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This book has 7 recommendations

Ari Iaccarino (Co-Founder/Ridj-it)

I have no favorite book, but I can tell you a particular genre that continues to capture my literary interests: metacognition. Books like The Tao of Physics, Everyday Zen, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Buddhist Biology, Zen and the Brain, and The Physics of Consciousness all run the gamut of challenging and considering to think of how we think.

Brad Feld (Co-Founder/Foundry Group)

I think every entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur should read the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It was written in the 1970s by a guy named Robert Pirsig. It was his first book, it's kind of a hippie philosophy treatised journey. The word that sort of came out of it was Chautauqua, he's like having a conversation with his son as they do a motorcycle trip across the country, and it's just this incredible treatise on philosophy, product, quality, accomplishing what your goal is, against the backdrop of the narrator, the author, going crazy and having a psychotic break. And so it's this very powerful mix of accessible philosophy, combined with this pretty captivating journey in a book that, again, anybody who builds anything, there's so much in it that's so worth reading and just soaking in. But it's not what you'd expect, it's not a "here's how you do it", you have to read it slowly and think about it. So, it's one of my favorites.

Scott Johnson (Freelance Software Engineer)

In the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig covers the process by which technical documentation actually gets written and the level of stupidity that it illustrated thoroughly convinced me that documentation for any product I created needed to actually be good and not subject to this type of process. I read this back in 1988 when I first had to write documentation for a product and 30 years later I still remember it.

Tyler Cowen (Founder/Marginal Revolution University)

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Joy of Sex, all given to me by my mother. I believe they helped inculcate some of the 1960s-70s ethos of individual freedom into my thinking.

James Stanley (Founder/SMS Privacy)

I read it a few years later and found it to be a profoundly interesting book. I ride and maintain motorcycles myself, and the book was spot on about motorcycle maintenance. The book follows a motorcycle journey taken by Pirsig and his son, and talks about philosophy interspersed with anecdotes from the trip. It talks about how, on its surface, any motorcycle maintenance task is just a series of defined steps that must be carried out in order, but when you actually get down to it, you can do any of the individual steps well or not well depending on how good you are or how hard you're trying, etc. There's a lot of thinking about the concept of "Quality" and how doing a Quality job of something is satisfying and admirable in its own right, and how this can be applied to every aspect of life. Gets a bit weird towards the end, but I got a lot out of thinking about that concept of Quality.

Josh Waitzkin (Author)

I think it's one of the most important books ever written by Robert Pirsig. One of the most important books in the world to focus on quality dynamic, finding art in learning [...] really deeply brilliant philosohical book.

Chris Goward (Founder/WiderFunnel & GO Group Digital)

Here are some of the books that have been very impactful for me, or taught me a new way of thinking: [...] Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Amazon description

One of the most important and influential books written in the past half-century, Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live... and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better. Here is the book that transformed a generation: an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America's Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear - of growth, discovery, and acceptance - that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life's fundamental questions, this uniquely exhilarating modern classic is both touching and transcendent, resonant with the myriad confusions of existence... and the small, essential triumphs that propel us forward.

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See more books recommended by

Ari Iaccarino, Brad Feld, Scott Johnson, Tyler Cowen, James Stanley, Josh Waitzkin, Chris Goward

See more books written by

Robert M. Pirsig


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