Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Robert M. Pirsig
One of the most important and influential books written in the past half-century, Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live . . . and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Here is the book that transformed a generation: an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America's Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear -- of growth, discovery, and acceptance -- that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life's fundamental questions, this uniquely exhilarating modern classic is both touching and transcendent, resonant with the myriad confusions of existence . . . and the small, essential triumphs that propel us forward.


Reviewed: 2019-11-21
Though a bit, um, schizophrenic, the three main narratives of this book are all compelling, at least if you can identify with the need to ramble, a murky past of mental illness, and a general overview of philosophy. At the same time the dear diary format gets tiresome and ranty fairly often, so I for one had to plow through at times, but in the end it was rewarding.
Reviewed: 2017-05-24
I finally picked this book up after hearing about it off and on over several years, and am really glad that I did.

I think that a lack of identity with one's work is a real problem for a lot of people. And the subject of Quality/The Good/Arete or whatever you want to call it is something that Pirsig has a lot to say about if you're willing to be patient. In part he argues that our idea of ourselves as separate entities from the objects that we interact with is an illusion and that, whatever it is that we work with whether it's a motorcycle, a computer, or a grill is actually a reflection of our own state of mind. This has all sorts of consequences if you buy it, which is something he goes into in detail about.

The "it's all about your attitude" platitude is something that's repeated all over the place, sometimes ad nauseum but I feel like Pirsig takes it and gives it real meaning.

I would agree with several of the reviews that complain about how the main story line doesn't really contribute to the philosophical point (which is why I almost gave 3 stars). I found myself frustrated with the tangents but liked the underlying message enough that it more than made up for it.
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