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. Unique to audio, this edition features a new introduction by the author.
©1974 by Robert M. Pirsig; (P)1996 by Books on Tape, Inc.
"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)
I ride motocycles and this book certainly made me long for the open road. Anyone who has read it knows the book is much more than a road trip on a bike. It examines the development of Western thought and the duality of conflict between what people beleive to be "quality" in a (insert noun here). I have to admit that the discussion on Plato, Aristotle and such left me in the dust. Having taken no philosphy in school I have little foundational knowlege to go on. But it spurred my curiosity in "rhetoric" and how present day people share ideas. Going online helped me clear up some of the issues I had in lack of familiarity.
Often it is difficult to listen to a narrator of an audible book for some time before you grow weary of his voice or find flaws in his reading style. This book was EXCELLENTLY narrated and you felt that you were listening to the author and not someone merely reciting words yet not mellow dramatically done. The book requires much thought and being able to rewind and listen to certain passages over again is wonderful. I originally read the book in my early twenties but was looking for a travel book not a philosphy book so it had little affect upon me, listening to it now on my commute into the city, it opens up much thought and forces the reader/listener to really think and not just swallow without chewing first. It will inspire the listener if he is of that temperment, to want to further read both philosophers and Pirsig's other books which sadly are not yet here available.
Without a doubt, the best audio book, any book, that I have had the pleasure to listen to .... again and again.
Go ahead! Get the audio version and regain the insight of Quality living!
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
There are parts of this book, and parts of this type of book I really enjoy. But at the exact same time, this whole genre of book (see: Ken Wilber and his oeuvre, especially A Brief History of Everything) really grinds and irritates.* Don't get me wrong, I love Greek philosophy and Zen Buddhism as much as the next guy (or gal) on Goodreads/Audible/Amazon. No serious. ON my FB page, I think I put my religion down as: γνῶσις-Mðrmon; 禪-Mormon. I'm all about the search for Truth. I want to pick and prune it where ever it grows (East or West). But these pop-Philosophy/pop-Zen/grand theory of everything books seem to promise way more than they ever deliver.
I DO get, however, how some people love it. I see it. I can feel it. It is seductive as hell for sure. And -- AND -- a part of me buys into a part of it. I just can't follow Pirsig all the way up or down his mountain.
Anyway, I'm not sorry I listened to t, just like after finishing a Malcolm Gladwell bestseller doesn't leave me with any sorrow either. I just feel like I've been given a light mental laxitive. Everything moves easy, and nothing is too damaging. I just don't really want to double down and read Lila. The Pirsig motorcycle is garaged. The seventies are over. I want a different sort of quality I guess.
* given that statement, I'm not sure why I'm not as critical of Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard. Perhaps it was the writing. Perhaps it was less pop. But ye Gads, the mid-to-late 70s was a bumper crop for Zen Buddhist books in the US
This was a very interesting and thought provoking story. I didn't know what I was getting into but found myself thinking at length about the ideas and concepts discussed in the book. Few books can manage that.
The production quality of this book was awful. The first several chapters sounded rich and full, but then sounded like it went through a pitch shift like it was speed up. By the 9th chapter you can hear other people talking in the background like it was recorded in a technical support center. I troubleshot this quite a bit and confirmed, it is in the recording.
The poor audio production was so distracting to me, I found it hard to listen to the book at times. I was trying to understand and absorb the authors points while trying to block out the "chatter" in the background or the pitch of the narrators voice, and found my concentration lost too often. Audible should never have let a title with these problems make it into the store.
When you're ready
This hits home
If you're not ready
This will suck for you
Narration was wonderful. The seriousness of the main character is captured with full respect. Because it is about the mind and a mind that is unsound, the earnest steadiness of the narrator's voice is admirable. I read this in the 70's. The landscape is a retro experience as well as a literary force. The story breathes technology. I found poignant listening to the story now because his celebratory trip would have had a completely different texture today, more of the unknowns would now be easily knowable. Highly recommended.
I agree with Deborah from Baton Rouge. I read the book for the first time in the 70's and loved it. I wanted to read it again. But as an audiobook I was turned off by the tone of the reader. He seems a bit arrogant with an attitude of superiority -- not the type of person that I imagined when I first read it. He seems downright disdainful of his son. Then again, maybe because of my age, I see things differently.
This book had a big impact on me as a young adult and I've read it about three times. Tried it again in mid-life and it didn't have quite the impact but I think part of that was the reader; I don't usually complain about it but is reading sounded labored; there was a strange little cough at the end of so many sentences, like he's been a life-long smoker or something. I tend to think it's just his way of giving inflection and denoting the end of sentence/paragraph but it was really distracting.
I can't even imagine trying to read this book. Michael Kramer does an excellent job of bringing a cerebral text to life. He maintained my interest throughout the entire book.
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