I read the book. I had to start it multiple times before I actually got all the through it. Not one of my faves and I remember very little of it now, maybe 15 -10 years later.
Another book that was popular for a bit that I tried to read was Shop Class as Soulcraft. Never finished it. Someone bought it for me I think. It covered things my dad used to talk about (he was a shop teacher BTW) so I had high hopes but once I got into it, it was written way too much like a college thesis for my tastes. Basically the writing style annoyed me enough I gave up on it.
"Rebuilding the Indian" was one motorcycle book I got through the first attempt. Don't remember much of that one either but at least it kept my interest at the time.
Hmm... there was another about a guy that toured Italy on a Vespa. That one was interesting mostly because he went a lot of places I had just been. "Vroom with a view" I think it was called. I remember a few things he wrote bothered me because his experience didn't go along with mine and I thought he was whining. In any case it wasn't the knid of read that changes your life or outlook on things...
I think you got it pretty well, If he talks about zen and riding at all it's in a very abstract way for maybe 1-2 pages. The title is misleading, it's a philosophical discussion as to what constitutes a person's value structure.To be fair, I don't remember Pirsig being so big on the riding as Zen thing. I haven't opened it in 20 years and I'm not completely sure that I ever finished it. My recollection was more a comparison of the guy that bought the best, paid to have it fixed by factory mechanics and enjoyed riding compared to the guy with the Japanese bike that learned to handle his own maintenance and considered it part of the costs and experience of riding. Then the whole thing devolves into comparing what constitutes "Quality" which is Pirsig's Zen buzzword and by his own definition cannot be defined.
To be fair, I can never remember what I actually remember and what came from my Dad when he was handing us the book in the mid-70's and saying "read this"
That is a good point thought, artisan level work is slowly fading away. Partially because it is time consuming and we live in an instant gratification society. Partially because no one is teaching it anymore. For instance, my best friends father is a Master Luthier (guitar builder) one of like 3 in the world who can do what he does (Ren Ferguson, google him if you are interested). Anyway, my friend left a $20/hr job to move home and apprentice under his father. Well his father was all about it at first, then decided he didn't want to share his secrets and such. Needles to say my friend was beyond frustrated. He now lives in North LA and is struggling to get his Ukulele shop off the ground. Meanwhile his father is now VP of Guild Guitars new acoustic dept. Ren is a great guy, but it is the mentality of not wanting to share know;edge that is killing off some the most artistic industries
I dont know the exact details, I have an outside looking in opinion. What I saw was the Ren had told us many times how he had worked hard for decades to get to where he was. Tim (my friend) has quite a lot of natural talent for the work, and I think there might have been some jealousy there. It was only a few years ago that Ren asked Tim to do some inlay work on a fret board, tim found out later that it was for a guitar built for Kiks Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, I think the total value of the thing was north of $30k. Tim made maybe a few hundred off the deal, interesting family dynamic there, long story.I don't know if this is really true. I think we have more artisan level work than we have ever had in history, if you are willing to make some concessions like the use of sewing machine in place of hand stitching. And I think there has been a resurgence to learn new techniques, and to use more technology in new and interesting ways. I think the internet has given rise to independent craftsmen who can make a living at it where as before they could not in all areas of the arts (esp music).
the problem with saying we are loosing skills is we really don't know how many skills have been lost in the past because they don't exist anymore. We know the ancient greeks made computational machines but nobody here has that same skill because it died out. Nor do we need it because we developed other skills that created computers. If you start to think about how many skills are lost to the ages you start to stare into the void of human history.
As for your friend, we don't know the whole story there. Maybe his dad didn't want to teach him because they fought a lot and had different ideals. Who knows.