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Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,607 Ratings  ·  250 Reviews
Librarian's Note: this is an alternate cover edition - ISBN 10: 0553299611
Mass Market Paperback, 468 pages
Published 1991
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 12, 2009 Greg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
It took me a long time to read this book, and I'm not sure how much these disparate readings affected my overall impression of the book. Pirsig doesn't have a narrative structure, he wanders. And these wanderings tend to circle back around and all tie in to a greater point or idea he's trying to get to the root of. Leaving the book for days or weeks at a time makes it hard to follow that strand and keep a sense of how the ideas you're reading about tie into the overall purpose of the book.

Zen i
Sep 18, 2009 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1) The story is compelling. Post post midlife crisis man meets younger voluptuous woman. They travel down the river together. The convention is quite cheap. But he never saves her or she him and neither victimizes the other either. That's good. It's not really sensual (except for one scene). And the (self) portrait of the narrator is absolutely unsparing as is his portrait of the girl. She's not a waif or a femme fatale, but a complicated damaged person and him too. 2) The philosophy is narrativ ...more
Nick H
Jan 06, 2012 Nick H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won't waste time in digging into the intellect that Pirsig puts into a fully formed idea within this book. It speaks for itself once you read it. That being said, if you are interested in a very brilliant look at philosophy/metaphysics/quality/values/morals, it doesn't get much more digestible and enjoyable than this. I loved this book, probably more so than Zen...perhaps because there are so many musings on so many subjects within these 400 or so pages, it becomes addictive to take in the ang ...more
Dec 19, 2011 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Pirsig's previous book ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE is a profoundly influential book in my own life. I have probably given copies of it as gifts to more people than any other book except my own. It is a powerful examination of the meaning of life in a pseudo-novelistic framework that makes the philosophical explorations both more palatable and more understandable. Pirsig's sequel, LILA, is an attempt to follow up and expand on the discoveries of the first book. While it is no ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s been 21 years since I read this book, and much longer since I read its predecessor, ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE (1974), Persig’s only two books. I kept seeing LILA on my bookshelf and decided it might be worth rereading, both for its sake and to put ZEN in perspective. It was, on both counts. I think LILA is every bit as interesting as ZEN and may be clearer in expressing its central concerns about what makes life good or worthwhile.

LILA has some obvious similarities with ZEN
Jeff Offutt
Jul 27, 2011 Jeff Offutt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is quality? Is it a noun or a verb? Why is quality so important?

These are deep questions that affect everyone. Pirsig follows up his Zen book with a smoother, more sophisticated, and clearer book that may not be as mystifying and haunting, but is certainly more mature. This book made me rethink myself, my relationships with everyone I know, my professional behavior, and much about my research. By my limited understanding of Lila, I am a more effective father, friend, son, brother, teacher,
Dec 25, 2007 Dax rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: philosophy
This was a fantastic read. There were two "mind-blowing" branches in this book. The first centers around evolution and morality among the three basic forces: biology, society, and intellectualism. The second talks about morality and ties into quality in terms of metaphysics and having "quality" be a scientific metric to judge things. This was a great book - more accessible than its predecessor (to me) and caused me to think quite a bit.
Eugene Pustoshkin
I bought this book in Amsterdam, accidentally, for 0.5. It was lying on an old-book shelf that stood right in the street. I was walking past the book shelf after a meditation session and saw the word “lila” on the cover. I was in the right mood, so purchased this book as a part of inspiration. I haven’t read Pirsig’s first book, but had heard good opinions of it before.

It was quite interesting to read Lila for most part of the book. It is more a philosophical reflection rather than a novel per
In societies that criminalize rather than attempt to understand mental illness, artists and philosophers may be the first to have the guts to discuss the topic 'publicly' or sympathetically. Such societies may first approach understanding mental illness through art rather than through education, medicine or philanthropy, let alone helpful 'treatment'.

For women w/mental illness, societal support toward a true understanding of mental health may be even slower coming than for men, if a male perspe
Ken Doggett
May 16, 2014 Ken Doggett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lila : An Inquiry into Morals I'm not smart enough to review this book. Robert Pirsig is a certified genius; his I.Q. at age 9 was 170. I read his first book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," back in the 1970s when it was released, and found that, much to my surprise, I enjoyed the philosophy presented in it as much as I enjoyed the story. I'd like to read it again. His second book, "Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals," is a much more difficult read.I didn't know about this book until arou ...more
Hshafter Shafter
Dec 07, 2011 Hshafter Shafter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some really interesting ideas in this book. Here are my favorites (in my own words-mostly):

-Darwin's Theory of Evolution fails to account for improvement; the author posits that it's not about survival, it's about striving towards Quality

-There are 2 kinds of Quality: Static and Dynamic. Dynamic Quality allows for change that creates improvement. Static Quality prevents backsliding. Too much Static Quality leads to stagnation. Too much Dynamic Quality leads to chaos.

-Cells are only int
The basic question is "Does Lila (the book) have quality?"

Overall, the narrative of Phaedrus and Lila is far less engaging than the one between Phaedrus and his son in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM). I did enjoy some of the passages on sailing and the scene where Phaedrus is confronted by a critic of ZAMM but the book lacked a cohesive framework. The scene with Robert Redford was disappointing and the final conclusion in Manhattan is anti-climatic and bland.

I found that Pirsig'
Nick Baker
Pirsig used this book as a vehicle to carry his own personal philosophy. This vehicle is in serious need of repair. This vehicle is a rusted 1982 Honda Civic that needs new brake pads..The narrative in which the philosophy is suppose to be realized is hardly a narrative. The minute the narrative starts to gain depth or breadth or meaning, the narrator divulges twenty pages of metaphysics (although very interesting metaphysics), meanwhile the reader is left hanging. The author clumsily navigates ...more
For a book in which the author/narrator refers to himself only as "Phaedrus," this is a surprisingly enjoyable read -- at least for the first half.

Pirsig's sequel to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values covers many of the same core topics as his other work, including writing, wandering, "value," and his "metaphysics of Quality." Lila further explores these concepts, providing additional clarity and addressing some apparent criticism Pirsig received in the years since
Aug 02, 2015 Ant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the way it is. Pirsig isn't the first to discuss this, nor is he alone in his understanding of the world/experience. Pirsig puts it down as a personal, real, actual exploration towards what is commonly and rather ambiguously referred to as 'The Truth'. He takes a very real experience of his as he is in reality, Pirsig, and sees Phaedrus 'think through many every day experiences to slowly arrive at divisions of Quality, ' finally cracking that nut which he left untouchable but no less rea
Unnikrishnan Rajan
After a brilliant 'Zen and art of motorcycle maintenance', this sequel was just a good one. This time the setting is a boat journey with a mysterious girl in it. Apparently Chris has died and Phradous is all alone now.
The brilliant insight into the nature of Quality that he explained in 'Zen...' is explored further in this book. He further divides the quality concepts into static/dynamic and explores these further to form a comprehensive hierarchy. The ideas and the hierarchy is solid enough an
Mar 26, 2013 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this book as I have also read Pirsig's first book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" multiple times. Pirsig writes on multiple levels. He writes of his own personal odyssey into himself and his attempt to come to grips with his mind's unique way of viewing the world which has put him in the position of being viewed as not quite sane. He attempts to help someone else (Lila) come to grips with her condition as part of this novel.

At the same time, he delves into the philos
Keely Hyslop
Nov 24, 2007 Keely Hyslop rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone questioning morality, convention, or society
Shelves: philosophy
This book started out quite promisingly. It had some really amazing, mind-blowing parts. But near the middle of the book there is a light drizzle and then a torrent of classism and a touch of veiled racism. The ending is also rather disappointing. The book hovers between epiphany and wrongheadedness. It was to be fair, a very ambitious topic, constructing an entirely new metaphysics based on the value as an intuitive undefinable concept. The sort of project where it is easy to lose your way.

Harish Venkatesan
You have to muddle through the first few chapters as Pirsig sets up his assumptions and recounts his key findings from Zen and the Art.., but what follows is a compelling read about a highly evolved metaphysical system- one that bridges the gap between Eastern mysticism and Western empiricism (or romanticism and classicism), and solves numerous problems inherent in the subject-object metaphysic while sketching out an important framework for a new moral code.
In addition, the book contains a lot
David Guy
This book was a disappointment for me. Pirsig somehow is interested in the world of ideas in a way that I am not, and spent most of Lila further developing the stystematic philosophy that he had begun in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I was actually interested in Lila herself, the woman who forms a kind of backdrop for all these ideas, but she never really came into focus, and I didn't think the author ever took her that seriously. I'm interested in people, not ideas, but Pirsig seem ...more
Susan Emmet
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of my favorite books. I've read and reread over the last thirty years.
Lila...I've had it for a few years and just dipped into the journey down the Hudson for the wilds of the ocean.
While it took Pirsig nearly twenty years to craft Lila, ZAMM remains foremost in my mind because its narrative structure blended more cleanly with its philosophical underpinnings. Lila extends his vision, but in a less provocative way for me as a reader.
The desire to s
Austin Starnes

This is a daunting read, first off... My first recommendation to someone reading is to not divide your attention! If you pick up another novel in juxtaposition to Pirsig's "Inquiry" you will have hell picking it up again! Dedicate to this book and though you will be "forced" to put it down tens of times when it is all that you have, it will again become inviting. (when it's all that you have)

Regardless, with the best intention I leave this book a rating of both a 1 and 5. The 5 is for Pirsig's e

Linda Blinova
Потрясающая книга. Если раньше перечитывался "Дзэн", то теперь следует перечитывать, пожалуй, парой, что логично, ибо "Лайла" - это продолжение путешествия, начатого в первом романе. Я сейчас главным образом о путешествии внутреннем, о поиске способа объяснения мира и человека. Можно долго и уютно жить с мыслью о том, что "если надо объяснять, то не надо объяснять", но рано или поздно приходишь к пониманию её ущербности. Да, надо. Себе в первую очередь. С авторскими выводами можно соглашаться ил ...more
Kylie Poppen
as an ardent fan of robert pirsig, there's so much that i wanted from this book. to be fair, there are passages and thoughts that give a glimpse into the insights that make you love zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance—that make you crave more of the complex network of philosophical thoughts brewing in pirsig's mind. but the passages are interspersed between somewhat dull and difficult storytelling. instead of a motorcycle, there's a boat. instead of a son, there's a psychologically-trouble ...more
Aug 12, 2007 Raja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
I haven't read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but from what I understand, Pirsig spends the entire book arriving at the notion of Quality. In Lila, he expands this into a metaphysical framework, which has since come to be called the Metaphysics of Quality ([]). It's more of a philosophical treatise than a novel, and the MoQ is an interesting and appealing framework.

I may actually not get around to reading ZMM, but Lila stands well on its own.
Connie Kronlokken
This is my second read of "Lila" and it was helpful to be reminded of things I had missed the first time. Pirsig's idea that American Indians are the originators of what Americans really value seems correct to me. They never had the Cartesian split that Europeans did, which helped create our science, our logic, but which put men at the center of the universe and made us arrogant and wasteful. We are trying to get over that Cartesian wall right now.

Pirsig lays out a metaphysics of quality in whic
Jun 04, 2015 Phyllis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Sorry, couldn't resist. I actually spent a lot of time fighting the book. So instead of reading and "listening" to what Pirsig had to say, my mind was wandering off thinking of rebuttals to the things he had to say. That makes it really hard to concentrate. I may have -- I undoubtedly have -- missed a great deal

He does have interesting things to say. He's found a simplistic plot to present it in. I would say that this book is slightly, maybe half a step, more accessible than Zen and the Art
Vasil Kolev
Aug 17, 2012 Vasil Kolev rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Книгата страда от стандартният проблем на философите, че си измислят свят, който е далеч от реалността и после се оправдават, че реалност няма и тяхното е все толкова валидно, колкото и всичко останало. Книгата е слаба, а в сравнение с "Дзен и изкуството да поддържаш мотоциклет" е жалка.
Feb 29, 2008 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The philsophical inconsistencies between this and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, made me want to write an argumentative letter to the author .. . which I take as evidence that he had something of import to say.
Barb Williams
Jun 06, 2007 Barb Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophers/Psychologist
Like Zen and the Art of MM, he investigates/explores the giant philosophic questions - life's questions - within a perfectly written tale of human curiosity, isolation and connection and mostly, insanity - all the stuff I LOVE!
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Has somebody else of you have read this great book ? 11 90 May 25, 2013 07:17AM  
  • Leaving the Land
  • The Manikin
  • Rabbis and Wives
  • The Collected Stories
  • Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • Bear and His Daughter
  • Persian Nights
  • The Feud
  • Whites
  • Unlocking the Air and Other Stories
  • Shakespeare's Kitchen
  • All Souls
  • At Weddings and Wakes
  • Paradise
  • Mr. Ives' Christmas
  • American Woman
  • Mean Spirit
  • Servants of the Map
Robert Maynard Pirsig is an American writer and philosopher, mainly known as the author of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, (1974), which has sold millions of copies around the world.

More about Robert M. Pirsig...

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“The idea that “all men are created equal” is a gift to the world from the American Indian.” 2 likes
“From that original perception of the Indians as the originators of the American style of speech had come an expansion: The Indians were the originators of the American style of life. The American personality is a mixture of European and Indian values. When you see this you begin to see a lot of things that have never been explained before.” 1 likes
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