Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

When Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was first published in 1974, it caused a literary sensation. An entire generation was profoundly affected by the story of the narrator, his son, Chris, and their month-long motorcycle odyssey from Minnesota to California. A combination of philosophical speculation and psychological tension, the book is a...

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Title:Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Author:Ronald L. DiSanto
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Edition Language:English

Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Reviews

  • Thomas Burg

    One of my all time favorite books. A++.

    A hard read, but worth it.

    The book in a single word: life is about QUALITY.

  • Reuel

    A really good book for the culture of the era.

  • Paul Gibson

    A very informative book. This book probes the philosophical influences underlying Pirsig's book.

    This book is to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as Wisdom's Hiding Place is to The Oxbow Revelation.

    This book reads like an introduction to philosophy that is written in such a way as to be accessible to the interested lay reader.

    I do, however, think that the information on Taoism is weak.

    Be aware that about half of the book consists of book reviews and the like.

  • Raine

    Initial Thoughts:

    This book - 50% motorcycle repair/travel manual, 50% philosophical treatise, and 50% psychological horror story - left me with a strange disjointed mix of information and emotion in its wake.

    I gave it a 4-star rating because of the uncanny amount of personal overlap I had with the narrator, who was also a molecular biologist, a philosopher driven by his thoughts (though sometimes to the point of what his peers would call madness), went to the University of Illinois, and had a

    Initial Thoughts:

    This book - 50% motorcycle repair/travel manual, 50% philosophical treatise, and 50% psychological horror story - left me with a strange disjointed mix of information and emotion in its wake.

    I gave it a 4-star rating because of the uncanny amount of personal overlap I had with the narrator, who was also a molecular biologist, a philosopher driven by his thoughts (though sometimes to the point of what his peers would call madness), went to the University of Illinois, and had a passion for motorbikes.

    However, life coincidences aside, this book was the first in my experience to have spelled out a satisfactory resolve to the tension between Aristotelian and Platonic thought that has been raging since the birth and through the rebirth of these movements throughout history. It did take a long time in developing the idea, and the reader should expect to be confusedly left hanging for a majority of the book. As much as this detracts from the philosophical treatise, it adds to the suspense/thriller aspect of the next plot device though...

    As prefaced early in the book, this story has little to do with either Zen or motorcycle maintenance. Aside from its philosophical or practical facets though, the book has an underlying plot of a ghost story which outlines a person haunted by his former persona who was removed by force of electroconvulsive "therapy." His ghost of a self revisits him both to haunt and bestow what seem to him as clairvoyant encounters, though probably more like the instantaneous foreknowledge that one has of his surroundings at the beginning of a dream. All the while, our protagonist simultaneously runs away from and chases toward his past.

    All in all, I learned a lot about the correct mentality to have when approaching DIY motorcycle repair; I was markedly chilled by the encounters with the ghost of Phaedrus; and Last, I was given the missing piece to the puzzle of philosophical cultural analysis that I have been missing for the better part of the last decade. This book is not what you think it will be, so I can at least guarantee that you will be in for a surprise.

  • Nick

    This was not a terrible book. I found a few different insights that I think were stated very eloquently. At the same time, I found there were several points where I was confused.

    For example, part of this journey is for this chautauqua. Yet what is that supposed to mean? Is he actually talking to people or just thinking to himself? Most of that thinking is just recalling things from before, so I don't get what he's actually doing.

    I also found a lot of the philosophical arguments to be confusing.

    This was not a terrible book. I found a few different insights that I think were stated very eloquently. At the same time, I found there were several points where I was confused.

    For example, part of this journey is for this chautauqua. Yet what is that supposed to mean? Is he actually talking to people or just thinking to himself? Most of that thinking is just recalling things from before, so I don't get what he's actually doing.

    I also found a lot of the philosophical arguments to be confusing. The tirades on quality became too abstract, to the point of making no sense. I understand that's kind of the point, as it symbolizes the descent into madness, but then the book becomes impossible to read.

    I think overall the author did a good job combining the present day, past, and philosophy into a single read, but could've done a better job at pacing toward the end.

  • Suza

    Gave up half way.....not feeling it

  • Jamie Walker

    This book was a bit too philosophical for me.

  • Maid4life

    My husband bugged me to read this book. What a disappointment. The author obviously thinks he has a handle on what life is all about, so he uses his main character to spout a plethera of lofty philosophical mumbo jumbo. He thinks he's "waxing eloquent", but it comes across as arogant, egotistical and someone who loves to hear themselves talk, thinking all the time they are imparting pearls of wisdom to all who remain awake while he's doing so.

  • Raydar

    I was a philosophy major, so this is just what I was looking for: Detailed elucidations of the philosophical disciplines, thinkers, and theories Pirsig spoke of and drew upon, and a chance to keep being steeped in the thought-provoking stew of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila, even though this book is not *by* Pirsig.

  • Clay

    After going on my first group ride this past weekend I can relate to the author's romanticizing of taking the road less-traveled.

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