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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values Paperback – Deckle Edge, Sep 30 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 343 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (Sept. 30 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061673730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061673733
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 343 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #280,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Arguably one of the most profoundly important essays ever written on the nature and significance of "quality" and definitely a necessary anodyne to the consequences of a modern world pathologically obsessed with quantity. Although set as a story of a cross-country trip on a motorcycle by a father and son, it is more nearly a journey through 2,000 years of Western philosophy. For some people, this has been a truly life-changing book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“An unforgettable trip.” (Time)

“The book is inspired, original. . . . The analogies with Moby-Dick are patent.” (The New Yorker)

“Profoundly important...full of insights into our most perplexing contemporary dilemmas.” (New York Times)

“It is filled with beauty. . .a finely made whole that seems to emanate from a very special grace.” (Baltimore Sun)

“A miracle . . . sparkles like an electric dream.” (The Village Voice)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this book.. I originally had a copy that I inherited from my mother. I passed that along to my son, who loves it. Then, I realized I missed owning a copy of my own, so ordered a used copy, which seems to have come from a library. I love having a book that others have enjoyed over the years. A classic still, after all this time!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story is just a good as when I first read it over 40 years ago - and more relevant than ever. Pirsig is now known as one of the mose influential philosophers of this century. Zen.... is very readable and gives you a sense that the important things in life rarely change.
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By Scoopriches TOP 1000 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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
A lot of people have noted that this book inspires love-it-or-hate-it reactions. I'm not sure whether I'm an exception to the rule or somehow just in both camps at once. There were some parts of this book which I found fascinating and wonderful. There were other parts which I found interminable and uninspiring.
Am I sorry I read the book? No, I think that in sum it was a worthwhile experience. Would I rush to read it again? No, I wouldn't, and I would offer only a qualified recommendation to anyone who asked if they should read this book. I would tell them that if they were willing to be patient and were willing to allot a significant chunk of time to the book then they would almost certainly get something out of it and they would have enhanced, in some small way, their general cultural literacy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isn't quite what I expected but I still enjoyed it. It is a novel crossed with a lot of psychology chatter that was occasionally over my head. It is a classic that my father read when he was young so it felt like a bit of catching up. I would recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
I am dismayed at many of the reviews posted...I really do not understand!
As a college student some twenty years ago and having stumbled across this book..it changed my life. Yes the writing is difficult, but the words are succinct..and every one word necessary for the presentation and the understand. Nothing ever important is easy to first understand. However these words deserve the effort and time and re-reading to absorb. It is imperative that you take upon yourself the duty of finishing the book...eventually. My first reading took me over six...well maybe four months to finish. It was a tough go... but amazing.
It is a book whose words never leave you...you are moved when you pick up the book again...as you know you are now somewhere else because this unique book has brought you somewhere more special and clear than before. Like a friendship...take the time...give a few hugs from time to time...and trust yourself and your friend (the book) that you will benefit from this time. I wish every one well in their endeavour...but please do finish the book. It will be wonderful time well spent.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pirsig takes us on a literary chautauqua that dives into the split between romanticism and clasicism, and speaks magnitudes about the philosiphies and sciences of Eastern and Western Cultures. The book has seized rave reviews across the globe, and held best-seller status for record amounts of time. One wonders, what could possibly be in this book that has made it so accredited for such a long time? The answer is that the book takes the reader on a journey that was never supposed to happen. Pirsig elucidates, in four hundred pages, about the conflicts with his son, and himself. Phaedrus, Pirsig's former personality, is represented as a ghost from Pirsig's past. Phaedrus takes the reader through Greek logic, Eastern culture, and Buddhist beliefs. The book gives a good explanation of the differences in Eastern and Western cultures, and how the splitting of the two has caused problems throughout the world.
Coming from a background of the dry sciences, my reading of classical literature is hardly amazing. These two topics do not go together and rarely have anything to bridge the gap. This book does that job wonderfully. For the first time, I understood literature of this complexity, because it deals with the sciences and the arts; it kept me interested and also made me relate my life to the characters lives.
So, what do I suggest? If you have the time, the patience, and an open mind, this book will do you wonders and will stick with you for years to come.
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