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

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This 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, 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. Unique to audio, this edition features a new introduction by the author.

©1974 by Robert M. Pirsig; (P)1996 by Books on Tape, 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 (1211 )
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-20-14
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 05-20-14 Member Since 2011

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just can't follow Pirsig all the way."

    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

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mayo Enid, OK, USA 01-11-03
    Mayo Enid, OK, USA 01-11-03
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    "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

    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!

    28 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fortunee Maryland, United States 09-07-11
    Fortunee Maryland, United States 09-07-11
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    "For those of us who love technology"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 02-21-11
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 02-21-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Classic book, but presentation was off"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Charleston, SC, United States 02-29-08
    Brian Charleston, SC, United States 02-29-08 Member Since 2008
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    "I've already listened to it a 2nd time"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Greg Bel Aire, KS, United States 02-26-08
    Greg Bel Aire, KS, United States 02-26-08
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    "Glad I listened- but still don't understand"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Suwanee, GA, USA 05-11-07
    Michael Suwanee, GA, USA 05-11-07
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    "Wow!"

    Been intending to read this book for over twenty years. I wish I'd read/listened it sooner. A great story intertwined with some thought provoking ideas on the concept of quality and life. Highly recommended

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah East Patchogue, NY, United States 02-09-06
    Sarah East Patchogue, NY, United States 02-09-06 Member Since 2005
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    "well read!"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Mark Ear Falls, ON, Canada 02-04-06
    Mark Ear Falls, ON, Canada 02-04-06
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    "even bikers read...."

    This book should be required reading in schools. This is the essence of philosophy without putting one to sleep. The author covers so many topics and ties it neatly together in a story that makes the lessons usefuul to all. This is an audiobook that will be reread every other year and you''l learn new things each time....oh yeah, you don't have to be a biker to love this book but it may create an urge for you to get one after.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Indygreg Indianapolis, IN 11-01-04
    Indygreg Indianapolis, IN 11-01-04 Member Since 2001

    IndyGreg

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    "A classic - worth the effort"

    I read this book in college (was a english lit major) and liked it quite a bit. I have listened to it (many years later) and found it even better.
    It is not a light easy read. It can be tough to get through at times. It challenges the reader/listening - but is a very intelligent book. I recommend it to anyone who wants more than a best seller thriller every week (which I enjoy as well) from time to time.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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