Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Published on March 3, 2012

Last night, I finished reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, by Robert Pirsig. What a thought provoking book! It’s essentially an introduction to philosophy, by way of the story of a motorcycle trip that a father (the author) and his son take across the country. The narrative bounces between events of the actual trip and a series of Chautauquas on the author’s nagging question: “What is Quality?” His explorations of what Quality is and what it means for each of us is very intriguing, and has given me some new insights into what I should be striving for in my life.

That said, this book isn’t the easiest read. It’s clearly a volume that warrants a second (and perhaps, third) reading. So much food for thought is presented to the reader, that it becomes difficult to digest. Approach this work with an open mind and with an eagerness to learn. Anything less and you may find yourself bored from the start. If you’re willing to read through it, however, I can guarantee that this book will leave you pondering the same questions that have haunted philosophers all these years.

One other, similar book that I’d like to mention in passing is The Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers. I read this particular title before reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and found it equally as intriguing. This title is an even more difficult work to get into, but there are such gems embedded within it that the work is worth the effort. Although Sayers’s work focuses primarily on creativity and the art of creating, it inevitably ends up treading over some of the same territory that Pirsig’s work does. Quality, it turns out, is at the root of everything; very intriguing stuff.

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