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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | [Robert M. Pirsig]

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This lyrical, evocative, thought-provoking journal of a man's quest for truth - and for himself - has touched and changed an entire generation, and is ready to reach out to a new one. At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a motorcycle trip across America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal.
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Publisher's Summary

This lyrical, evocative, thought-provoking journal of a man's quest for truth - and for himself - has touched and changed an entire generation, and is ready to reach out to a new one. At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a motorcycle trip across America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is an elemental work that has helped to shape and define the past 25 years of American culture. This special audio edition presents this adventure in an exciting new way - for the millions who have already taken this journey and want to travel these roads again, and for the many more who will discover for the first time the wonders and challenges of a story that will change the way they think and feel about their lives.

©1974 by Robert M. Pirsig; (P)1996 Audio Renaissance Tapes, A Division of CPU, INc.

What the Critics Say

"Profoundly important...intellectual entertainment of the highest order." (The New York Times)
"Brave wanderings, high adventures, extraordinary risks...A horn of plenty." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (172 )
5 star
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4.0 (60 )
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Story
4.1 (60 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    David Muncie, IN, USA 09-06-09
    David Muncie, IN, USA 09-06-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic performance of a great book"

    A wonderful book that everyone should read or listen to at least once in their life. As the book admits, it's not really about zen, nor much about motorcycle maintenance either. Rather, it's about how to make sense of life.
    I recommend this version over the unabridged version for two reasons. First, the actual text gets pretty heavy at times, and if you're not a philosophy major you might be turned off by that (and also might find it hard to understand just what the hell he is saying at times). The second and bigger reason is Lawrence Pressman. He reads the book with a kind of laid-back casualness, a kind of "relax, slow down, we're in no hurry" attitude. He quickly becomes the main character. This is not so much a reading as a performance. I have purchased both this and the unabridged version (just as I have purchased entirely too many copies of this book--different editions and whatnot) and this is the one I keep turning to again and again and again.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Cerrillos, NM, USA 07-02-09
    Craig Cerrillos, NM, USA 07-02-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    Very well written and read book. Seemed like a lot of heavy philosophy but soaked it up and fully enjoyed it. If I had realized that there was an unabridged version available, I would have gone that route.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Orlin Winchester, MA USA 12-05-12
    James Orlin Winchester, MA USA 12-05-12 Member Since 2011
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    "The narrator really captured my interest."
    If you could sum up Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating; not Zen


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?

    When the author revealed that he had had a mental illness.


    Have you listened to any of Lawrence Pressman’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was the first time I listened to Pressman. His performance was really gripping. Pressman seemed to inhabit the narrator in the book. He was simultaneously brilliant (just as the author was brilliant) while giving a strong sense that there was a lot underneath his surface (as one would expect of the very best actors).


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending


    Any additional comments?

    For many readers, this may be their primary knowledge of Zen Buddhism. While there are some connections to Zen, the author is presenting his own philosophy as well as rich personal details. Readers will not learn much about Zen. Having said that, the book is excellent for other reasons.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Weldon Louisiana 03-19-12
    Patrick Weldon Louisiana 03-19-12 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Drags a bit"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Okay, not great. I liked the book, but the audible seems to be dragging on and on. Very dry. And pretty dull.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 10-17-14
    James 10-17-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Didn't get it"

    This book is a little out dated in terms of its theme - probably best read by college students in the 1970's. I simply did not really care for the interlacing of ancient greek philosophy into a personal memoir of a motorcycle ride across the country. I wouldn't have minded that - but the philosophical elements were so superficial. Glad I read it since so many people have been talking about this book since I was in college in the 80's. Had I read it then I might have a different take on it - but now, in my 40's it simply was a waste of time for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Reisterstown, United States Minor Outlying Islands 05-14-10
    Stephen Reisterstown, United States Minor Outlying Islands 05-14-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "just didn't get it"

    I have tons of postgrad education...not the dullest knife in the drawer... but I could not make it through this. The philosophy seemed inpenetrable.. when I could understand it, it seemed obvious. I was interested in the story itself but ultimately, it didn't sustain the book. After a while, I just became annoyed by the author stringing together multiple polysyllabic words that said nothing...at least nothing I could understand. I can't remember the last book I just couldn't make it through..

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
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