Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

ISBN: 0688060692
ISBN 13: 9780688060695
By: Ronald L. DiSanto Thomas J. Steele

Check Price Now


Abandoned Buddhism Currently Reading Ebook Non Fiction Philosophy Religion Spirituality To Read Zen

About this book

When Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was first published in 1974, it caused a literary sensation. An entire generation was profoundly affected by the story of the narrator, his son, Chris, and their month-long motorcycle odyssey from Minnesota to California. A combination of philosophical speculation and psychological tension, the book is a complex story of relationships, values, madness, and, eventually, enlightenment.Ron Di Santo and Tom Steele have spent years investigating the background and underlying symbolism of Pirsig’s work. Together, and with the approval of Robert Pirsig, they have written a fascinating reference/companion to the original.Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance serves as a metaphorical backpack of supplies for the reader’s journey through the original work. With the background material, insights, and perspectives the authors provide, Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is destined to become required reading for new fans of the book as well as those who have returned to it over the years.

Reader's Thoughts

Larry Chaves

Take out the Zen and the motorcycle maintenance parts of this book and it would be a far better story. The afterward is actually my favorite part.

Christopher J Flanagan

An interesting text book and guide to 'Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance' and useful if you need more background to the various philosophies and theologies raised by Pirsig. However, I found a bit dry and long-winded at times, and skimmed through a lot of the pages looking for genuine nuggets of revealing information that could not be found anywhere else.

Paul Gibson

A very informative book. This book probes the philosophical influences underlying Pirsig's book.This book is to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as Wisdom's Hiding Place is to The Oxbow Revelation. This book reads like an introduction to philosophy that is written in such a way as to be accessible to the interested lay reader.I do, however, think that the information on Taoism is weak.Be aware that about half of the book consists of book reviews and the like.

Daniel Ley

Initial Thoughts: This book - 50% motorcycle repair/travel manual, 50% philosophical treatise, and 50% psychological horror story - left me with a strange disjointed mix of information and emotion in its wake. I gave it a 4-star rating because of the uncanny amount of personal overlap I had with the narrator, who was also a molecular biologist, a philosopher driven by his thoughts (though sometimes to the point of what his peers would call madness), went to the University of Illinois, and had a passion for motorbikes. However, life coincidences aside, this book was the first in my experience to have spelled out a satisfactory resolve to the tension between Aristotelian and Platonic thought that has been raging since the birth and through the rebirth of these movements throughout history. It did take a long time in developing the idea, and the reader should expect to be confusedly left hanging for a majority of the book. As much as this detracts from the philosophical treatise, it adds to the suspense/thriller aspect of the next plot device though... As prefaced early in the book, this story has little to do with either Zen or motorcycle maintenance. Aside from its philosophical or practical facets though, the book has an underlying plot of a ghost story which outlines a person haunted by his former persona who was removed by force of electroconvulsive "therapy." His ghost of a self revisits him both to haunt and bestow what seem to him as clairvoyant encounters, though probably more like the instantaneous foreknowledge that one has of his surroundings at the beginning of a dream. All the while, our protagonist simultaneously runs away from and chases toward his past.All in all, I learned a lot about the correct mentality to have when approaching DIY motorcycle repair; I was markedly chilled by the encounters with the ghost of Phaedrus; and Last, I was given the missing piece to the puzzle of philosophical cultural analysis that I have been missing for the better part of the last decade. This book is not what you think it will be, so I can at least guarantee that you will be in for a surprise.

Tim Chizmar

Fun fun fun


After going on my first group ride this past weekend I can relate to the author's romanticizing of taking the road less-traveled.


My husband bugged me to read this book. What a disappointment. The author obviously thinks he has a handle on what life is all about, so he uses his main character to spout a plethera of lofty philosophical mumbo jumbo. He thinks he's "waxing eloquent", but it comes across as arogant, egotistical and someone who loves to hear themselves talk, thinking all the time they are imparting pearls of wisdom to all who remain awake while he's doing so.


I was a philosophy major, so this is just what I was looking for: Detailed elucidations of the philosophical disciplines, thinkers, and theories Pirsig spoke of and drew upon, and a chance to keep being steeped in the thought-provoking stew of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila, even though this book is not *by* Pirsig.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *