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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:…
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (original 1974; edition 2006)

by Robert M Pirsig (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
18,975287257 (3.8)254
At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a lengthy motorcycle trip through America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal. This is an elemental work that has helped to shape and define the past twenty-five years of American culture. This special audio edition presents this adventure in a compelling way-for the millions who have already taken this journey and want to travel these roads again, and for the many more who will discover for the first time the wonders and challenges of a journey that will change the way they think and feel about their lives.… (more)
Member:mojojokie
Title:Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
Authors:Robert M Pirsig (Author)
Info:Mariner Books (2006), Edition: First Edition, 540 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:to-read, e-books, unorganized

Work Information

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
    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
  3. 00
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (jeff.s.thomson)
  4. 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
  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 254 mentions

English (262)  Italian (7)  Dutch (6)  French (4)  Finnish (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (287)
Showing 1-5 of 262 (next | show all)
The title doesn't do it any justice. I highly recommend it, it's not an easy read, but it's a smooth one, a pleasant journey filled with plenty of philosophical revelations. ( )
  gabrielrondelli | Jun 2, 2024 |
This book is not only a journey and an exploration of values but it as well is a father-son story. My father gave me this book and in our relationship I find parallels in the narrators struggle to connect with his son, and in the end how much his son "carries him". It took me two and a half years to finish but I am glad that I embarked on this philosophical / literary journey. ( )
  ggulick | May 29, 2024 |
This fictionalized autobiography begins as an enjoyable relaxing travel narrative that gently questions, among other things, disengagement from technology, unreflective lifestyles and ruminating on other peoples' inadequate motivations. It later attempts to lecture on western philosophy and gradually reveals the narrator/protagonist to have been measured to have a very high IQ, entered and dropped out of university very young, suffered a mental breakdown and subsequent hospital treatments. Overall, this is a lengthy account of home-spun, rather than academically rigorous, personal philosophy by a protagonist who seems quietly but overweeningly self-satisfied and eager to instruct and correct those around him. Not very convincing as a life guide, but big in the 70s. ( )
  sfj2 | May 26, 2024 |
I appreciated the first half of the book more than the second. I liked the autobiographical elements interspersed with philosophical asides there. The second half, however, is bogged down by aimless ranting about quality which I scanned more than anything else, I didn't find the philosophizing on the meaning of quality interesting at all. I'm not sure I would recommend this one to anybody because you can find better introductions to philosophy elsewhere. I'm also sure there are better road trip stories out there as well. Although I'm not mad I read it, so there's that. ( )
  Ranjr | May 6, 2024 |
An interesting peek inside the way philosophers and deep thinkers think, all told through the narrator's deep personal retelling. Although the premise of the motorcycle trip linked the deeper philosophic passages together, I thought it was a bit too wordy and unnecessary. Digging deeper, most fascinating to me was how the narrator's sense of genius was in direct conflict with both academia and his own mental health - two factors that caused the destruction of "Phaedrus."
The duality of both technical thinking and artistic thinking continues to exist in our world - and I do believe that they can harmonize. It brings to mind the way Steve Jobs synthesized these approaches in the computer world. ( )
  ericheik | Mar 29, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 262 (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 (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pirsig, Robert M.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bacon, PaulCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hermstein, RudolfÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
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Canonical LCC
At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a lengthy motorcycle trip through America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal. This is an elemental work that has helped to shape and define the past twenty-five years of American culture. This special audio edition presents this adventure in a compelling way-for the millions who have already taken this journey and want to travel these roads again, and for the many more who will discover for the first time the wonders and challenges of a journey that will change the way they think and feel about their lives.

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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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