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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by…
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (original 1974; edition 1982)

by Robert M Pirsig (Author)

Series: Phaedrus (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,180234229 (3.81)233
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, this book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.--From publisher description.… (more)
Member:rayrile
Title:Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Authors:Robert M Pirsig (Author)
Info:Bantam New Age Book (1982), Edition: 28th, 373 pages
Collections:Switzerland, Your library
Rating:
Tags:Shelf 1, Top 2

Work details

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig (Author) (1974)

  1. 50
    Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford (prehensel)
  2. 00
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: A man and his son travel very different paths toward self-discovery, confronting ultimate truth and the source of all meaning along the way
  3. 00
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (jeff.s.thomson)
  4. 00
    My Mercedes is Not for Sale: From Amsterdam to Ouagadougou...An Auto-Misadventure Across the Sahara by Jeroen van Bergeijk (gonzobrarian)
    gonzobrarian: an inquiry into travel, adventure, and meaning
  5. 01
    Stranger in a Strange Land (Uncut Edition) by Robert A. Heinlein (emf1123)
    emf1123: If you're in your late teens, reading both of these books back to back (stranger in a strange land, zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) is a good quality mindfuck. I doubt that either have the same influence as one ages, though.
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» See also 233 mentions

English (210)  Italian (7)  Dutch (6)  French (4)  Finnish (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (234)
Showing 1-5 of 210 (next | show all)
Where: Rishikesh, Moscow ( )
  KostaFinn | Oct 23, 2020 |
I read this book a long time ago but I remember it being super heady from start to finish, probably the first genuine philosophy I ever read. Thanks Mr. Call. ( )
  ncharlt1 | Sep 28, 2020 |
A Piece of Junk!
Absolute total garbage.
( )
  Steve_Walker | Sep 13, 2020 |
This exploration of metaphysical values is astute, pellucid and intriguingly interwoven with a semi-fictional construct that takes a catastrophic turn with the afterword information that the author's son / protagonist was murdered five years after the book appeared. Philosophically, the book is a calm, plain-spoken assault on Western concepts of rationality and subject-object dialectic. (Of course, to make the process complete, we should also have a non-rational but equally effective assault on non-Western synthesizing and holistic metaphysics.) I listened to this as an audiobook, which I think was an effective way to assimilate what otherwise might be tedious philosophic discourses. ( )
  oatleyr | Aug 22, 2020 |
I have been wanting to read this book for many years and just never got around to it. I remember being told it's a must read back when I was in University by a bunch of colleagues who raved about it. I enjoyed the book for the most part. I admit that much of the philosophy discussion about "Quality" was lost on me. I did however feel very connected to the constant discussion between Classical & Romantic Types of People and how the author's friends where anti-technology. I would recommend this novel to people who like to debate and argue philosophical ideas. ( )
  briandarvell | Aug 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 210 (next | show all)
One is tempted to call the book a psychomelodrama, for Pirsig's intentions are as extravagant as his themes. The attempt to triumph over madness, suicide, death in the self, of his son, for our world, by means of the patient exploration of ideas and emotions is certainly an extravagant ambition. That he succeeds in finding a plausible catharsis through such an enterprise seems to me sufficient reward for the author's perseverance, and ample testimony to his honesty and courage.
added by Shortride | editThe New York Times Book Review, Edward Abbey (pay site) (Mar 30, 1975)
 
Whatever it's true philosophical worth, it is intellectual entertainment of the highest order.
 

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pirsig, Robert M.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Epigraph
And what is good, Phaedrus,

And what is not good -

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?
Dedication
for my family
Aan mijn familie
First words
I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning.
Quotations
You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.
Live in the future, then build what's missing.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, this book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.--From publisher description.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions. This 25th Anniversary Quill Edition features a new introduction by the author; important typographical changes; and a Reader's Guide that includes discussion topics, an interview with the author, and letters and documents detailing how this extraordinary book came to be. A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.

In his now classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig brings us a literary chautauqua, a novel that is meant to both entertain and edify. It scores high on both counts. Phaedrus, our narrator, takes a present-tense cross-country motorcycle trip with his son during which the maintenance of the motorcycle becomes an illustration of how we can unify the cold, rational realm of technology with the warm, imaginative realm of artistry. As in Zen, the trick is to become one with the activity, to engage in it fully, to see and appreciate all details--be it hiking in the woods, penning an essay, or tightening the chain on a motorcycle. In his autobiographical first novel, Pirsig wrestles both with the ghost of his past and with the most important philosophical questions of the 20th century--why has technology alienated us from our world? what are the limits of rational analysis? if we can't define the good, how can we live it? Unfortunately, while exploring the defects of our philosophical heritage from Socrates and the Sophists to Hume and Kant, Pirsig inexplicably stops at the middle of the 19th century. With the exception of Poincaré, he ignores the more recent philosophers who have tackled his most urgent questions, thinkers such as Peirce, Nietzsche (to whom Phaedrus bears a passing resemblance), Heidegger, Whitehead, Dewey, Sartre, Wittgenstein, and Kuhn. In the end, the narrator's claims to originality turn out to be overstated, his reasoning questionable, and his understanding of the history of Western thought sketchy. His solution to a synthesis of the rational and creative by elevating Quality to a metaphysical level simply repeats the mistakes of the premodern philosophers. But in contrast to most other philosophers, Pirsig writes a compelling story. And he is a true innovator in his attempt to popularize a reconciliation of Eastern mindfulness and nonrationalism with Western subject/object dualism. The magic of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance turns out to lie not in the answers it gives, but in the questions it raises and the way it raises them. Like a cross between The Razor's Edge and Sophie's World, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance takes us into "the high country of the mind" and opens our eyes to vistas of possibility. --Brian Bruya
Haiku summary
Biker -- deep thinker:

finally finds acceptance

for his peace of mind.

(legallypuzzled)

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