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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance



I am reading that right now, as recommended by I don't know how many people and I have to say that while it started out interesting, I find it increasingly more boring with every page. Which annoys me because it seems that everybody else gets something out of this book that I am simply not.


you are trying too hard. finish the book first. Go back and read sections that pricked your interest or you found absurd (or whatever).


I just cannot understand why people here like that book so much. Maybe it's because of my eastern background and because I drank too much spiritual koolaid when I was younger, but that book is full of the same old eastern mysticism wrapped up in language that probably appeals to philosophical "hackers". I mean, how can you like stuff where the protagonist is being so self-righteous and condescending to a 10-year old?


Can someone summarize this book? I've heard about it a bunch of times, but I don't know what it is about.


The scientific process can be formalized, even taught to a machine, however the hypothesis-generation step is a human, artistic, creative process.

This book is about reconciling this, and thus reconciling rationality, art, and religion with one another, though the religious part isn't touched on all that much. The author goes on to suggest an idea that "quality" is the fundamental force in the universe. As an example of this idea-application in practice, the author says to open the Tao Te Ching and replace "the way"(etc..) with "quality", and then see how much it makes sense.

While insightful, it really is a bit silly. But don't let that get you down on the book -- the book is well worth your time to read. The material is really very interesting. I am certain you will love it.


Thanks very much. I will.


Yes. I think I must have heard this recommended over 10 times but I've never made any effort to get a copy because I'm not interested in motorcycle maintenance. Is that a legitimate reason not to read it?


i'm trying to come up with the right analogy to explain why it isn't and coming up short. if you can imagine a book, work of art, whatever, that explains something other than its obvious subject matter obliquely yet simply & elegantly, this is that sort of book. perhaps analogous to reading some lisp or haskell code that solves a problem you don't care about at all...but realizing that the algorithms were beautiful, appropriate, concise, and powerful despite that? motorcycle maintenance is just a path, metaphor, example used in exploring different outlooks on life (i'd say, the hacker ethic versus the walmart ethic; DIY versus throwaway one-size fits all.)

i am also uninterested in motorized transport in general, but have read that book three times and it is the only book i've ever read twice in a row.


Just finished reading Lila, the sequel.

Describes a very interesting conceptual framework, with a division between intellect, biology and society.

Highly recommended.


This is not a good source of information. The author repudiates the key themes in the sequel.


I think that the book is obviously not true in the sense of being a true/false sort of book. For example, it does not offer a good argument for its views.

However, I think the Chautauqua theme is enlightening. For me, the book was a "mind-shaper", if you'll allow me such a term. It didn't convince me, but what it taught me was tangential to what the book was actually saying.

I guess another way of saying it is that, for me, the journey taught me something very valuable, whereas the destination was a bit silly.




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