dollar yoga pants? Where did you get that money in the first place? Was it collected from severely overpriced yoga classes? Wait a minute, where ARE the $2 yoga classes? Oh yeah, I do see free ‘yoga in the park’ once a year to pat your ideologies, never mind.

I do agree that Chip should steer clear from this type of controversy. However, if you went from customer to activist, don’t confuse those feelings of resentment as anything other than self loathing. And don’t use it as a soap box for self-righteousness. You bought the luxury apparel. Because it fit well. It’s great quality. And it made you feel sexy.

So stuff a water-wicking sock in it.

Comment by Jordan — December 3, 2011 @ 11:39 am

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Comment by Ed Popovitz — December 3, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

I am John Galt and we are legion (heh). I wish people would simply understand the message of self sufficiency and freedom that Ayn Rand portrayed in Atlas Shrugged rather than demonize it. Sadly, I look to the message and actions of the ‘Occupy’ folks and see a dark and gruesome future down that road.

Comment by Forrest — December 4, 2011 @ 9:39 am

Ed Popovitz- Regarding your comparison of “The Lord of the Rings” and “Atlas Shrugged”,isn’t it a bit harsh to label the Occupiers as Orcs? Even though they do share many of the same traits I don’t believe that they purposefully serve an evil master…well then again, perhaps it’s an apt comparison after all.

Comment by Glitchus — December 4, 2011 @ 9:57 am

I wish there was a Lulumons here in Cleveland, I want one of those bags!

Lulumons would be my favourite new store to shop, is my guess.

Comment by Jeffery Wright — December 4, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

Christmas time: Where can we buy the bag online?

Many are asking…

Comment by sofa — December 4, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

Just one of the many Ayn Rand myths that I correct on my Ayn Rand walking tours in New York: the William Hickman matter. Rand was a young screenwriter in 1928 when she read in the papers about a murderer who was unrepentant and even defiant on the stand. She thought: what if someone were on trial for his life, was defiant like Hickman, but in the course of the trial, and the movie, we learn that he was right in doing whatever he was accused of? Rand was simply a dramatist looking for a dramatic set-up for a movie in a news story. She specifies that she does NOT mean a murderer like Hickman.

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 4, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

Dumb move!

Comment by zdoc — December 4, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

Love the clothes, hate the ayn rand BS. Too bad I will never buy any more lululemon clothes because of it. I’m especially embarrassed that Chip and his company are Canadian.

Comment by bev — December 4, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

Totally agree. I daily strive to overcome mediocrity. And that’s why I knock down all the poor people I see. Quit trying to hold me back!

Comment by Blake — December 4, 2011 @ 10:35 pm

You just got yourself a new customer, love your business ethics.

Best wishes from Europe!

Comment by Tore R — December 5, 2011 @ 7:00 am

How can I buy the John Galt bag?

Comment by laura — December 5, 2011 @ 8:50 am

This is a shock. I’ve shopped at the lululemon in CC Philly and never knew of their support for an Ayn Rand-approved vision of the world. Good luck with that, but i’ll never set foot near your store again.

Comment by Carla — December 5, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

WAY TO GO!!!! Keep it up.

Comment by LCD — December 5, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

The proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness or rational self-interest.



No Lulu yoga clothes for my g/f this year, or any year for that matter.

Comment by SCL — December 7, 2011 @ 11:14 am

Aside the obvious sarcastic comments, it is laughable how much ignorance is present in the comments above, particularly the comments coming from the right.

The very definition of greatness requires something which is “great” to be significantly better than something else which is just “good” or “average”. If we were all to achieve greatness then we would all be equal; ergo we would all be mediocre. Boom! Did I just blow your minds?

To put this into simpler terms, none of you will ever achieve greatness as defined by Ayn Rand because the sheer fact that achieving such greatness on a broad scale means that you are no longer great but rather just mediocre. Existence of Ayn’s mediocrity in fact makes it possible for Ayn’s greatness to exist, which in-itself is a paradox.

What this does go to show though is how little understanding of the world a lot of people have and how much of that can be exploited by some for personal gain. Do not fool yourself that this is any different. You do not live in a system where the state puts limits on your achievements. You live in a system where the economics and ignorance put limits on your achievements. You see, at the end of the day I will not let you get rich because we cannot both be rich and still call ourselves rich.

As for what this type of thinking does do the society as a whole…well I will just give you that it leads to anarchy. I will leave it to you to exercise your brain to deduce why.

Comment by Ayn Rand — December 7, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

“knock down all the poor people I see”? If that is your idea of your self-interest, it says more about you than about Ayn Rand. Rand’s prescription for happiness is: focus on your goal–your purpose–rather than be distracted by fear, hate, envy or guilt toward others. Suppose you are in a footrace where you can win not just by running faster, but also by tripping your opponent. Not many speed records would be set in a tripping race. Neither you nor your opponent would reach your goal. Hurting him will not help you achieve your purpose. Just do your thing and let him do his.

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 7, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

This reference to a right-wing novel is disgusting: if Lululemon is really going to follow the character John Galt then management wants to find the worst working conditions, that pollute like crazy, and drive the workers making your products to suicide in frustration — for that is the very clear and constantly repeated vision of Ayn Rand: get what you can for yourself and step over and on anyone you can, for you are superior. They are just mediocre. YOU are the 1% – screw the 99%. Let them eat mud.

And just how are conditions where the wonderful gear we with money can buy, anyway?

Comment by Tomás Scruggs — December 8, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

LOVE IT!! So many of our modern great companies revolve around this philosophy: Whole Foods, Apple and now Lulu! I think most of the negative comments on here are from people who either haven’t read the book or were foreced to by a colleg prof . who gave them a negative feeling about it.

Have worn Lulu for years and will continue to wear it with pride :)

Comment by WDT — December 9, 2011 @ 6:15 am

Is it possible to just buy the bag? I didn’t see it on the site as a separate offering. Unfortunately, I have no use for the clothes even though they sound like they are amazingly well made–a conclusion I come to based on the comments of the detractors on this thread, strangely enough. Keep up the good work.

Comment by William — December 9, 2011 @ 6:51 am

Lululemon and all you Libertarian Greedy anti Social Sociopaths should be ashamed of yourselves! Get out of our Yoga Lives. You are not yogis! Greed (Growth) is not a virtue!

Comment by Carlos da Silva — December 9, 2011 @ 10:22 am

Dear Chip Wilson,

It’s lovely that you’ve attempted to defend yourself. However, it’s quite clear from your response that not only are you politically ill-informed (The Occupy movements are not questioning the role of government in business, but rather questioning the role of market interests in defining government DEREGULATION policies). While I am sympathetic to your feel-good desire for individuals and businesses to be their best and take responsibility, you are completely ignoring the implications of political moves towards responsibilitization. Indeed, businesses need to be held accountable for their actions, and so go governments, and so do individuals. But, by focusing solely on responsibility, we completely erase the systemic and other forms of power that produce political and economic consequences. Ayn Rand’s thinking (among the economic and political theorizing of others) is precisely the type of ideology that is responsible for allowing political and economic inequalities and injustices to be produced, maintained, and proliferated without consequence.

Comment by andreapp — December 9, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

I love that someone posted a link to the Inside Job. Nice work.

Comment by GetAClue — December 9, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

Looks like I’m going to be getting a bag and some new clothes for christmas.

Comment by zardoz — December 10, 2011 @ 1:49 am

I will not support any company that associates itself with Ayn Rand. Want to know why? Try reading this blog entry:

Comment by Kevin — December 10, 2011 @ 6:29 am

Rand was always writing on the most fundamental level. When she wrote on “altruism,” she was not referring to the hundred little courtesies we pay each other every day. Those come under the heading of “mutualism;” the principle that one hand washes the other, not “altruism,” which means self-sacrifice. It is religious and political figures who promote altruism in order to manipulate us all through guilt. An extreme case is bin Laden, who got his followers to believe that they should sacrifice their lives gloriously for “a cause greater than yourself,” like killing the infidels. Rand’s point was the same as that of the author of the World War I poem “Gas Attack:” If you had seen the horrors of war that he had seen, he says, “you would not tell, with such high zest, to heroes ardent for some desperate glory, that old lie DULCAE ET DECORUM EST, PRO PATRIA MORI.”

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 10, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

Correction: “You would not tell, with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old lie DULCE ET DECORUM EST, PRO PATRIA MORI.” “It is sweet and decorous to die for one’s country.” — Horace. Wilfred Owen wrote “Gas Attack,” and died in his turn, in World War I, at 25.

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 10, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

John Galt is the guy who drives in the breakdown lane while wearing a $118 Lululemon hoodie and a smile on his face as he flips off all the people waiting in lane for the exit ramp, so he can be the first to yoga class to set up his matt in front of the mirror and refuse to move for anyone else.

That’s who John Galt is.

Comment by Prana — December 10, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

WDT, Apple did and does NOT revolve around the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Who are you trying to kid with that?

Don’t try to twist a commitment to forward-looking innovation into the Ayn Rand philosophy of greed. It’s too obvious. And it’s insulting, not just to readers here but to Apple as well.

Comment by Prana — December 10, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

I’ve read more than one comment here claiming Steve Jobs was a John Galt.

Steve Jobs was a Democrat. He was an active participant in Democratic politics.

Claim this Chip guy all you want as your libertarian objectivist hero, but don’t try to claim Steve Jobs as your own.

Steve Jobs was an innovative capitalist hugely successful Democrat.

Comment by Prana — December 10, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

I’m laughing at all of the faux supporters on here with their “I don’t do yoga, but I just learned about this decision and you just got a new customer!” I think that’s BS.

It’s hard to believe that and here’s why. These clothes are seriously expensive. And the truth is, with the exception of your very wealthy customers, the only reason the rest of us spent gobs of money we could not afford was because we do a lot of yoga. And because we do a lot of yoga, we have smokin’ hot bodies. And we know better than anyone how much more smokin’ Lululemon made us look. That’s right. I said it.

Better than anyone, Lululemon had mastered the cut and cloth to flatter our yoga butts, abs, chest and arms. And that FLATTERY is what got us to drop 2 bills on a sports bra and stretch pants — more than once or twice.

So while it’s fun and satisfying to throw political ideology and philosophy in your opponents face on a message board, the motivation it takes to do it does not match what it takes commit that much money on one or two pieces of clothing.

So unless all of these new supporting customers are very wealthy, which is unlikely and everyone knows it, then I don’t see them having the same motivation it takes to spend that kind of money. They may think they’re motivated with their I’m-better-than-mediocre philosophy, but what it really, really takes to commit 2 bills at the register is VANITY.

I know what got me to do it. And I know if someone gave me a good enough reason NOT to give in to that vanity, I would welcome the out. Ironically, with this Ayn Rand thing, Lululemon gave me the out I wanted. I might be vain about my appearance, but I’m not a selfish Ayn Rand supporter. And I certainly won’t associate myself with the same ideology that the most destructive politicians my country has ever seen are associated with.

Besides, there are plenty of yoga apparel companies who have since matched your ability to flatter my butt. And they do it for less.

Comment by Tara — December 10, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

Oh, and one more observation of the comments from the right (call it what it is) that’s making me laugh. The righties are here criticizing the lefties for all their socialism. That criticism sits in the very same post where they explain that the reason they even heard about all of this is from a story on NPR. NPR. The socialist National Public Radio that the Republican Ayn Rans loving Libertarians are actively trying to de-fund and eliminate.

So typical.

Comment by Tara — December 11, 2011 @ 12:40 am

Wow, this argument is still going?

Comment by CT — December 11, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

“Capitalism” is Karl Marx’s word. He coined it in DAS KAPITAL in 1854. The whole world has always understood it to mean what Marx meant it to mean: a political-economic system where the capitalist class owns all the means of production and oppresses the 99% who have to work for them or starve. When Ayn Rand used the word, she was inspiring her readers with her vision of a world of politically independent but economically interdependent republics all supporting the rule of law, natural rights, and, especially,the freedom of all 7 billion potential entrepreneurs to offer competition against any existing company in every business. Rand supported the freedom of the buyer to shop around among competing vendors in every industry. No government favors for any corporation.
To all our socialist professors, though, “capitalism” means whatever exists now and is flawed in any way, and “socialism” means the pie-in-the-sky future the prof promises us…as soon as we give him totalitarian power. As soon as any self-described “socialist” system is found to be flawed, the professor just re-defines that system as “capitalism.”

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 12, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

One of Ayn Rand’s breakthrough ideas — and it does not get enough attention — is her claim that there is no necessary conflict between one person’s rights and another’s, and no necessary conflict between one person’s interests and another’s, provided that both persons are rational, and that we are talking about the most fundamental level of interests.
Like Rand’s whole career, this claim was a response to the Communism that she saw first hand in Russia in her youth. A major premise of Marxism was the claim that there is a necessary conflict of rights and interests between individuals and classes. “Your right to be a millionaire conflicts with my right to a decent living,” said one of my socialist professors — looking forward to the day the State would enforce at gunpoint whatever kind of living HE considered “decent.”
If you and another person apply for the same job, isn’t that a conflict of interests? Rand said no. It is not in your interest that the other applicant NOT get a job — it is in both your interests that both get A job — and not necessarily THIS job. There might even be a better job for you down the road if you don’t get this one. It is in both your interests that your local economy be thriving and producing jobs for both. That’s the fundamental interest that trumps any momentary advantage.
Is it in your interest to get a job through your family connections even though the other candidate is better qualified? Is it in your interest to work for a firm that is so reckless as to hire on that basis? Is it in your interest to live under a government that protects favored firms from competition, so they CAN afford to practice nepotism?

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 16, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

I remember reading Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in my early 20s a couple of decades ago. Initially appealing but then I realized –this is great philosophy for those on top of the heap –basically all about selfishness. So I quickly left it behind. I’ve been amazed at how many people take her work seriously and have wondered why. Check out this article which does a good explanation. Has a quote from Gore Vidal: Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society….To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil”
The link: http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153454/how_ayn_rand_seduced_generations_of_young_men_and_helped_make_the_u.s._into_a_selfish%2C_greedy_nation/comments/

Comment by R P Penner — December 17, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

Much death and destruction throughout history has been caused by the false principle of “The ends justify the means.” The Communists were big on this excuse, which is probably why Ayn Rand wisely rejected it. The Communist took the position that “I love Mankind, and I’m going to help Mankind, no matter how many persons I have to kill doing it!”
Robert Moses, as he bulldozed away whole neighborhoods, asked, “If the ends don’t justify the means, what does?” The answer is: The means need to be justified not only by their intended ends, but by their unintended consequences. That’s why we speak of “Pyrrhic Victories” and games that weren’t worth the candle. The operation was successful, but the patient died.
Gandhi said, “You take care of the means, and the ends will take care of themselves.” Rand would probably reverse the order, and both would be right. We have to doubt both the wisdom and the sincerity of the reformer as the heads pile up around his guillotine… usually ending with his own.

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 17, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

Ayn Rand’s most insightful — and life-long — political complaint was against the Right, not the Left. The Right, she charged, did not know how to make its own case. That was the problem in 1932, when Rand first voted as a naturalized American citizen, and it is still the problem today. Since the Right shares with the Left the moral premise of self-sacrifice, it cannot argue effectively against socialism, or any ism that appeals to the world’s love for the spectacle of self-sacrifice. Also, while the Left can point to real poor people suffering real poverty, and blame it on the rich, it seldom occurs to free-market advocates to point to real poor people suffering real problems for lack of free enterprise.

But Gandhi did just that with his 1931 Salt March. One of the many government regulations that kept Indians poor was one forbidding anyone to compete with the British Raj’s salt monopoly. So Gandhi got thousands to march to the coast, gather sea salt from the shore, and sell it on the streets of India’s cities. It was the perfect melding of strategy and tactics. Gandhi gained support for independence and eroded support for Britain — even in Britain itself — by saying “See? All we are doing is making and selling salt, and the British are beating and jailing us for it.”

This brought together peaceful means and peaceful ends. It brought together Indian interests and British interests. Who doesn’t have an interest in ending Indian poverty? It brought together rights: You British have a right to come to India and make salt, or grow cotton, or engage in any peaceful, competitive, free-market business — but so do we Indians. So it’s not Britain vs. India, it’s rights vs. tyranny.

Free market advocates will never build support for their argument until they can point to police beating poor people for the crime of practicing free enterprise and defying government monopolies. Free enterprise isn’t for the rich — it’s for the poor.
“Going Galt” only begins with non-cooperation with the State’s eternal cycle of Tax & Takeover. It implies creating alternatives to everything the State claims you can’t create alternatives to.

Comment by Fred Cookinham — December 18, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

Love it! it’s high time people started thinking for themselves and quit being sheep.
I took my first Yoga class in your Sarasota store and am hooked! thanks for your great products.
Let the complainers, complain, they can go occupy something.

Comment by Brian — December 27, 2011 @ 4:45 am

It’s wonderful to see a company like Lululemon stand for something and not just fall for anything!! I wish this company a prosperous 2012. I will contribute buy adding thousands more to my wife’s already 20 Lulu outfits or more. Outstanding quality!
Thank you! Let the uninformed continue to spew their nonsense. It takes all types to balance things out.
Happy New Year!

Comment by Chip F. — January 4, 2012 @ 6:25 am

I find it ironic that the most “religious” right follow the ideology of Ayn Rand. A fervent atheist who despised all religion. Ayn didn’t believe in the collective anything. We are all out for ourselves and the most selfish and egotistic will provide the “progress” that the rest of us will benefit from. Partly true but completely spiritually bankrupt. Soooo, my question is: Lulu, how could you be so dumb as to incorporate Ayn Rand into your marketing message? Why alienate those of us that believe progress is not just a material pursuit? That natural selection is for the animal kingdom and not human kind. Why?

Comment by Robin — January 4, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

It might be helpful to have a look at some of Rand’s actual words. This comment, for example, is of course just a sample, but seems to encapsulate Rand’s thinking and writing pretty well:

“The newest proposals of having special millions spent on sub-normal children and on the handicapped, including on so-called ‘kneeling buses’, is the attempt to bring everybody to level of the handicapped. If it’s merely an issue of a physical handicap like a broken leg, which doesn’t affect the mind, that would be a little more excusable, but I don’t believe such privileges should be granted to any group. But this includes the retarded, the sub-normal who are unable to learn, so at the end of spending thousands of millions of tax payers’ money you are left with a happy kid who may learn to read or write. May. On the other hand, there are no special schools, or very, very few, for gifted children. And to pass up the gifted, on whom all our lives depend, if it weren’t for intelligent people — read Atlas Shrugged — what would happen to us with all of the better minds who are able to survive and who carry the weight of everybody else? Yet we don’t spend any money on them.”

“So long as you support the ungifted you owe your first priorities to the gifted.”

From an interview of Rand by Phil Donahue (in 1982 or ’84, I believe): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUwTHn-9hhU

This kind of thinking is what happens when you take the idea of individual liberties too far–so far, in fact, as to completely abstract the individual from society altogether. Of course we’re responsible for our own actions, first and foremost, but it’s also important to recognize that humans are social beings, that it’s impossible to separate the individual from society we are raised in. For Rand and her followers, though, it’s simple: just close your eyes to reality, then slowly open them until all you can see is the inhabitants of the peaks of power and wealth. It’s easy to miss the millions below you when you’re standing on their backs.

None of the wealthiest and most powerful (or, as Rand puts it, the most ‘gifted’) among us got there on his or her own. Not a single one. For every glorified and exalted Steve Jobs or Chip Wilson there are thousands of people whose work they’ve taken credit for, thousands more throughout history whose ideas and innovations they’ve built upon, and of course the countless multitudes that came before us, all of whom are responsible for building the society we live in and thus the historical benefits (and burdens) that we enjoy (or suffer) today.

I find it hard to understand how anyone can identify so enthusiastically with someone who held such contempt and disgust for mentally handicapped children as to apply the term “sub-normal” to them and who bluntly claims that children born “retarded”, by no fault of their own, somehow deserve less care and concern than children lucky enough to be “gifted”, which more often than not simply means being born to relatively well-off parents and thus enjoying circumstances that allow one access to education, leisure and creative pursuits – let alone food, clean water and reliable housing.

To put it another way, imagine Stalin had been quoted as holding the view that “sub-normal” children in Soviet Russia deserved far less than the “gifted” children of Communist Party members, and further that if one happened to care about the unwashed masses one could only rightly do so on condition of worshiping the “gifted” Party leaders to whom society owes its deepest gratitude.

Put that way, few would dispute that Rand’s views are absolutely despicable, and the consequences of her views even more so, if one pauses to think about them for a second.

Comment by Andre — January 6, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

…and Ayn Rand’s intellectually hollow, laughable “philosophy” finds it’s rightful place in history: branded on the exterior of a yoga bag.

Comment by Alexis — January 7, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

Re “Andre’s” post of January 6, 2012: That Rand comment on Donahue boils down to the old saying “Give a man a fish, and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.” In this case, if you teach a retardate something, that’s nice, but if you encourage genius, that might be the genius who goes on to invent a cure for retardation. Rand could have put the thought better than she did if she had had more time to craft her response, so you can see why she preferred expressing herself in writing and not verbally.

When I read Atlas Shrugged, I quickly realized that everything Rand said about ability applied to all levels of ability. The person of average or even lower than average ability needs and deserves freedom to do what’s in him just as much as the Leonardo da Vinci.

Carefully compare the Rand quote to Andre’s reply to it and you can see how he twists it into something it was not. You dare use Stalin as an example, Andre? He was one of your socialist politicians. His shtick was the same as yours: making people feel guilty if they don’t support your government take-over of social services. People have found myriad ways of taking care of each other, not through guilt and calls for self-sacrifice, but through the principle of mutualism: each hand washes the other. Then the State took over that function, and made of it what it makes of all functions: political patronage. After that come the excesses of Stalin, through the principle of “the end justifies the means.” It is your socialist states that decide that the old and sick should be sacrificed to the needs of the State.

Comment by Fred Cookinham — January 12, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

“I may sound like a liberal douche, but as a writer I’m Republican – I enjoy showing people scary things and frightening them with stories. This qualifies me to say “You know what? F**k Jon Galt.” You people realize he is a fictional character, right? That whiny little princess lives in a fairytale. Worse, there are CEOs out there, our job-creators, who want to be him. The think they’re each Cinderella and they’ll be damned if his her low-income sisters and step mother will mooch of her because she inherited glass slippers.” – oh, she worked for them, hmf.

Comment by Matthew Sawyer — January 16, 2012 @ 6:46 am

Wow, Andre, forgive me if I am not just wowed by your point of view. I would not take anything you said seriously Thinkers think and doers do.

Comment by Marlyn Hollembeak — January 19, 2012 @ 10:21 am

It’s a ghastly mistake for Lululemon to be associated with this nonsense.

Rand was at best a cruel crank and at worst a fascist; her trashy, half-baked ideas were ‘illuminated’, if that’s the word, by her adoration of ’20s serial killer William Hickman, see:




It’s true she claimed to oppose fascism, but she openly despised democracy, and her affinity for ‘supermen’ like the loathsome Hickman, is so, so reminiscent of the Nietzsche-inspired garbage peddled by the Nazis. Moreover, the pursuit of her economic ‘ideas’ by people like Alan Greenspan have just about destroyed the world economy.

Her ideal man was a psychopath. Is this really what Lululemon wants us to emulate? Is this what Lululemon stands for?

Comment by Martin — January 24, 2012 @ 12:10 am

So obvious that many here commenting have never actually read Atlas Shrugged; and are only making assumptions based on here-say.

As any philosophy there are extremes, and the good with the bad. Rand, for the mod part wanted a society in which people took responsibility for their actions instead of playing the scapegoat game and blaming someone or something else.

Look at the world around us and tell me there’s not a huge problem right now with our youth and an obscene sense of entitlement.

Instead of teaching our people to learn and become something great, we lower school standard and give handouts to anyone willing to apply.

I dont agree with everything Ayn Rand published, but one has to understand where she was coming from and reacting to – Communist Russia (another theory – Marxism – that looks great on paper – like Capitalism – but doesn’t work as expected because of human errors)

Before you make your opinion, read Atlas Shrugged – there are a lot of valid points in there that require deep thought and not a knee jerk reaction. Otherwise many of our liberties will continue to be lost, our society sterilized, and our brightest minds continuing to leave Canada for more prosperous futures.

Comment by JK — January 28, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

I am not surprised that lulu lemon would be endorsing a world where the wealthy look after themselves and leave the rest of us to rot. Let’s face it, this is want high earning, middle class morons love to hear. I’ll be doing my yoga in old sweats and running in the same shorts I’ve had for the last 5 years, because greatness isn’t about what you wear, or what you say you believe in. It’s about creating your own self, but never forgetting the backs you step on to get there.

Comment by Morgan — January 31, 2012 @ 10:07 am

I just came across this blog and found it fascinating that so many people would hate a classic piece of literature. I just read Atlas Shrugged last year and found it inspiring. The premise of the book is to be the best that one can be using all the skills, talent, motivation and discipline we have. Sounds pretty much like my yoga practice. For all you so called open minded yogis out there…look to your right and left the next time your in class…there may be a conservative standing there…..ooooh how frightening.

Comment by I.trudge — February 1, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

Oh and I forgot to mention, I will be buying all my yoga attire from Lulu from now on…just wish they still had the bags.

Comment by I.trudge — February 1, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

When will the Alan Greenspan signature gold ingot yoga blocks be on the shelf for purchase? We’d hoped to have them for our High Net Worth Hip Openers workshop, which took place at the end of fiscal first quarter. But now here it is already mid-Q2 (fast approaching the Arm Balances for Robber Barons workshop) and the friendly staff at my local lulu still can’t give me any definitive word. I’m sure you’ll understand how important this is to an elite studio like ours. Yes, I know there are cork people and – so I’m told – even a few icky styrofoam people running around out there somewhere. But I can assure you, until you’ve wrapped your sweaty palm around the bullion in parivrtta ardha chandrasana or tucked one under your sacrum for a supported setu bandha you simply haven’t lived. And, oh yes, while I’m thinking of it – where are those nifty greenback yoga pants that have asanas on the butt spelling out KA-CHING!? The cute little Juanita Galts here at the studio are all clamoring for them!

Yours in Greatness,

Dr. L.F. Destouches, Owner/Generalissimo
Let Them Eat Cake Yoga

Comment by L.F. Destouches — February 10, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

The beauty of this is that Chip makes a great product. If your convictions are stronger than your desire for his product–then vote with your dollar–the strongest thing you have.

I applaud Chip for being a creator, builder of a great Canadian company and an individual.

Comment by R F — February 12, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

I LOVE THIS!!! Go Chip and Go Lululemon. I had never heard of the company prior to reading this post. I will now exclusively shop this company for yoga and active wear products because of the founder’s mission statement. Keep striving for greatness! It’s a shame some people find that objectionable.

Comment by Nikki — February 22, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

I used to be proud of the company that started in a little shop upstairs on 4th Avenue. Sigh.

Analysis of the current Rand momentum from one of Britain’s best journalists:

Comment by Lulu — March 8, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

Dear Anti-Ayn Rand commenters,

Thanks for the laughs. I think my favorite line was “I have unliked you on Facebook”. Ooooooooh. In your FACE.

I have always guided the little lady into buying workout gear at Patagonia but this blog post has convinced me to get her a few pieces to try out. Prior to reading this, I didn’t know much about LL other than a rough idea of your price points. However, lululemon is now in my consideration set. Gotta love a free market…

Comment by Dan — March 25, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

What a joke…fifth rate novelist and Bolshevik PTSD victim Alisa Rosenbaum (stage name Ayn Rand) was nothing but a absolute and complete moral failure in her own personal life and death.

Atlas shrugged is complete fantasy BS, exactly where were any children (AKA “parasites”) in this, or any of her books??

An amphetamine and tobacco addict for 40 years until her death in 1982, and on Medicare and social security (!!) she is personally responsible for todays selfishness as god “conservatives” not to mention Alan “oops” Greenspan.

Truly the Antichrist (and this is coming from a fellow athiest) and a person I would throw a concrete life preserver to if drowning.

Hold the princess of pablum platitudes, I’ll shop elsewhere.

Comment by Rich — April 4, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

Well stated. I’m not sure how people can react negatively to this but they continue to all the way up to last week. I’m going to respond to a few things I have seen throughout the posts.

For those upset by the term selfish or self-interest, Ayn Rand advocated a “rational self-interest”. This means live YOUR life for yourself, but in doing so you cannot step on the rights of another human (right to life, liberty, and estate-what you create or earn). So you can’t shoot somebody that is in your path or steal their “estate” or forcefully make them do anything to benefit your self. You have to benefit yourself through your own means.

By the way…Doing yoga is totally within your own self-interest. Doing yoga does not benefit anybody but yourself, so if you’re really against being selfish you should stop doing it (along with any other working out).

She advocated a world based on VOLUNTARY trade. I’m not sure how you can argue with that considering the opposite would be forceful trade…

Alan Greenspan is clearly not a true Objectivist. He never would have taken the position he did within The Federal Reserve if he was.

I saw that somebody stated there are a lot of positives in the ideology stated but it would leave you spiritually bankrupt –
If speaking in terms of religion, then yes in ways. Randwas an atheist and by following an Objectivist philosophy, one would not worship some higher deity that leaves oneself as something inferior and bound to an already determined fate.
I don’t believe that’s what was meant though; I think it may have to do with the “human element” and one’s dealings with other humans. Most people falsely believe that if you agree with Ayn Rand, then you do not help anybody ever and think it is wrong to do so. Rand never says charity is wrong, but she does say forcing somebody to give their earnings/property to others is wrong (this is not charity). You can help whoever you would like in whatever way you would like to, whether this means you are helping those you think deserve it the most or some random strangers on the street that you do not know at all. You simply just cannot force another person to also do this.

Lastly, Rand advocated a world in which one THINKS for him/herself and makes his/her own choices, and takes responsibility for oneself. How can you argue with that?

Great blog post lululemon! I personally have not bought your items because they are on the expensive side, but that is what’s so great about capitalism! I can decide to buy yoga pants from you or from target or just do yoga naked in my bedroom. I have however heard that you make a great product that lasts much longer than the typical athletic clothes and will be looking into supporting your business. Good job at trying to make the greatest product and I hope that you continue trying to make it better at the lowest price possible but still make a profit!

Yours truly,
not from a rich person by any means…

Comment by Becca — April 11, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

I’ve never bought anything from Lululemon (can barely afford yoga, much less $80 yoga pants!), so you’ll be happy to hear you won’t be losing my business.

Unfortunately, a Lululemon store recently opened in my town (probably the first time I’d heard of Lululemon or the Ayn Rand controversy). I’m finding it ruins my zen every time I see the Lululemon logo on someone at the studio. Do they know what they are supporting? Do they care? I’m now having a hard time finding a studio that’s not somehow aligned with the local Lululemon store (every studio seems to have a Lululemon “ambassador”). This is not the kind of yoga experience I want to have. I guess I could save all kinds of money and just do yoga at home?

Thanks to the person above who posted the link to this great piece by George Monbiot. Here it is again.


Comment by TLee — May 3, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

Rand’s story-telling skill, unfortunately, never “elevates from mediocrity to greatness.”

Comment by Sonny Moon — May 15, 2012 @ 9:53 am

Just recently came across these news (better late than never). Are these bags still available. I never got one of these in Montreal and would love one. Will ask for one next time I buy something.

Comment by Lois — May 27, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

OMG ..l just learned about the John Galt-worship. How ugly for the employees and we customers. I am so embarrassed that I had taken such pride in a Canadian homegrown business. To be led by a corporatist in light of everything we have learned in the past half decade is just horrible. I wish I hadn’t just spent a fortune there in the past couple of months …but believe me it will be the very last time unless something changes to remove this embarrassment. Yikes.

Comment by Carmen Colborne — June 8, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is an over-simplified argument (even though my copy is over 1,000 pages) where anyone who is rich and successful is that way because they are smart, industrious and hard working, while anyone who is caught in the middle (or mediocre) is that way because they are lazy and talentless. How weak. It’s that kind of over-simplification that gets people to vote against their own best interests in elections.

Comment by Matt — June 19, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

Ayn Rand’s philosophy of supreme selfishness is antithetical to everything that lululemon portrays itself as standing for. There’s a reason why John Galt is an icon for the tea party, Paul Ryan, and Ronald Regan. Go watch the Dali Lama give a speech, and everything he spends his time talking about is the polar opposite of Rand’s philosophy. It claims to be philosophy and it claims to be science. But it is neither. I have a master’s in philosophy from one of the best philosophy graduate schools in the country, and her “philosophy” is considered a joke, when it (very rarely) is mentioned at all: essentially a synonym for naive egotism dressed up as though it were profound philosophy. It also makes lots of scientific claims about human nature, all of which are demonstrably false. Try bringing her up in an psychology department in the country, and you’d get laughed out of the room. It’s not as though there aren’t legitimate icons for capitalism: try contrasting her with Adam Smith, who every philosopher recognizes as a major philosopher, and every economist recognizes as the most important economist in history, or very close to it. What she is an icon for is unrestrained and unmitigated capitalism: capitalism without environmental restrictions, without child labor laws, without any free health care at hospitals for emergency patients, without any guaranteed income (social security) or health care (medicare) for the elderly, without head start or schools meals programs or aid to families with dependent children (“welfare”) to provide food or educational assistance to poor children. Since Ayn Rand is not a yogi, buddhist, or the like; not a philosopher or a scientist; since what she is is the purveyor of a factually untrue, philosphically simplistic, and normatively disgusting ideology identified with Richard Nixon, Ronald Regan, and Paul Ryan — in an eight word nutshell, screw the poor, the elderly, and the sick — what the hell are you as a yoga company doing promoting her.

Comment by Jeffrey Claburn — June 25, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

By the way, as a matter of statistics, only 50% of people can be above average. So it’s mathematically impossible for most people to rise above being mediocre, whatever that is at any specific place and time. And by the way, if you wanted to site a source for the concept of strive for greatness, you might go back a little in time to Socrates, Aristotle, or one of the first recorded (but nonetheless greatest) political speeches in history, Pericles first funeral oration to the Athenians of the Peloponnesian War which, identifies the singular trait of Athenians and Athens as the continual pursuit of greatness and excellence. You might cite the (original or modern) Olympic games. You might try putting the Greek work for excellence, “arete,” on the side of bag. Or a quote from anyone, unlike Ayn Rand, who actually achieved greatness or excellence at something in their lifetime.

Comment by Jeffrey Claburn — June 26, 2012 @ 12:01 am

“We are able to control our careers, where we live, how much money we make and how we spend our days through the choices we make.”

Clearly, that’s why all us hardworking people are executives and professional athletes.

Seriously, I know that Baby’s First Philosopher really helps to nurture that adolescent sense of invincibility that you have when you’re fifteen, but if you’re still reading her at sixteen it might be a sign that you’re turning into a clinical sociopath.

I will not be stopping in for a bag, or anything else from your store in the future. Ayn Rand is the absolutely last thing I want to associate with my underwear.

Comment by Dan — July 12, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

it’s no coincidence that galt rhymes with cult.

Comment by John — July 17, 2012 @ 8:21 am

I urge people here to read the excellent article by Crawford Kilian entitled “Ayn Rand’s Weird Creed No Longer a Joke” at The Tyee website.

Comment by mijnheer — July 19, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

How does Any Rand devout selfishness fit with what Lululemon claim to cultivate via yoga? Well given they stopped manufacturing in Canada and now just use sweatshops, there is no reason why I should contribute to their dark vision of the world. The quality of the product has plummeted in recent years – why would they care to make decent product if Chip’s primary goal is to benefit himself? I’m done with this company.

Comment by fee childers — July 23, 2012 @ 11:58 am

Hah, I know this is old news now, but the fact you pin egocentric nefariousness and the demigod of douches the western world over in some half assed attempt at intellectualism mixed with your capitalistic, corporatist brand of yuppie yoga is just pathetic and hilarious. Who is John Galt? I think you should be asking “Who is Chip Wilson?” and how does his personal capitalism represent absolute malevolence and the antithesis of mental, physical, social, and environmental well being.

Comment by Ty — July 26, 2012 @ 11:22 am

I am curious about John Galt, now I know who he is.

Comment by Connie Isidora — July 30, 2012 @ 12:17 am

A must-read for future Ayn Rand afficionados:

Comment by Fred — August 13, 2012 @ 10:02 am

Rand drew social security and medicare in her later years. In other words she was a total and utter fraud and a hypocrite.

Comment by Mary Peabody — August 13, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

I got what you mean , appreciate it for putting up.Woh I am glad to find this website through google.

Comment by kindiukof — September 12, 2012 @ 4:33 am

With Paul Ryan’s worship of Ayn Rand, all the folks who work at Lululemon in the US must be so PROUD. And you are associated with the “yogavotes” campaign? What a joke. Are all your ambassadors voting for Romney/Ryan. I highly doubt your silly ambassadors even know about this controversy. If they do, they are fools to be ambassadors… unless they truly believe this Wilson/Rand greedy “rise above mediocrity” crap.

Comment by TLee — September 16, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

Really don’t be THAT neighbor.

Comment by Dan Prye — September 24, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

Found this blog on google today. I will stop shorting LuLu, if the CEO really was so influenced by Atlas Shrugged he put it on the shopping bag it can’t go wrong.
Only those who didn’t read the book are against it, they were just told by someone influential to them to be against it.
Post election, Welcome to the Strike.

Comment by Sean — November 8, 2012 @ 5:00 am

Ugh. This made me throw up in my mouth a bit.

Comment by Liam — December 16, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

Was Rand not on social security? I’m pretty sure that she’s one of the leeches she (and her acolytes) detest.

Comment by Liam — December 16, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

THANK YOU, lululemon! So many people today are afraid to be successful and proud of their earnings. I am not. I do not feel I am owed anything, nor do I owe anyone. Atlas Shrugged is so relevant today–it’s almost frightening. Rand was a visionary, and way ahead of her time. It is frightening how many people are sucked into the mainstream teachings that we need to work hard for everyone else to be taken care of. Let’s ALL work hard, be held accountable, and reap the benefits!!!

Comment by Lisa — December 18, 2012 @ 6:27 am

Truly wonderful site thank you so much for your time in publishing the posts for all of us to learn about.

Comment by cheapest place to buy gold — January 16, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

It’s amazing how many astroturfed internet comments you can pack into a single web page, even some that are IDENTICAL.

Bugger off, Lulu. Your sycophants have probably never set foot in a yoga studio in their lives.

Comment by *That* Guy — January 27, 2013 @ 2:53 am

Well, I can be irresponsible at times… but patronizing a business that supports selfishness is a step too far. Guess I’ll have to find a new supplier for my fancy yoga wear (my drug-of-choice).

Comment by Matilda — January 27, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

I think іt’s a great way to allow people to contribute to your blog in a legit way and be rewarded for it with SEO value and traffic. Win/Win!

Comment by Lynne — January 30, 2013 @ 9:31 pm

How can I get a hold of two of these bags with “Who is John Galt?”
Both my daughter and I are huge Ayn Rand fans, practice yoga and when we can afford it, shop at Lululemon. We did; however, miss this bag when it came out in November 2011 and now I am trying to track 2 of them down. Would Lululemon consider reissuing these bags sometime soon? I have already talked with Lululemon’s GEC and they are unable to help me. There are also no bags available on EBay.

Comment by Wendee D. Wood — January 31, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

Hey Wendee,
Thanks for reaching out and letting us know you would love to see us release these bags again. They were a special release for a certain season, so we most likely won’t see them reappear again. I’ll be sure to share thoughts though and perhaps we will see something similar featured in future.

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — February 1, 2013 @ 10:44 am

I too would love to see these bags reissued. The yoga practicing, business student in me just can’t get enough of this! Love Atlas Shrugged and the fact that a company in today’s society was willing to do this despite the fact that it may not be received well by all. Thanks Lululemon!

Comment by Camille — February 13, 2013 @ 7:17 pm

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as “refuse” and “parasites”, and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax.
The poor die like flies as a result of government programmes and their own sloth and fecklessness. Those who try to help them are gassed. In a notorious passage, she argues that all the passengers in a train filled with poisoned fumes deserved their fate. One, for instance, was a teacher who taught children to be team players; one was a mother married to a civil servant, who cared for her children; one was a housewife “who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing”.

Rand’s is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult. Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year.

Comment by Malaka — March 19, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

Respect for Atlas Shrugged is the sign of a mediocre mind.

Comment by Steve — March 19, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

Seriously, those who think that Rand justifies greed and elitism… you really need to read the book! The whole point is that when governments and the media try to control people and markets THEY are the elites. They are making decisions for others and not allowing free markets, value creation and free choice. We haven’t seen markets free of crippling government regulations in so long, that you must be a serious emotion-based thinker to not understand that the only way to help people, truly help them for the long run, is to have a free market society where there are incentives to work, and produce, and earn your way. I was never a lululemon customer, but I AM NOW! Those of you who are leaving need to do some left brain thinking for a change…

Comment by truethinker — April 8, 2013 @ 2:56 pm

Ayn Rand and George Orwell were in agreement. When the so called ruling class is replaced by the next ruling class of government and intellectual elite and behavioural and commercial regulators who decide to forcibly take over the farm, all that ensues is that the pigs wear the farmer’s clothes; declare all animals to be equal but some more equal than others and of course retire the workhorse via the glue factory. We are living Atlas Shrugged

Comment by ash casey — May 8, 2013 @ 5:15 am

excellent novel.

Comment by jiffy bags — June 13, 2013 @ 2:58 am

Atlas Shrugged is best read in the original Ferengi.

Comment by Rehsab Thgir — June 13, 2013 @ 5:50 am

I LOVED Atlas Shrugged! I saw a young lady with a bag today that read “Who is John Galt?”. Hadn’t heard of this promo before. Unfortunately, I don’t fit into lululemon’s tops so I quit going.

I really would LOVE one of those John Galt bags!

super great novel!

Comment by Marj — September 19, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

I’ve just read a few of those anti-Rand comments…. Her books are not for intellectual lighweights. Anyone who’s worked in a government agency would see evidence of mediocrity at work and promoted… and sound ideas by people of substance ridiculed (that’s really what unions are also all about). Everything at the lowest common denominator. I’d love to see these bags reissued and would proudly let the world see it. Maybe those anti-John Galt comments were from people who saw the movie – the condensed version. Movies never convey the ideas behind a book. Atlas Shrugged is a thinking person’s book.

Comment by Marj — September 19, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

This string of comments has been a very useful source for my field of interest: How do ideas percolate through a culture and influence people and policies? John Adams said “A teacher affects eternity. He can never know where his influence will stop.”

Shall each and every one of the seven billion people in the world be free to shop around among competing sellers of all goods and services? Or will the entrepreneur be arrested if he tries to create alternatives to government monopolies?

Shall the individual be encouraged to spend his life in creative, productive work and peaceful enjoyment of the fruits of his labor? Or will he be manipulated, through guilt, by political and religious leaders into sacrificing his life for the greater power and glory of those leaders?

In the past, America has been Galt’s Gulch, writ large. Millions of immigrants “went on strike” against oppression in their native lands and came here. But in this new century the principles of the Enlightenment and the American Revolution will have spread around the world. Simon Bolivar, the liberator of South America, wore around his neck a locket with a cutting of George Washington’s hair. Ho Chi Minh, when declaring Vietnam’s independence from France, quoted the American Declaration of Independence. Thoreau influenced Gandhi, who influenced Martin Luther King. Perhaps your grandchildren, even if they are born in the poorest village in the most corrupt nation in Africa or Asia, will not find it necessary to “go Galt”. Perhaps they will have been encouraged by Ayn Rand to ask, with Aristotle, “What is the nature of Man?” And perhaps they will then help to bring their own nations up to Western standards of liberty and democracy.

Comment by Frederick Cookinham — September 26, 2013 @ 6:20 am

Does anyone else find it curious that some pro-life Christian Conservatives are such devoted followers of Ayn Rand, a self described pro-choice atheist?

Comment by VS — October 30, 2013 @ 12:22 am

Ain Rand and yoga – what a pairing: ruthless objectivism vs. love and acceptance of eastern thought. Lululemon staff – it may make sense to continue manufacturing high quality athletic gear and stay away from philosophy, art, literature, social issues… Just face it, none of those are areas of your core competency.

Comment by Katarina Thomas — December 26, 2013 @ 10:46 am

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