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Zen and Now: On the trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Hardcover – Sep 9 2008

8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada; 1st Edition edition (Sept. 9 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307397475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307397478
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 3.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Neufeld on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dougie on June 10 2011
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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By Scoopriches TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 12 2014
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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By MC Escher on Sept. 6 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read "Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" twice in the past 20 years; then recently came across this book by accident in the bookstore. I found it to be very well written and it helped round out some of the confusing aspects of "Zen & the Art". It effect, it is a book about a book - it seems like a bit of an odd approach to writing a book, but it does work. I appreciate the degree of technical detail Mark puts into his writing; although I am not a motorcycle rider I am mechanically inclined. (You don't have to be a motorcycle rider to appreciate the original Zen or Mark's followup.)

Mark does a good job of intertwining his story with the original Zen story, as well as followups to the characters in the original book and in his own book.

His writing reminds me of Tracy Kidder's style - who I like a lot. (Soul of a New Machine, House, Hometown). Hope to see more from Mr. Richardson.
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