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.


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


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.

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.


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


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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