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4.1 out of 5 stars 331 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company (1 May 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001I8ETFA
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (331 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 799,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

English book

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 May 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before reviewing Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, let me mention that most people will either love or hate the book. Few will be indifferent.
Those who will love the book will include those who enjoy philosophy, especially those who are well read in that subject; people who ride and maintain their own motorcycles; readers who are interested in psychology, particularly in terms of the mass hypnosis of social concepts; individuals who are curious about the line we draw between sanity and insanity; and people who want to think about how to deal with troubling personal situations, especially as a parent. As someone who has all of these interests and perspectives, the book fit my needs very well.
Those who will dislike the book are people who like lots of action in their novels, dislike the subjects described above, and who want easy reading. This book is very thick with concepts, ideas, metaphors, and layering which reward careful reading and thought. Most text books are considerably easier to read and understand. Few modern novels are any more difficult to read from an intellectual and emotional perspective.
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Format: Paperback
A father taking his son on a motorcycling trip begins a discourse - he calls it a 'chautauka' - on the nature of 'quality' - that is, human values. What is good and what is bad? How do we know the difference? He examines the two ways that human beings look at the world - the Classical and the Romantic. The Classical divides the motorcycle (for instance) into its components. The Romantic only sees the complete and finished motorcycle. These two ways of looking at reality are both typically human, but are entirely incompatible. We gradually learn, though, that within the motorcyclist's journey there is a deeper journey. He has also come to look for Phaedrus - the character he used to be as a young post graduate student. As the story and the discourse unfold on different levels, we discover that 'Phaedrus' became obsessed with the idea of reconciling these two sets of values - a quest that took him deep into philosophy and eventually to such strange paths that he stepped outside the 'Church of Reason' and was considered insane. After treatment in a mental institution, his Phaedrus personality was removed, leaving him with only the relics of what he used to be and know, like archaeological ruins in a field. The journey, on a third level, is not only to rediscover Phaedrus but also to piece together from these 'ruins' the conclusions he came to. Finally he presents us with an entirely new 'third' way of looking at reality. Whether you accept his conclusions or not (the moral philosopher Mary Midgley gives the idea very short shrift)this book is a brilliant achievment - sad, funny, wise, moving, uplifting, enlightening - it works on many different levels. It is certainly the book I would want to take with me on a desert island.
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Format: Paperback
A father-and-son tour across the States, deep philosophical ponderings and a tale of personal tragedy combine to form one of the most wonderful true-story books I've ever read.
Throughout most of its length, the book drops fleeting hints of the grief of the Author's past, a terrifying insight into a broken family and a broken mind. But be warned - the warm, bucolic paragraphs of pine forests and fresh air interspersed with the longer tracts of profound philosophical insight will cause you to lower your guard - leaving you exposed and utterly gripped towards the end as the Author reveals the tragic truth to his son...
I can't believe how some snobby reviews belittle this book - maybe its because Phaedrus, the central character, often speaks of attacking the self-opinionated intellectuals of the philosophical establishment. In any case, if you are not a narrow-minded professor who thinks he knows it all, and you are interested in a realtively easy-to-read yet utterly profound and original work, then you will not be dissapointed. If you can handle the heart wrenchingly sad afternotes, get the 25th anniversary edition, its worth every penny. This book is just beautiful but be prepared for tears
Reviewers note: The overuse of the word 'Quality' in this book may irk some readers, especially in this day and age now that the word has aquired a negative stigma due to it being hijacked by the various 'quality' standards bodies throughout the world. Read 'quality' to mean 'the metaphysical properties of goodness' or even sometimes as 'the meaning of life' - on no account does Pirsig mean 'the measure of having been produced according to consistent but irrelevant procedures', nor even 'how well something performs according to its purpose.
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