A while ago we talked about how Steve Jobs wanted to introduce compulsory meditation classes for employees. Now, the ingenious marketing people at Lululemon (yes, that’s the yoga clothes producer) found another way of driving the business forward: Employees are encouraged to read Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, the “second most influential book for Americans today” after the Bible, according to a joint survey conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club. In fact, Lululemon’s company vision, to “elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness” is something its founder Chip Wilson came across in precisely this book when he first read it at the age of eighteen, feeling particularly inspired by its main character John Galt.
We learn here, that “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.”
Pretty heavy stuff, isn’t it? But Lululemon doesn’t stop here. The company now prints “Who is John Galt?” on all its canvas bags, carried across the US by devoted fans. “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.”
However you might look at it, this marketing campaign (or company vision, if you want) is everything but mediocre. Would John Galt have invested in a Lululemon outfit? I wonder.
Enjoy the practice, whatever you’re wearing! ;-)