Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values is the first of Robert M. Pirsig's texts in which he explores the Metaphysics of quality. The 1974 book describes a journey across the United States, punctuated by numerous philosophical discussions (many of them on epistemology and the philosophy of science) which the author refers to as chautauquas.
The book sold millions of copies in twenty-seven languages and was described by the press as "the most widely read philosophy book, ever."
The title is an incongruous play on the title of the book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. In its introduction, Pirsig explains that, despite its title, "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."