Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant best-seller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions. This 25th Anniversary edition features a new introduction by the author; important typographical changes; and a Reader's Guide that ...
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant best-seller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions. This 25th Anniversary 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, 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.
An oldie book that I read many years ago and just reread . Sort of a classic, to me at least (has been through 25 printings). A book about one man's search for "Quality" and how it drove him crazy (he has a 170 IQ). Set in a motorcycle trip with his son across America, from Minnesota to the Pacific. Hard to believe, but when you finish, you'll be glad you read it.
Apr 3, 2009
The Zen of criticism
In this book, Pirsig challenges American universities and the origins of western thought (Plato & Aristotle); arguably he tears the mansion of western thought down to its foundation. As he searches for "quality" his journey takes him to insanity and beyond. Similar to Thoreau's Walden, this book is dense and a slow read; the subject matter is not light. This book is a key point in both American Literature and American Thought. Oh, did I mention that his philosophical journey is paralleled by a motorcycle trip the narrator is taking with his young son?
A great book, Pirsig is a decent writer and a transcendent thinker.
Nov 13, 2008
One of My Top 5
I first read this book as a recent college graduate when it came out in the 70's. I understood less of it then than I think I understand now. It is compelling for the author's internal dialogue and honesty. Pirsig traces his life's journey, including the management of mental illness, his troubled children, his rocky marriage, and his struggle with his life work, by analogy to the joys and mishaps of riding across the American Northwest on his motorcyle. He rarely, if ever, mentions Zen, which is the best way for the reader to experience it, but Zen is the energizing power behind his story telling and the philosophical framework of the quest. I have re-read it now at least a half dozen times. As I have grown older it has clarified more and more of my own quests and joys in work, family, spiritual questions and answers. It has been central in framing my view of reality. The first edition copy I found on Alibris is nearly perfect and is a treasure in my library. I recommend this work as a classic, and as a friend to return to every few years. It is worth the intellectual stretch it may take to grasp the author's philosophical dialogue. I would love to be able to encounter it for the first time again.
Oct 25, 2007
Well worth my time
A book to read a few pages, then ponder, read a few then ponder. Not one to be rushed through. Lots of insights.
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