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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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    135
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    15

Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    80
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    4

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    79
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    5
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  • Overall

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.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Craig
  • Cerrillos, NM, USA
  • 07-02-09

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very interesting look at philosophy

Great book, although the musical interludes are a little strange. I read the full version years ago, it's hard to tell what's been shortened.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A feast for mind and soul

I had read the book a few years ago and hearing it read was a whole different dimension of thought and connection with the author.

Questions I had long ago decided were un-formable (never-mind answerable) are distinctly defined and satisfactorily linked to other questions and epiphanies of my own Chautauqua in fresh new words of R. Pirsig's experience that I often knew what he was about to say before I got to where he wrote it.

Every page just about is rich in insight. I'm anxious to read it .. or maybe hear it read .. again after a time of settling.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Doesn't follow the real story

The audio didn't follow the book. It skipped around and left out complete paragraphs at times. Without all the information, especially in this type of book, you cannot get into the ideas behind it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Classic Story

Would you consider the audio edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to be better than the print version?

It's not better than the written version...reason: reading inserts your thoughts at your pace during the time of life you are reading it. I first read this based on a suggest of a late friend of mine shortly before he had passed away. The audio version allowed me to relive that time without rereading; remembering how dramatic this book impacted my life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All characters great but Chris saw the world through the transition from child to losing his innocence from the world. The world becomes a differnt place as we get older.

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

No other performances but he did a good job transitioning between the stories interwoven in the book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

There is no movie - just a cool poster - please read the book!

Any additional comments?

Next to The Bible this has been one of the most influential books in my life. It transformed my thinking and how I felt life was organized (or disorganized as the case may be). The depths of thought opened my eyes to a world and how I perceived it. I'm glad I took the journey again with the audio book.

  • Overall

My favorite of all time

I learn something new every time I listen. Great story that never gets tired but builds on the nostalgia of the 70s culture. Definitely a zeitgeist kind of feeling to it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful