Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

An Inquiry Into Values

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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...

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Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from the world's leading experts.

Ev Williams Co-Founder/Twitter, CEO/MediumRecommends this book

Brad Feld Co-Founder/Foundry GroupI think every entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur should read the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It was written in the 1970s by a guy named Robert Pirsig. It was his first book, it's kind of a hippie philosophy treatised journey. The word that sort of came out of it was Chautauqua, he's like having a conversation with his son as they do a motorcycle trip across the country, and it's just this incredible treatise on philosophy, product, quality, accomplishing what your goal is, against the backdrop of the narrator, the author, going crazy and having a psychotic break. And so... (Source)

Drew Houston CEO/Dropbox[There are] engineers who [dismiss] all these things that can’t be fit into an algorithm, or that don’t have some kind of mathematical rigor underpinning them, [this book] is about that question. (Source)

Tyler Cowen Founder/Marginal Revolution UniversityHonorable mentions: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Joy of Sex, all given to me by my mother. I believe they helped inculcate some of the 1960s-70s ethos of individual freedom into my thinking. (Source)

James Stanley I read it a few years later and found it to be a profoundly interesting book. I ride and maintain motorcycles myself, and the book was spot on about motorcycle maintenance. The book follows a motorcycle journey taken by Pirsig and his son, and talks about philosophy interspersed with anecdotes from the trip. It talks about how, on its surface, any motorcycle maintenance task is just a series of defined steps that must be carried out in order, but when you actually get down to it, you can do any of the individual steps well or not well depending on how good you are or how hard you're trying,... (Source)

Ari Iaccarino I have no favorite book, but I can tell you a particular genre that continues to capture my literary interests: metacognition. Books like The Tao of Physics, Everyday Zen, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Buddhist Biology, Zen and the Brain, and The Physics of Consciousness all run the gamut of challenging and considering to think of how we think. (Source)

Bryan Johnson [Bryan Johnson recommended this book on Twitter.] (Source)

Chris Goward Here are some of the books that have been very impactful for me, or taught me a new way of thinking: [...] Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. (Source)

Josh Waitzkin I think it's one of the most important books ever written by Robert Pirsig. One of the most important books in the world to focus on quality dynamic, finding art in learning [...] really deeply brilliant philosohical book. (Source)

Scott Johnson In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig covers the process by which technical documentation actually gets written and the level of stupidity that it illustrated thoroughly convinced me that documentation for any product I created needed to actually be good and not subject to this type of process. I read this back in 1988 when I first had to write documentation for a product and 30 years later I still remember it. (Source)

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