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Read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance An Inquiry Into Values" by Robert M Pirsig available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first. zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m. pirsig Page 1 of back to Roads free of drive-ins and billboards are better, roads where groves and. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance $ Spend $49 and get FREE shipping on To read e-books on the BookShout App, download it on.

Also available as: Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in , 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.

Those tolerant of shallow philosophy e. 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 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 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 to escape his past and to attempt to remember it. The last thread is where the book just falls apart. Through the narrator's dialogue with himself, Pirsig puts forward his ludicrous "philosophy of quality," which essentially holds that "quality," whatever that might be, is somehow the fundamental reality of the universe.

If that sounds like nonsense then you understand it perfectly. When we find out why the narrator had lost his memory in the first place, the answers don't live up to any expectations we might have been unfortunate enough to have developed. View all 36 comments. Aug 31, Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing Shelves: Plato's Phaedrus said, "And what is written well and what is written badly I will try to give an expanded review soon as a blog post at my blog And Then?

View all 10 comments. Feb 03, Mason Wiebe rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I must start by saying that this is one of my favorite books ever. 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 I must start by saying that this is one of my favorite books ever.

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 after going crazy in his pursuit of Quality. He often uses the motorcycle as an analogy, as well as climbing mountains. Then you fasten on to whatever thing is uncomfortable and call that the cause. So as to not draw attention to myself.

We are in a Western town. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government , but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government.

And so little understanding. If all hypotheses cannot be tested, then the results of any experiment are inconclusive and the entire scientific method falls short of its goal of establishing proven knowledge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.

Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships. Some travel into the mountains accompanied by experienced guides who know the best and least dangerous routes by which they arrive at their destination.

Still others, inexperienced and untrusting, attempt to make their own routes. Few of these are successful, but occasionally some, by sheer will and luck and grace, do make it.

There are as many routes as there are individual souls.

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

For that missing seed crystal of thought that would suddenly solidify everything. In order to sustain the victory you have to prove yourself again and again in some other way, and again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and someone will find out.

A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares.

And not only the job and him, but others, too, because the Quality tends to fan out like waves. My personal feeling is that this is how any further improvement of the world will be done: These can be left alone for a while.

We do need a return to individual integrity, self-reliance and old-fashioned gumption. We really do. View all 8 comments. 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 OK, maybe I'm being a little too harsh. It occured to me to wonder whether the author was trying to make the point that the narrator was a pompous idiot; however, the intent seemed to be for the reader to be blown away by the brilliance of the narrator's philosophical insights, and hence by the brilliance of the author who conceived of the narrator and the philosophical insights.

I can't believe I made it through pages of this. View all 7 comments. Patrick "Harsh" is not the word. You are hurting nobody's feelings. But a 1 star rating implies you missed the central points. Jul 25, Jon No, a one star is what this book deserves. Pompous and really boring, there are no "brilliant insights". What central points? Apr 02, Jul 18, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: 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 Robert M. 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 that the real author became temporarily insane between finishing Zen and starting the sequel Lila.

The author is definitely a morning kind of a guy, already rolling down the highway early in the morning. The fact that he looks without taking his hand of the grip, gives us a very cinematic presentation of this otherwise banal scene.

Also, the mundane nature of riding a motorcycle and looking at a watch and finding the even important enough to write about centers us on the cycle itself and foreshadows the many allusions and allegories that will come between philosophy and cycling. I deeply mourn the passage of Pirsig as a misunderstood and under-estimated thinker and writer.

View all 9 comments. Pirsig might be something of an American Montaigne , producing readable philosophy with a minimum of abtractions.

This alone is fascinating. At the same time Pirsig is reviewing aspects of eastern and western philosophical thoug Brilliant! At the same time Pirsig is reviewing aspects of eastern and western philosophical thought.

For me, however, the book's essential. I need books that make philosophy comprehensible. All too often I find the great geniuses incoherent amid their heaped abstractions. Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails , in which the author lays bare the foundations of phenomenology and existentialism. Philosopher Psychologist Antichrist. In that respect alone, the book represents an astonishing act of bravery in the face of unimaginable suffering. Quality is explained as part of a trinity not equivalent to mind and matter, but anterior to it.

Quality is the proto-reality that exists before our minds can hitch analogues to sensed perceptions. Probably because these were the arguments that led Phaedrus to 28 electro-convulsive therapies and a long hospitalization.

But then slowly, under the patient questioning of the recovered post-treatment Pirsig, the argument begins to coalesce. The difference between a good mechanic and a bad mechanic, like the difference between a good mathematician and a bad one, is precisely this ability to select the good facts from the bad ones on the basis of quality.

He has to care! This is an ability about which formal traditional scientific method has nothing to say. It expands it, strengthens it and brings it far closer to actual scientific practice. But how Pirsig can make sitting through doctoral seminars so riveting is something to be pondered. It helps, I suppose, if one's teachers are complete assholes, as they are here.

The haymaker Phaedrus delivers to the glass jaw of the Great Books curriculum at the University of Chicago is enormous fun to read about. Phaedrus attends a course on rhetoric there that is—by Pirsig's later definition—insane. Pirsig claims that everything not on the metaphorical train of Quality is by definition insanity.

I look forward to reading this one again. A Great Book in itself perhaps. Recommended with alacrity. Sep 04, Natasha rated it it was amazing Recommended to Natasha by: I just re-read this book and HAD to annotate it because it sent my head swimming.

I'd studied quite a lot of philosophy since I read it a year and a half ago and so the philosophies didn't go over my head this time. First, I must say if you find the narrator off-putting, rest assured that the protagonist is NOT the narrator. The narrator is the nemesis who has eclipsed the protagonist; the story reveals their struggle. The introduction of my edition hints at this, but apparently some people haven I just re-read this book and HAD to annotate it because it sent my head swimming.

The introduction of my edition hints at this, but apparently some people haven't gotten that as I've read comments of several people complaining about the narrator.

He piques our interest by waxing philosophical in an effort to get to the root of the ghost story haunting him. He succeeds in creating the quintessential philosophy book of the 20th Century.

It turns out that the motorcycle is a symbol of the soul. Romantically—riding a cycle down a mountain road, invigorated by the wind rushing past 2. Classically—familiarizing yourself with the working parts of the machine, developing a feel for how tight to secure the bolts. Systems of Components and Functions—physical working parts which we come to know either: Empirically—knowledge gained by the senses b. Concepts—Ideas with the potential to be realized the thought precedes the creation of the physical object.

Inductive ideas start with observing specific examples and end with a general conclusion. Deductive ideas start with general knowledge used to predict specific observations. Connecting the Romantic to the Classical is Quality.

To care about something will increase its quality. Pirsig creates an analogy comparing knowledge to a railroad train that is always going somewhere: What carries the train forward is a sense of what is good.

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It is understood intuitively and enhanced by skill and experience. Eventually you will be able to break through barriers. External Setbacks 2. Internal Hangups a. Inability to learn new facts—slow down and decide if the things you thought were important are really important or if the things you thought were insignificant are more important than you thought.

Ego falsely inflated self-image —let your work struggles teach you to be quiet and modest. Boredom—take a break, rest, or clean out your space. Early cultures used Rhetoric to teach Quality in terms of virtue, but after some time the technique of rhetoric was corrupted by the Sophists as ethical relativism.

Excellence became subordinate to Truth. Rhetoric fell from its supreme position of Excellence Quality to teaching mannerisms and forms of writing and speaking. Quality, Pirsig discovers, is "the Tao, the great central generating force of all religions, Oriental and Occidental, past and present, all knowledge, everything. This book is extremely good and also important. It's a treatise on metaphysics as well as a compelling story which the author says is autobiographical. It's exactly right about the scientific method, and the way we go about discovering truth as a society and as individuals.

The analogy of working on motorcycles is a good one. In my life it's been programming computers and figuring out how to get industrial machinery to work, but the same process works for all of the above. The thing I find most This book is extremely good and also important.

The thing I find most excellent in this book is that it points out the step where the mystery comes in, i. Science has no method for how you get that.

You just play with the problem, turn it over in your mind, try things, strive to understand, and then the answer sometimes appears in your head. It's a complete mystery. There are stories in the history of science, about Kekule who figured out the ring structure of Benzene from a dream about a snake swallowing its tail, about Einstein at age 13 picturing what it would be like to ride the crest of a light wave, and on and on.

This book showed me that buried in the heart of science is something generative and alive that defies scientific explanation, simply because it's outside the system. I'm looking for the truth! The truth in this context is completely knowable once we've found it.

I mean if the motorcycle runs afterwards, then we've solved the problem. That's why I love applied science and engineering. The other great idea that I use all the time from this book is that the very cutting edge, the place where the tire tread hits the pavement, is always messy and confusing and just a place of floundering around in uncertainty.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - PDF Drive

He makes the analogy of a train, with all the cars full of facts that we know, and the engine, where new track is being laid, is not contained in any of the cars. It's always murky up there, and never neat and well-defined. I tell myself that when I'm in that situation, that I should revel in this feeling instead of dreading it.

And, in fact, I mostly get paid because I can stick through that feeling to the payoff, the "aha" part. The most important thing I learned in college is that something utterly confusing and befuddling can come clear if I will invest the effort to play around with it and figure it out. So I get to do that all the time now. We have this large mental construct of scientific understanding, and it's indeed impressive. We can cure typhoid now and build bridges that stay up conscious irony. But even in the areas that we would like to think are very well known, and neat and clear, there is so much that isn't understood.

Otherwise, why would these questions come up continually? Why doesn't this program work? Why is my pulper feed system not working the way we expected? Why did my motorcycle engine run so badly in the mountains?

What made this bridge suddenly collapse during rush hour? This book explores all of those ideas and sheds a lot of light on them. I understand the universe far better because of having read this book. That's why I gave it 5 stars, a rating I reserve for books that changed who I am or how I see the world. View all 5 comments. I hate this. I give up. I can't anymore. The last page I actually read was , so I didn't officially "finish" this book, but it will go into my finished pile.

I need all the help I can get. My goal was 50 books this year, and Im 8 books behind. I will count this book as read no matter what you say. You know when you start a roadtrip and everything is awesome and a breath of fresh air in the beginning, but then you're at each other's throats towards the middle? That's what this book was. It started off slow and boring. Like a lazy canoe trip through the Everglades. It was a nice change of pace from the bombastic stuff I was reading, but then you bash into a wall.

The boring stuff is interlaced with more boring stuff. I know I sound like a monkey now. I know I sound uneducated as shit, but those philosophy lessons embedded into the narrative were soo boring.

The book is a great example of the archethypical "journey story" that turns sucky. At first, you're jiving with everything, you get into some cool conversations, but after a few days, Everyone is tired and have bags under their eyes.

The vaginas smell like old tuna and the penises smell like rotting bacon I made that up I never smelled crusty penis. Everything sucks. Thats what this booj turned into. Plus, the author is a douchebag. He's boring me. I'm supposed to believe he was formerly known as Phaedrus, and he thought himself into insanity on the quest of finding out the meaning of quality and rationality? Im not exaggerating that. Early in the book he describes how he got electro fucking shock therapy for this.

You fucking drove yourself literally insane thinking about that??? You really thought yourself into that black a hole? Fucking get a life! Who does that? At that moment, my credibility for the author who is thinly veiled as the protagonist in this stupid story flew out the window. You have a kid dude!! Get it together. It doesn't help that he's such an asshole to that kid. All in the name of making him grow up to be a great man. Fucking feed that kid, and dont make him climb a stupid mountain because of your own ridiculous ambition.

Maybe this book does a degree turn in the final half and becomes really evocative AND entertaining, but I just dont care anymore. I hate giving books this low a rating. Its evidence that I wasted my time. No more. There are too many awesome books out there I should spend my finite time on. View all 39 comments.

May 21, Zora rated it did not like it Recommends it for: I learned from this book that you can sell a billion copies of a book that no one should ever waste three minutes reading. This is just another neo-philosophy book disguised as a novel. I'm almost convinced that the only reason people buy this book is so that their pseudo-intellectual read: Although I know about twenty people who claim to have read this book, I have yet to meet a single person who actually knows what it's about.

This book is a bigger hoax than the bible. So I have written, and so, therefore, must it be. View all 22 comments. Okay, I confess I haven't finished it yet. But I'm finding it so irksome I don't know if I'll be able to get all the way through it. Here's what I wrote on my bookmark 50 pages in: He can set up armies of logical strawmen and have them elaborately duke it out in massive rhetorical battles taking place entirely without any grounding in reality.

He has the manic ADDH intelligence of the kind that experiences UFO abductions, never finishes his degree, judges everyone as hopelessly inferior from behind the counter of the sporting goods store. Self-satisfied and superior with a fake Indian name he took on from the time he made deep eye-contact with a timber wolf. The kind of guy who never made it all the way back from 'Nam. He went to Korea, not Vietnam. He's driving me NUTS! It's one false premise and false conclusion after another-- astonishing leaps of logic e.

He's an irritating narrator: His male companions are awed and impressed with his technical knowledge and mystical skills.

He wasn't kicked out of school for "laziness and immaturity" as the official reason went-- it was because his ideas were so RADICAL the whole university system would have come toppling down! The only expert he cites is Phaedrus Before a nervous breakdown! He talks about discovering the beautiful power of Phaedrus' logic and writing. And it's himself, all along. Very annoying. I just want to say to him, yes, you're very smart. Yes, technology and art are a false dichotomy.

But no, saying that does not turn the world inside out and make your the smartest person in the universe. View all 6 comments. Jul 29, Jason Koivu rated it really liked it. The author went insane and nearly took me with him! After years of putting this one off, I finally recently read it and was floored by how it was almost nothing like what I expected: I did not expect the contemplations of a depressing, crazy person.

But that's no reason to hate on a book, and I don't hate Zen I was close to giving it only 3 stars mainly for its inability to move. I mean, for a roadtrip book it certainly seems to l The author went insane and nearly took me with him! I mean, for a roadtrip book it certainly seems to languish in the doldrums far too often.

I gave it the extra star because I have a soft spot for philosophy in the form of rational evaluations and minute dissections of the mind, which this has in spades. The writing itself is good. In fact at times I thought I was reading very well-written fictional characters.

The author's son's whiney desperation irritated, but for the right reasons, because it felt so real. My recommendation is to read this if you like philosophical contemplations, but don't read it if you're only interested in the motorcycle aspect.

I'm convinced this is one of those books that somehow made it onto the high school syllabus and just sort of stuck around, with no one ever examining its right to be there. This then created the unwarranted impression that Pirsig's text is a 'classic' or something approaching significance. I say this with only slight reservation, but I don't think there is any kind of genius, misunderstood or otherwise, to be found in this bloviated acid trip.

Pirsig warns in the author's note not to expect an a I'm convinced this is one of those books that somehow made it onto the high school syllabus and just sort of stuck around, with no one ever examining its right to be there. Pirsig warns in the author's note not to expect an accurate commentary on Zen Buddhism or motorcycle maintenance.

What he neglects to mention is that you won't learn much of anything else, either. With a title like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values , I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised when I wound up with a soupy slog through a tortuous jungle smeared over with the purest bird guano.

Which is to say the book revels in being tedious, in laying out tedium on an operating table and dissecting it into its little tedious parts. By itself this isn't a dealbreaker, but if what's being conveyed tediously in this case the intricacies of motorcycle anatomy as a launching pad for the unification of Occident-Orient philosophies isn't worth the intellectual expenditure, something has gone wrong. And with this one, something went very, very wrong. The semi-autobiographical book sets out under cover of a novel—a cross-country father-and-son bike trip—before quickly devolving into an effluvium of Pirsig's disordered thoughts.

I seriously doubt any foresight went into this novel; thoughts are scattered so vagrantly across the pages that you increasingly expect the all-pervading synthesis that must surely await you at the end. Expect to be disappointed. Not even Pirsig, apparently, could clean this mess up into a functional philosophical treatise. It's as if a stream of thoughts came to him in the shower and, not sure what to make of them, jotted them down in slapdash fashion, hoping someone would come along later and piece it all together into an integrative, paradigm-shifting, status quo-shattering whole.

I, for one, don't wish to be that person. What you should expect instead are prolonged servings of motorcycle-speak and mechanic lingo and quasi-intellectual discussion of the term 'Quality'—what it is, what it isn't, what it means, how it works, why it matters.

Most of his "Chautauquas", as he calls them, begin with, "Now I want to discuss The mystical undertones irked me here and there, but not as much as his bait-and-switch of pretending to tell a story that is really just an open-ended, self-indulgent, coma-inducing lecture. I should say at this point that I am a huge fan of philosophy. Much of philosophy is interesting, intangibly so, and indispensable to every conscious adult.

You can't have science without philosophy, for example. Some of it can even be life-changing and revelatory. But you wouldn't know it if this book is your first and only data point on the discipline. It's books like this which give philosophy a bad name and turn people away from the subject. Worse, it's not even well-written. I cannot recall a single lyrically memorable passage in the entire book.

The dialogue sections, apart from being wooden, stodgy and vacant of life, are completely disposable as mere segues cutting up the oration. And the way Pirsig uses the stuffy, hidebound university professor to validate his supposedly earth-shaking ideas is childishly bogus.

Perhaps Pirsig has an axe to grind, or perhaps his opinion of himself is higher than it should be. Closing Thoughts In the afterword to the 10th anniversary edition, Pirsig reveals that his book was turned down by different publishing houses a record according to Guinness.

I'm not saying this shouldn't have been published, but I am saying I understand why it almost wasn't. Pirsig aspired to pierce the boundaries of philosophy itself, to unify the dualism blanketing modern academia. Instead of achieving this quixotic but admirable target, he ends up mostly with disjointed, turgid ramblings that veer occasionally into the territories of pseudoscience and New Agey-mysticism.

The novelistic tropes sprinkled in are there simply to make his quasi-arcane discourses more palatable to the reading public. It's my opinion that ZAMM is well-known among pseudo-intellectuals who pretend to have discovered something profound in it.

But we must be honest in recognizing that not all philosophy is profound. Some of it is deeply insightful and life-affirming, while some portion of it is poofy and, yes, low on quality. Period piece or not, this is just bad philosophy.

Some have gone as far as dubbing it a well-crafted piece of fiction. I do not share these sentiments, but I respect them. Some readers found this struggle fascinating and thought-provoking.

I personally found it poorly communicated, not just on a conceptual level but on a literary level as well.

According to the narrator, there are two ways of experiencing a motorcycle: The romantic experience of a motorcycle involves riding it down a mountain road, going past a soft meadow or prairie, and being completely absorbed by the wind rushing past. The classical or functional experience of a motorcycle is to understand the inner mechanism of the machine—how the various different mechanical parts work together in harmony, how to tighten a bolt or fix any maintenance problems.

Being romantic is to experience living in the present state, whereas being rational or classical is to connect the past to the future and thus continue to accumulate the collective wisdom and knowledge down through the generations. Through this analogy we are supposed to appreciate both the emotional and logical modes of our life experience, and obtain a sense of how the two interact and reinforce one another. That true enlightenment comes from an organic melding of the two flavors is a notion I can certainly understand has broad appeal.

Most unfortunate from where I stand, though, is that I found ZAMM a particularly unpleasing, banal and unimpressive read. This review is republished from my official website. I started reading this book because i'd heard from a number of people, including comedian Tim Allen, that it was good. Tim Allen, although not exactly a respectable philosopher maybe not even just respectable , had some of Robert Pirsig's philosophy without all his inane bullshit.

At least Tim Allen's book was funny. Admittedly, i enjoyed the I started reading this book because i'd heard from a number of people, including comedian Tim Allen, that it was good. Admittedly, i enjoyed the book in the beginning. I could tell that the plot was going nowhere specific, but i like books like that. In fact i wrote one.

But as i pressed on, page after page, chapter after chapter, i became first bored with it, then irritated. The Fifth Season. Lost Connections. Johann Hari. Better Than Before. Gretchen Rubin. Worry-Free Money. Shannon Lee Simmons. The Golden House. Salman Rushdie. No Is Not Enough. Naomi Klein. Mike Myers. War of the Wolf.

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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Unavailable for purchase. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. Chi ama i libri sceglie Kobo e inMondadori. Buy the eBook Price: Choose Store. Skip this list. Ratings and Book Reviews 3 67 star ratings 3 reviews. Overall rating 4. Yes No Thanks for your feedback! Report as inappropriate. If you like philosophy and can relate to the feeling of being engrossed by vehicle maintenance, this is ans exceptional book. If you can get through the often less than coherent narrative there are moments of real insight in this book that is at best only peripherally about motorbikes and even less focused on Zen.

Best tackled with some background in philosophy. Interesting introduction to certain aspects of philosophy with some comments on academia. How to write a great review Do Say what you liked best and least Describe the author's style Explain the rating you gave Don't Use rude and profane language Include any personal information Mention spoilers or the book's price Recap the plot. Close Report a review At Kobo, we try to ensure that published reviews do not contain rude or profane language, spoilers, or any of our reviewer's personal information.

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