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Zen and Now: On the trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance [Hardcover]

Mark Richardson
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 9 2008
On the Trail of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Zen and Now is the story of a story that will appeal to the 5 million readers of the original and serve as an initiation to a whole new generation.

Since its original publication in 1968, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values has touched whole generations of readers with its serious attempt to define “quality” in a world that seems indifferent to the responsibilities that quality brings. Mark Richardson expands that journey with an investigation of his own – to find the enigmatic author of Zen and the Art, ask him a few questions, and place his classic book in context. The result manages to be a biography of Pirsig himself – in the discovery of an unknown life of madness, murder and eventual resolution – and a splendid meditation on creativity and problem-solving, sanity and insanity.

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Review

Zen and Now is a story worth telling, about a journey worth sharing–an entertaining, inspiring, and rewarding read.” –Neil Peart

“You don’t have to be familiar with the original book to enjoy Richardson’s tale, nor do you have to know how to ride a motorcycle.”
Ottawa Citizen

“Like any really good road trip that’s also about a search for truth, it’s filled with revelation and surprise… and ultimately draws you in with its seductive rhythm and superior storytelling.”
The Toronto Sun

About the Author

Mark Richardson is the editor of the Wheels section of the Toronto Star. He turned forty-two at the end of his journey, which he amusingly explains is the “meaning of life,” according the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Zen and Now is his first book. He lives in Toronto.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! Oct. 7 2009
Format:Paperback
If you have a bent toward philosophical thought, and an appreciation for a well told story, you'll have trouble putting this book down.

Would probably be helpful, but certainly not necessary, to have read Pirsig's classic 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' at some point in your life. Might have slightly more meaning if you ride a motorcycle, or have ridden one in the past, for a long enough distance and time to realize every machine needs maintenance. And a full appreciation of this book might be deepened if you actually learned how to do motorcycle or other mechanical maintenance, however minimal.

Mark Richardson took the time he needed to write an excellent book. That book, 'Zen and Now', will teach you some very interesting things, provide you with a wide range of wry and humble observations on the human condition and make you laugh out loud.

A real piece of quality I'll be sharing with all my best friends. (Includes some folks who'll never ride or maintain a motorcycle in their entire life.)

And that's from a Canadian, eh.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good book June 14 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very interesting, I have always heard of the "Zen and the art of motorcycle repair", a book from my parents generations. This book lead me to read Zen and the art of motorcycle repair but I like this book better. The history of this cultural phenomenon is more interesting that the root cause for myself, then again I think most metaphysical mumbo jumbo is just plain hogwash (not because it is too complicated but because its nothing that someone tries to make into something, a twisting of words and meaning). I actually came across this book while looking into motorcycle repair and I'm glad I gave it a chance. Good read, well written and it kept my interest through out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Zen and Now: Revisiting Pirsig March 12 2014
By Scoopriches TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In 1968 Robert Pirsig set out on a motorcycle trip with his son and writes a book about it.

In 2004 Mark Richardson set out on a motorcycle trip retracing Pirsig’s journey and writes a book about it.

The first book is the classic bestseller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a tale that has achieved cult status with its ideological impact and lasting effect on the majority of its readers. Pirsig brings us a journey where he and his young son Chris embark on a lengthy motorcycle trip. Part of this story is Pirsig trying to reconnect with his son, another part is Pirsig attempting to rebuild his past memories partially obliterated by electro-shock, and another part is Pirsig expounding on his philosophical musings on Quality. All this in a book that openly admits it may not be entirely factual on the events, the zen, or the maintenance.

But even with these caveats, Pirsig still created an instant cultural touchstone when it was published in 1974. Very swiftly after premiering, Pirsig became an instant celebrity in bookish and intellectual circles, with the added byproduct of groupies stopping by his house before embarking on their own version of following his trail.

Flashforward to 2004 and Pirsig is divorced from his first wife and now remarried and the father of a twenty-something. A boat trip led to an extended stay in Europe and along the way the sequel book Lila came out. That volume filled with even more philosophy did not fare as well with the critics.

Into all this history and drama and travelogue and thinking comes Toronto Star journalist Mark Richardson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Dougie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mark Richardson does an extraordinary job of following the route of Robert Pirsig and his son as described in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mechanics.I too had trouble getting through the book (took 4 attempts )many years ago.Mark has changed my view somewhat and has caused me to endevour to read the book again.
The narrative and discription of the ride and Marks adventures were flawless. Exellent job Mark.
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