Scathing Book Reviews of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig is a book that I read on a beach in Italy, drinking a lot of jug wine, at the age of 18. (No, I wasn’t rich – I was in the Army, stationed in Germany and on leave.) That’s probably the ideal age, location and nourishment for the book – which is a very “70’s” quasi-exploration of philosophy enclosed within a memoir of a Motorcyle Trip. I haven’t read it since but it sure seemed good at the time, but then again, with as much wine as I was drinking on that beach, reading the Italian Newspaper Classified section would have seemed life changing. These reviewers give me reason to wonder if it was good as I thought – dare I read it cold sober?

I can find nothing of value here, either philosophically, spiritually, or psychologically. And I still know nothing about maintaining a motorcycle.

…and:

Some say ZaMM was autobiographical. I hope to God that it wasn’t

…and:

Do you enjoy the intellectual depth that greeting cards provide? How about the careful thought that bumper stickers demonstrate? Are you excited by windbags, braggarts, pedants, and Mr Know-it-alls? Do you drool at the thought of yet another dispatch from the me generation, the baby boomers? If so, this book will thrill you.

…and:
Looking for enlightenment, I read it a couple of times and finally realized that there is nothing in it that a thoughtful ten-year old could not come up with.

…and:

This book is obsessive, condescending claptrap, and a self-indulgent attempt to justify obsessive, condescending behavior.

…and:

Zen and the Art of Crap: Yeah: it all makes sense when you get to the part about the author getting shock treatments.

..and this from the “I hope he didn’t actually go through with it” department:

I have thirty pages to go, and I then I’m going shoot myself in the mouth.

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