Author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance dies

Author Robert Pirsig and his son Chris in 1968
Author Robert Pirsig and his son Chris in 1968

Sad to hear that Robert M. Pirsig, the American writer and philosopher best known for his “novelistic autobiography” Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has died at the age of 88. Laurel Wamsley reports for NPR:

“Zen was published in 1974, after being rejected by 121 publishing houses. ‘The book is brilliant beyond belief,” wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication. “It is probably a work of genius and will, I’ll wager, attain classic status.’

Indeed, the book quickly became a best-seller, and has proved enduring as a work of popular philosophy. A 1968 motorcycle trip across the West with his son Christopher was his inspiration.”

Pirsig was also the author of Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, published in 1991.


  1. I loved the Zen book, for the practical as well as the philosophical passages. My favorite was his description of how to find the most interesting routes on the map: “The best roads connect nowhere with nowhere and have an alternative that gets you there faster.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear of his passing. I have this book in hard cover. Born in 1960, I was at the perfect age (mid-teens) to fall in love with this book at the time it came out. Can’t imagine how it would hold up, may be one of those things it’s better not to know. 🙂


  3. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was the first novel I read as an adult. I gave a copy to the professor in a class I was auditing on Plato. Pirsig will be missed. Unbelievable that this book was rejected 121 times. No wonder indie publishing is sidestepping the traditional gatekeepers.

    Liked by 1 person

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