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The Novel

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" was published in 1974 and sold over four million copies til today. It received many awards, for example in 1979 the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letter Award. It is one of the most sold books on philosophy worldwide and an absolute must to read for motorcyclists.

Robert M. Pirsig was born in Minneapolis in the year of 1928. He studied chemistry, philosophy and journalism there and finally eastern philosophies at the Hindu University Benares. Pirsig also worked as an author of numerous technical documentations.

"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" is a novel about a 2800 miles long motorcycle tour from Minnesota to California. But it is not just a motorcycle tour, it is a journey into the past. He once was a totally different person, namely a highly gifted university professor, whose thoughts finally caused him to be on the brink of disaster. At last he had to acknowledge that he would never know everything he wanted to know. The message of the book is how to overcome the conflict between the romantic and the classical world. To achieve this, Phaidros introduces a third world - the world of quality! What is quality? The key word is "better" - quality. The world may function without quality, but life would be so dull, that it would hardly be worthwhile living. The word "value" expresses "quality". Life would be mere existence, without any value, without meaning and purpose. After you have read Pirsigs' book you talk a lot about quality - even though quality very wisely is not defined. You will claim things have quality, things you never would have talked about before. You will ascribe quality to lifestyles, and hopefully you will be able to claim that your friendships and relationships have quality. But you also will be increasingly complaining about the lack of quality of being. More and more often and in various situations you will be heard saying: There is no quality to it. Altogether you will live and work more consciously and you will more aware of differences. And you will understand why this book has become a cult book since its publication in 1974. In the States but also in Old World Europe the has been sold more than 4 million times.