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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  160,848 Ratings  ·  6,867 Reviews
The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called 'yourself.' One of the most important and influential books of 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 meditation on how to live better. The narrative of a father on a summer motorcycle trip across America's ...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1974)
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Jeanne Mixon Everything about the book made me think he was the on the autism spectrum. He sounded to me like he had Aspergers. He is definitely obsessive…moreEverything about the book made me think he was the on the autism spectrum. He sounded to me like he had Aspergers. He is definitely obsessive compulsive (machining his own motorcycle parts? Really?) More than a little paranoid (everybody looks at him funny. Motorcycle repairmen are not to be trusted. College administrators are out to get him. It seemed like everybody was out to get him). I see this as the "unusual behavior." People on the spectrum behave oddly but don't realize it.(less)
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Christy
Feb 23, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe it's unfair to give a poor rating to a book I read in high school. However, I like to think that I was wise beyond my years and knew a phony, self-congratulatory, pretentious buffoon when I saw one. On the other hand, I did wear baggy overalls with Birkenstocks every day back then and wondered why I didn’t have a boyfriend, so clearly I didn’t know everything.

But as I read through the reviews here, I am confronted by a rush of unpleasant memories about this particular reading experience. T
...more
Clinton
Jun 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like Robert M. Pirsig has wronged me personally.
Petra X
When I was quite young my brain said to me, after a particularly long and stoned session listening to Pink Floyd and discussing philosophy, 'oh give me a break'. So I said to my brain, 'there's no need to be so rude,' and my brain said, 'no seriously, I can't handle this anymore, really, let me take a break'. So it did and I've been operating on brain-stem alone ever since. I don't know it's made that much difference.

I wonder if the author's brain was thinking like mine was?

Certainly when I was
...more
Katherine
May 23, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
After years of people saying, "Oh, you're a philosophy major? Have you heard of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? You should read it!" I finally broke down and bought a copy. I am usually wary of books that seem to hold promises of sweetness and light and spiritual awakening, in this age of The Purpose-Driven Life and Silver Ravenwolf.

My thoughts on the book, even months after reading it, are still mixed. Artistically, I do think it's a polished and respectable piece of literature. It's
...more
Richard
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those tolerant of shallow philosophy (e.g. Matrix fans)
There are three threads weaving through this book (none of which, as is pointed out, has much to do with either eastern philosophy or with motorcycle maintenance.)

The first is a straightforward narration by a man riding across the country with his young son and two friends (a married couple). This evocative travelogue is by far the most enjoyable aspect of the novel.

The second element is a sort of mystery as that man struggles with his memory; it's gradually revealed that he's on the road both t
...more
Riku Sayuj
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plato's Phaedrus said, "And what is written well and what is written badly...need we ask Lysias or any other poet or orator who ever wrote or will write either a political or other work, in meter or out of meter, poet or prose writer, to teach us this?"

Modern Phaedrus said, “And what is good, Phaedrus,
And what is not good—
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”

I keep re-reading passages from Zen and the Art and Tao of Pooh and Siddhartha and try to make sense in the context of everyday l
...more
Mason Wiebe
Feb 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I must start by saying that this is one of my favorite books ever. Although it is deep and complicated and takes a lot of focus to read, I feel that there are a lot of great messages here in the author’s search for Quality. This was my second time reading this book, and I liked it more this time.
Interlaced with stories from an across-the-west motorcycle trip with his son and some friends, Pirsig tells the story of his past in an almost former life before being admitted to a mental institution a
...more
Charlotte
Sep 13, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who likes to torture himself.
OK, maybe I'm being a little too harsh. I actually enjoyed the idea of the cross-country motorcycle ride, the details about motorcycle mechanics, and especially the portrayal of the narrator's relationship with his son. The son was the best part of the whole book. Unfortunately, there wasn't much space for sonny, because dad was too busy advertising the author's brilliant philisophical insights. Even more unfortunately, the insights weren't brilliant, and consumed hundreds of tedious pages. It o ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: "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."

I have read Zen probably four or five times. The clinical precision of the author is apparent in all the detail here ("left grip", "eight-thirty"). The self-reference of the author looking at his own watch will become a leitmotif as the entire book is about the author looking deep into his own soul (so deep in fact th
...more
William1
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Pirsig might be something of an American Montaigne, producing readable philosophy with a minimum of abtractions. That’s a gift. After undergoing electro-convulsive therapy 28 times, Pirsig, in this book, gives his formerly insane self a doppelgänger-like alter-ego, Phaedrus, and bravely tries to piece together that formerly insane self’s thought in order to learn from it. This alone is fascinating. At the same time Pirsig is reviewing aspects of eastern and western philosophical thoug ...more
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  • The Book of Deeds of Arms and of Chivalry
  • Zen in the Art of Archery
  • The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
  • The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism
  • Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why
  • The Young Man's Guide
  • Seek: Reports from the Edges of America and Beyond
  • American Boys Handy Book
  • The Train
  • The Three Pillars of Zen
  • Basic Writings of Nietzsche
  • Zen and the Brain
  • Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
  • The Gnostic Gospels
  • Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • The Nicomachean Ethics
  • Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics (Perennial Classics)
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Robert Maynard Pirsig was 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...
“The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” 752 likes
“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.” 739 likes
More quotes…