Zen And The Art Of Motorcyle Maintenance – An Inquiry Into Values

Author: Robert M Pirsig

Genre: Philosophical fiction, Autobiography

To start with, it has an awesome title with Zen, Art, and Motorcycle maintenance in it. It sounds cool, wise, and highly intellectual at the same time. This book was published in 1974 and has been hailed as massive best seller for decades since its publication. It has inspired millions to seek their own way of life, without having an aversion to technology, nor a naive faith in it. But it was not a sellout success from the day it was written.

It was rejected by 121 publishers. The 122nd Publisher (William Marrow and Co.) believed that the book would be successful. The publisher’s internal recommendation stated, “This book is brilliant beyond belief, it is probably a work of genius, and will, I’ll wager, attain classic stature.”

Now if you are thinking of picking up this book to learn about motorcycle maintenance, you would be a sorely disappointed. Also, if you feel your Zen quotient would rise with some cryptic short zen stories out of this, maybe you will be slightly off. What remains true is that it is an inquiry into values. Values held dear by the author in present and in past and those held dear by other people around him. Like a working parts of motorcycle, this book has many moving parts and is a bit complex. And if you decide to go on the ride, it will be a thrilling adventure and experience which may change you.

This book is a fictionalized autobiography of the author. It sometimes feels like, it is autobiographical novel other times as a novelized autobiography. Some call it a travelogue which develops into a journey of self re-discovery. Along the way the authors makes us stop at several “Chautauquas” which are like community education programs done in US with lot of show and pompous.