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This book is a real classic. If you haven't read it, do it. If you don't like it, do it again. Our civilization is loosing what counts. That's what this book is about. I've read it twice. Think it's time to do it again.



Vlad
 

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It seems interesting to me that two of the best books that have motorcycles in them are Zen and.. and Jupiter''s Travels. In both cases, they'd be first rate, absorbing books, even if the people were travelling by roller skates or ultralights. The specific means of transportation just isn't as significant as the interactions with the people.



Well, all right, I admit that a book titled Zen and the Art of Roller Blade Wheel Repair wouldn''t sell many copies.
 

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To follow up on the secondary human character in the book and Pirsig's real-life son ,Chris . Was He killed in the last 5-10 years . I vaguely remember hearing something about that on the news. Anybody know?
 

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I read this book as an 18 year old, the summer I bought my first motorcycle and before I enlisted in the Marine Corps.



It's a good first step in a man's search for meaning- I say man's because the book has a distinctly male voice. It has much to say, and gives the reader much to digest, in spite of the above anonymous poster's valid critique noting the book's tendency to ramble.



I like the book because, while it faults much of our culture's values, it still tresures the good things it produces, be it western culture's dedication to reason and detail or that best of all good things, the motorcycle.



I never could figure out what kind of bike he had- was it a BSA? Triumph? He describes it as a twin-cylinder bike with about 28 horsepower, but never states the make, even though he mentions another character's BMW R60. That always bothered me, for some reason.



But this is a book to be read. I pity those who haven't read it, and mistrust those whose's lives were not, in some way, affected by it.
 

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Yes! He was murdered in San Francisco in 1979. I ride past the spot where he was killed quite frequently (Page and Laguna streets) and think about the book.
 

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Re: Zen and the Art

Only on Motorcycle Online! What a hang-out!!!

It's like the old coffee house, now.

I read this book what seems like eons ago. Enjoyed much of it, although like many folks here, I found it tedious and rough-going at times. There seems to be a little bit of something there for many different types of people. I remember mostly his passages about teaching others how to write and look at a given moment. But really, have we become disconnected from the zen of life because we can not fix the things we own? The nature of genius still remains elusive. He questions our disconnection with life as humans and shows us ways to re-connect .

I remember images from the back of a motorcycle: sunset and the red winged-tipped blackbirds hovering over marsh grasses.
 

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Interesting Marc. I have a different take on the importance of quality. I really don't think Pirsig wanted the reader to spend too much time contemplating the concept of quality. That concept was just a tool he used, something that we take for granted that a person predisposed to insanity could latch on to and obsess over to the point of loosing touch with reality. He could have just as easily built the obsession around regret, or character.



Another interesting thing about this book is that you understand while reading that it was written in a different era. At one point in the story it is time for an oil change in the motorcycle. This is an early sixties Honda so there is no filter to deal with, no fairing to remove. Just unscrew the drain plug and dump the oil on the ground, screw in the plug and pour in more oil. No one would confuse this book with Silent Spring!
 

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I disagree. Zen and the Art is not about riding itself. Riding is fun; people love to do it. It's about the necessary side-things to what we love. Fixing a bike (and finishing the project) so that you can ride it; maintaining a relationship with someone through hard times. Remember his chautauqua on gumption traps--I think that was one of the most important in the book.
 

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Zen and the Art of Total Boredom

Love a good read, but didn't feel this was it. Was so boring and pointless, couldn't get halfway through it. True, there are those that can't finish the articles in The Enquirer without help, but I'm not one of them, and I still think the book sucks. I would rather LIVE life, than sit around thinking about it. I think the guy was still psycho while he wrote it. You want a good motorcycle-related read? Try getting Motocourse every year, as I have since '83. Technical articles about the equipment and rules, excellent photography, all the results from all the roadracing across the world, and very well written to boot. Enjoy!
 

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One of the best books I've ever read, and one which helped me understand more about what makes people tick. I bought this book in high school, thinking it would be a fun book but was surprised to find something much deeper-too deep at the time. I picked the book up again in college and was fascinated by it. That copy is old and tattered with page after page marked with fading yellow highlighter. I took a couple of philosphy classes in college and ZAMM seem less philosophical and more personal in comparison. Wondeful book.
 

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I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when it was first published, and I lived in semi-hippie status on the Monterey Peninsula. I have re-read the book several times since, and have gotten something new from it with each new reading. Some of the philosophical parts get tedious, but overall it is a treasure, worth coming back to again and again. A good book to take along on a long vacation ride.

The only work that comes close to Zen is Rebuilding the Indian, by Fred Haefele, which addresses some similar themes, but without Pirsig's philosophical baggage.
 

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One thing you have to understand here is that women are smarter than men. That includes girlfriends, wives and ex-wives. Your ex-wife dislikes your entrails and it is her most fervent desire that you never climb out of that piss hole that you call a life. She knows that reading Zen would enlighten you and therefore suggested you do so knowing full well the mere suggestion from her would seal off the possibility of health and happiness for you in the future.
 

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All I know is that he was an art student, and he was stabbed. I don't think they ever found the killer(s).



There's more stuff about Chris in Pirsig's follow-up book, Lila. It's equally weird and depressing, but not as meaningful or lucid.
 

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Re: Zen and the Art of Total Boredom

Huh? One thing I've noticed over the years about philosyphers: they are all underachievers. No one looks at an amazing bridge or building, and says: Wow, what a wonderful bridge, I'll bet a philosypher built that. It seems more a pastime for those that would ponder, rather than do. Those that live life would rather see the BIG PICTURE, rather than exaine the insignificant details. Whatever floats your boat. I'll tell you how my ride was, and you can tell me how you think a ride should be, and what it means to the universe.
 
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