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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
by Robert M. Pirsig

(Audio)

I hardly ever give up on books, but I gave up on this one during disc 4 of 12, I believe. I ended up listening to the last disc as well, so I know how it ends. I shouted "I hate this book!" so many times while listening to it and, finally, just gave up. What did it for me was the patronizing explanation of how the scientific method works, the depiction of people working factory jobs as a mindless part of the "system," and the part explaining that women are incapable of thinking logically and therefore would never understand how things like machines work. UGH. Add in the fact that the author feels the personality of someone else is inside him and it all comes out to a book that is just plain painful for me to read.

I found myself drawn more to the narrative of his trip than the philosophy portions. However, that really wasn't much better. All he does is insult his friends and his son, criticizing their choices, attitudes, reactions to surroundings and situations, but also the way their brains work. I don't even know these people and I felt bad for them. Then I started to long for the philosophy/zen moments just to give these poor people a break from his rudeness. But when those stretches came, I quickly lost patience there as well.

This is just not the book for me. I'm sure it's filled with a load of interesting advice that, when applied to people in a specific mindset or culture or place in their life, it could be just what they're looking for to help them explore more about the world and human nature. But it was just not for me. Which is disappointing, as a writer in my roundtable group keeps recommending it to me. Oh well, at least I gave it a fair shot.



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