Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"An unforgettable trip."
Time

Disturbing, deeply moving, full of insights ... a wonderful book
Times Literary Supplement

This book may very well be a profoundly important one – a great one even
New York Times

Mr. Pirsig has written a work of great, perhaps urgent, importance
Observer

"A brilliant and original book ... a pathfinding attempt to examine and solve our contemporary ills. Everybody should read it."
Guardian

The most widely-read philosophy book, ever”
The London Telegraph and BBC Radio

Judging from the title, you’d be forgiven for thinking this book is a light-hearted look at Zen. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a disturbing story,  based on true-life experiences, of the mental breakdown and recovery of a man who happens to have a passion for motorcycles.

The story takes the form of a motorcycle road-trip across the central plains and the Rockies and becomes a text which speaks directly of the confusions and agonies of existence.

The author is riding with a friend who believes motorcycle maintenance should be left to the experts. The author contends that he can do a better job himself and is constantly tinkering with the nuts and bolts of his machine. The metaphor is clear – we need to take responsibility for our own lives – but ironically, it is the author who’s the one recovering from the mental breakdown (of which he has no recollection) and as the road-trip continues, the causes of that breakdown come back to haunt him.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ is widely regarded as a masterpiece, and rightly so, but be warned, it’s heavy going. Some prior knowledge of both Zen and western philosophy makes it easier to get. Still, don’t be put off, it’s a book that everyone who is ‘seeking enlightenment’ should have a crack at. Utterly unique, compelling, challenging and monumental, you’ll be glad you did.

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