Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

An Inquiry Into Values

Pirsig, Robert M.

(Book - 2005)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, this book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.--From publisher description.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : HarperPerennial, 2005
Edition: 1st Harper Pennial Modern Classics ed
ISBN: 0060839872
Branch Call Number: B-P672z 2005
Characteristics: xiv, 430, 16 p. ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

While cycling through the Western States, a disillusioned American questions the meaning of existence after confronting the ghost of his former, uninstitutionalized self.

A father and son's cross-country trip by motorcycle becomes a philosophical journey questioning faith, science, and existence.

From the critics

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Only book that made me cry at the end of it all. A beautiful journey. Take it!

Aug 26, 2013
  • justslide rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was recommended to me a long time ago and I have to now thank whoever planted that seed from a long time ago. This book, considering when it was written, still holds so much relevance to today's youth and young adults. Has a bit of a slow beginning, but really picks up as story goes on. It is filled with so much depth and energy. Absolutely loved this book!

Jun 05, 2012
  • klemay1994 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A little bit to mature for me. It kept going into these metaphors that it was hard for me to really understand if I was constantly moving in and out of the book with a busy life style. Worth reading if you have the time to have long periods of sitting.

Dec 22, 2011
  • Spitsfire rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book came out in the 1970's and still holds up today. I enjoyed the blend of "zen" and the journey.

Dec 21, 2011
  • theamazingsteverino rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A thick and sometimes (at least for theamazingsteverino) barely-followable philosophical treatise on "quality" - a term ultimately defined by the author with a Justice Potter Stewart-esque, "You can't explain it, but you know it when you see it." Nonetheless, the cross-country journey around which Pirsig wraps his narrative is well worth the ride - he includes some practical tips on the pursuit of quality in all aspects of life and work - and the afterward (written 10 years after the book's original publication) is uncommonly and genuinely heartbreaking.

Sep 17, 2011
  • nutmegistasty rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A modern philosophical classic.

Jul 11, 2011
  • sodajk rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

i'm afraid my philosophical vocabulary isn't deep enough to appreciate this one. i have a very distinct feeling that the author is talking down to me. he has a very high opinion of himself. furthermore, a sticking point for me is the idea that quality can't be defined. nonsense. a long way to go to explain something that's alredy been explained more clearly and concisely.

Aug 05, 2010
  • arturo_m rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was surprised by this book, more road trip than meditation trip, more father son tale than tea ceremony, more Socrates than Sen no Rikyu. However, it leaves you with a good dose of wabi-sabi (and engine grease). Very good.


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