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Discussion Starter #1
Have any of you read it? What did you think?

A couple of months ago I watched a video on Ben Spies' website


and saw the book on his coffee table. It sparked my interest, thinking it would be cool to read something the Spies was reading to so knowing nothing about the book I found a used paperback copy at the Half Price Books by my place and read it.

Suffice it to say it wasn't as I suspected it to be and kind of wonder if Spies was really reading it or if someone had just put it there becuase they thought it would look cool for the video. (Maybe I'll try and ask him if I see him at Indy next year!) That being said I like what it had to say and have since read the followup book. Lila: An Inquiry into Morals and have moved onto Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Just curious to see if anyone else has read it or the others.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
He really does! Definitely no Rossi or Edwards, Nicky when he's not being interviewed seems to have a normal way about him too.
 

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Zen is one of those gateway books almost everyone reads when they want to get into bikes. At least they used to before the Internet. It was good at putting people into the right frame of mind for tackling jobs that would otherwise seem daunting. What is funny is that the book isnt really about motorcycles or maintenance, it is about living with the after effects of electroshock therapy in the middle of the last century, but somehow the message always comes clear: there is pride in ownership of the work you do, small tasks lead to confidence which leads to bigger tasks, and there is no need to be overly ambitious - just tend to what needs tending to at the time it needs it or slightly before.

Post Internet a lot of motorcycle newbies it's figure the Internet will help you fake it till you make it and ambition wins you fame and a TV show. I think it is one of the bigger sticking points here with the the old guard and the know nothing noobs - they just aren't in the right frame of mind.

By the way, in case you haven't looked it up yet, the bike persing rides is a CB77 superhawk.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The book really did make it useful like you said to get in the right mindset for working on a bike but I really dug the whole philosophy (metaphysics of quality) side of it too there is a lot of things that clicked for me reading the books.
 

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I read it 30 years ago and tried again recently. Have to admit it wasn't my cup of tea.
But, I think I learned what caused my superhawk to
Seize up in 1972.
 

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i think Pirsig is a hack.

i also think Kerouac is a hack too.

to give a little scale....i like Vonnegut, Faulkner, Salinger, Fitzgerald, Ginsberg, and Bukowski (among others).
 

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Too metaphorical for my taste. I got about 6/10 of the way thru, put it down for Graham Hancock's "Supernatural" - a study of paleolithic peoples encounters with mind altering drugs (among other things)- and never looked back.
 

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I love motorcycles and Philosophy and if you read it just as a motorcycle book you're missing it. It does speak to some of the things we experience in owning motorcycles and working on them but it wasn't written as a motorcycle feel good book. It is really a study of rationality and a work towards a "right" attitude and improvement of self. If you aren't used to reading philosophy you'll miss some of the finer points but that shouldn't stop you. Its a good book.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
quote:Originally posted by texmawby

i think Pirsig is a hack.

i also think Kerouac is a hack too.

to give a little scale....i like Vonnegut, Faulkner, Salinger, Fitzgerald, Ginsberg, and Bukowski (among others).
I'll have to do a little looking into those you mentioned Tex. I never thought I would find philosophy/metaphysics interesting (flunked out of Philosophy 101 at UW Madison) but for some reason 10+ years later that book seems to have sparked something.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
quote:Originally posted by TSwami

I love motorcycles and Philosophy and if you read it just as a motorcycle book you're missing it. It does speak to some of the things we experience in owning motorcycles and working on them but it wasn't written as a motorcycle feel good book. It is really a study of rationality and a work towards a "right" attitude and improvement of self. If you aren't used to reading philosophy you'll miss some of the finer points but that shouldn't stop you. Its a good book.
See, that is how I caught it on the first pass and I really dug it for that reason. I'll probably go back and re-read it now that I've read his second book "Lila."
 

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If you want to read some philosophy books just say the word. Really you don't even need any recommendations just look at some of the classics and read them if you haven't alreay. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the possibly the most read philosohpy book with like 5 million copies sold.

Check out The Republic, Plato's Symposium, Plato and a Platypus walk into a bar etc.

One of my favorite books and the beginning of modern philosophy is The Prince by Machiavelli. A must read for anyone in management or politics. And its pretty short.

"It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles."
 

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quote:Originally posted by Geeto67

...good at putting people into the right frame of mind for tackling jobs that would otherwise seem daunting. ...somehow the message always comes clear: there is pride in ownership of the work you do, small tasks lead to confidence which leads to bigger tasks, and there is no need to be overly ambitious - just tend to what needs tending to at the time it needs it or slightly before.
Yep. I adore the whole monologue on Quality, what it is that frustrates 20th C. people, and that they are by and large ignorant of it - a state that is mirrored in his son. So difficult to find the source of that long-endured pain, and how rewarding. Relates easily to motorcycling.

Salinger is a fucking pimp. Can't say enough. I also love Steinbeck.
 

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Steinbeck is my favorite author bar none. I used to think Kerouac was the deepest dude on the planet...then I turned 25. Tried to read a lot of his stuff again and it just sounds like an alky bitching that he never made it as big as his literary friends. Camus was one that seemed to improve as I aged and could understand more. It's a good thing that my high school english teacher encouraged books outside of Pilgrims Progress and Ethan Frome.
 

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18-32 seem to be the age when "zen" strikes the loudest. There are outliers but you have to be in a frame of mind that is searching for your identity for it to resonate. Neither pirsing not Kerouac is a hack, the fans have made these books larger in reputation than they really are but they are still solid works in their own right.

Generally if you are looking for philosophy in the beats, it is burroughs or nothing. Ginsburg and Kerouac are not people I would generally seek life advice from. Branuaghan is pretty good (a confederate general from big sur) - but remember, fiction is not philosophy.
 

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You guys ever read a book thats been translated into english?

give it a shot: Bolano, Grass, marquez, murakami
 

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total sidenote I always had trouble with that book cause I dont really like the zen crap in it I found myself skipping to him wrenching on the bike on the side of the road.. Anyway "Shopcraft as soulcraft" is a lovely read you should all check that out
 

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I read 'Zen' about 25 yrs ago, took almost 2 yrs to get through first two chapters.
I'm having the same problem with 'Shop-craft as soul-craft'
The beginning's are so boring I can't get past them
 

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Shop class is a little too preachy - at least in the beginning.

Buckets, 100 years of solitude and red and black are two of my favorites.
 

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I just finished shop class.
He uses a lot of big words. I know them all, but they seem unnecessary. Good book, overall, though. Same shit I'vebeen preaching for years, though, so felt like I was reading my own shit edited by a an overzealous thesaurus fanatic.
 
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