Customer Reviews for

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Average Rating 4
( 249 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(98)

4 Star

(67)

3 Star

(38)

2 Star

(25)

1 Star

(21)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Not Only for Buddhists and Mechanics

The first of Robert Maynard Pirsig's two books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is neither primarily focused on zen nor motorcycle maintenance but is a nonfiction account of the author's search for truth. More symbolic of the manifestation of Pirsig's philoso...
The first of Robert Maynard Pirsig's two books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is neither primarily focused on zen nor motorcycle maintenance but is a nonfiction account of the author's search for truth. More symbolic of the manifestation of Pirsig's philosophies, the concepts of zen and motorcycles are used to demonstrate the author's theories so that the reader can better visualize his ideas. Serving as the book's main organizational device, the motorcycle trip lasts for seventeen days beginning in Minnesota and ending in California. This quest motif seems to be representative of the author's larger search for truth, for identity, and for quality. Interspersed throughout the story of the author's journey through the mountains are what he likes to call Chautauquas: philosophical thoughts pertaining to life, human nature, humanity's relationship with technology, and the ever-elusive concept of quality, which is the book's main focus. The philosophical aspects make the book worth your time and somehow more sophisticated. The narrative aspects provides interest and gives you a break from all the deep concepts presented. The autobiographical aspects cause a relationship between the author and yourself to form. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance can be a perplexing book and a struggle to get through. In the beginning of the book, before you've adjusted to this unusual style of the author, you can't help but wonder as what this book's purpose is, be confused at this structure which you had never seen before, and even question the sanity of the author. Then, as a reader you become accustomed to Pirsig's writing style. You begin to look at things differently, where you don't look so much as to what the words are but what they mean. And after becoming accustomed to his unusual style, you learn to appreciate it. His use of narrative structure makes it seem as if the author is just now experiencing all of these thoughts and discovering all of these truths. Pirsig portrays himself to be in the act of philosophizing, in the act of his experiential struggles, not simply telling the reader afterward when the action is finished and the thought has ceased. As a reader, you feel as if you are experiencing these revelations in concurrence with him. Pirsig invites you to step into the next level of thinking but still allows you to formulate your own personal viewpoints and opinions. He doesn't write above the level of the average person, yet manages to not oversimplify things as if he's addressing ignorance. Before reading this book, I perceived the concepts which he discusses to be way above my level, perhaps because they simply are too complex for me or perhaps because I lack the patience to really sit down and examine them. Somehow, Pirsig made these topics more understandable. However, this is not to be confused with effortless. He does not make the topics easy and simple, but he makes them more accessible to an ordinary person like myself. He allows you to have the opportunity to look at and dissect these things, to relate them to your own thoughts and life, to have its own profound impact on you. There is still much confusion, times of frustration, endless hours of thinking about these concepts that just go around and around in your mind. There is still all of this, but there is no confusion as to what these topics are, just the marvelous confusion of what these topics mean. Personally, my perception of the theme was that changing your concept of the world and of life can change the world and life itself. Looking at things from a different point of view, a point of view not tainted by sociey's perception of right and wrong and normal, a point of view not tarnished by structure and routine, a point of view completely new and fresh, can do wonders. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the type of book that stays with you long after you've finished reading it.

posted by Anonymous on January 13, 2003

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Takes time to warm up to

Right from the start I could tell Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was going to be one of those books with excessive detail that would sometimes be unnecesary. I knew I would need much diligence in reading this book. One of the major themes of the story is find...
Right from the start I could tell Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was going to be one of those books with excessive detail that would sometimes be unnecesary. I knew I would need much diligence in reading this book. One of the major themes of the story is finding a sense of indentity. The narrator struggles with this and finds himself at opposition with Phaedrus, his other personality. Phaedrus is very detached, detailed and stubborn and finds it his desire to seek the truth. The novel is divided into four parts in which the story unfolds. It is the story of a forty year old father and his eleven year old son who take a motorcycle trip from Minnesota through the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and California. They are accompanied for some time by the narrator's friends, a married couple, John and Sylvia Sutherland. Throughout the trip, the narrator feels that it is the perfect time to give these lectures he calls Chautauquas in which he explains such an overwhelming amount of philosophical ideas and analyzes those ideas,. By giving these Chautauquas, the narrator provides us with more and an understanding of how Phaedrus thought and what he thought about. The topics he chooses to talk about are: technology, classical versus romantic understanding, quality, deductive versus inductive logic,caring and attitude, 'gumption', and of course motorcycle maintenance. John and Sylvia are the narrator's victims in his talk about technology. He explains how the effect of technology makes one feel "alienated" and "a stranger in your own land" and how John and Slylvia hate technology and so try to run away from it. The narrator talks about quality but is never able to define it and just states that to achieve quality one must have clarity of mind and the right attitide. He also explains that gumption is encouragement and he provides not only gumption traps but the solutions to those traps. Of course these are very simple explanations of the many topics he has in-depth analyses of. Also, the narrator tends to be in the middle of his Chautauqua and suddenly cuts off to talk about the current motorcycle trip he and his son are taking that the story is supposed to be about. Aside from this inconsistency, he goes into great detail when he analyzes each subject and the book gets a bit confusing to understand and to follow. The flow of the book was not very well planned.One example of unnecesary detail found in the novel as I explained before is in chapter four where the author makes an extensive list of valuable items that should be taken on a motorcycle trip. In doing so he takes up the first half of the chapter giving information that does not directly have to do with what the plot of the story is about. I would not consider this as a book meant to be read by anyone below the college level. The book's 400 pages are packed with complex information that needs a lot of time to fully grasp and appreciate.

posted by 9425749 on August 18, 2011

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 21 – 38 of 38 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 2 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 21 – 38 of 38 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 2 of 2