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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1984


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reissue edition (March 1 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553277472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553277470
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (323 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #371,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the leftgrip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning. Read the first page
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 7 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's taken me more than twenty years to get around to reading this gem of a book. It was always something I'd plan to read but never got around to doing it. Pirsig offers us insights into why we exist and how we can share that existence with others. The story involves Pirsig doing a cross-country motorcycle trek through the western USA with his son, Chris. While this might come across as just another desperate attempt of a parent to bond with a child before he becomes a teen, the journey is much more. Acting as a philosopher-traveler, Pirsig uses a lot of life's little circumstances to draw his son's attention to the bigger purpose in life: knowing why you exist through making sense of and resolving problems. This quest is as much about feeling liberated to ask the questions as it is to be at peace in knowing that there are no simple answers but just a lot more questions. The mountains of Montana is a great setting for Pirsig to work some of the major issues of life. Take the opportunity to read his biography. Truly an interesting personality, who chose to work out his issues in a thought-provoking style. A background in philosophy is not a must. Great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scoopriches TOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 6 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have experienced this story twice. And both times they effected me.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a journey written by Robert M. Pirsig. It was released in 1974 after facing rejection from over 100 publishers. And now it a cultural milestone and modern philosophical classic that have spawned a sequel and multiple guidebooks. My first discovery of this book was over 20 years ago and it still resides in me. The adventure never really ended.

The Chautauqua, as the author calls it, of this story is a simple motorcycle trip across America. He and his son are trying to sort out the father's issues. And there are many. Being a lifelong philosopher, Pirsig has spent insurmountable time pondering the question of Quality. What is Quality? How do you define it? His family and his life take a backseat to this quest, causing disruptions to his psyche. A nervous breakdown and time in a mental institution follow, coupled with slight memory loss. Now, on this motorcycle trip with his younger son Chris, he is desperately trying to recover his lost past and reconnect with his child. It does not go well.

Veering between three strands, all parts of the story accelerate to a scary ending. You will fear for them both in the last chapter.

One part of the tapestry is the motorcycle trip itself. Where they go and with whom. The places they visit and the people they meet. All contribute to Pirsig's musings on Quality. You feel this is simply the backdrop, a collage with which to hang the other threads on. This person reminds Pirsig of this idea, so now he will expound on it. Whether the events of ride are completely accurate is left for the reader to decide.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Cannesta, Mike on Nov. 11 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Great book. Not what you're thinking it's about. Love it. If I were to draw a timeline of philosophy with two markers, one marker would be the works of Plato and Aristotle, which placed Truth at the top of the heap (a proposition which forms the basis of western scientific thinking); the other marker would be Pirsig's work, which places Good at the top and Truth second. Pirsig had an insight into the Quality Relationship. Just as an eye cannot see itself, the Quality Relationship is very difficult to see because it is the means by which seeing (in the intellectual sense) takes place. Even the purest scientific truth passes into the mind of its discoverer on a rail established by the Quality Relationship. The implication is that all truth is personal and subjective, even widely accepted scientific truths. That acceptance exists in the minds of many individuals, each of whom is motivated to receive the information and judge it against scientific criteria. The motivation rests on the Quality Relationship, and that is strictly a personal value judgement of whatever the mind choses to examine. Since individuals possess the Quality Relationship, this philosophy places individuals above science (modern society seems to need some of that view). Pirsig's second work, Lila, examines what it means for larger social entities such as governments to possess their own Quality Relationships. The book is also the exquisitely told personal story of Pirsig's efforts to recover this insight after losing the memory of it to shock treatment. A beautiful book in all respects
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book seemed to float just under the main stream culture in my parents generation. I have seen it on book shelves from time to time but never picked it up. Thanks to "Zen and Now" I did. I'm glad I read it, I do not think it is as "deep" as people would have you believe but do to its historical context in modern culture its worth a look.
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By bill taylor on Jan. 15 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a gift for a friend of mine. I have had this book for about 30 years and never tire of it.
Any thing that can make you feel this way about life must be good. It is a must read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just a great read of two stories that merge together at the end. It is so much deeper than motorcycle maintenance.

I recommend this to anyone.
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