Podcast & Book Reviews

September 6, 2022

Book Review | Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

By Jared Tilley | Senior Investment Analyst at NAOS Asset Management

Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

First and foremost, for the motorcycle enthusiasts, sorry to disappoint but the title is misleading given it contains very little advice on motorcycles or maintenance for that matter.

While the title might be confusing, Nick Sleep from Nomad Investment Partners has been quoted as saying that the book changed his view on the world thus there were high expectations going in.

The book is essentially a collection of ideas and stories combined into one as it follows a father and his son on a journey, yes on a motorcycle, from Minnesota to California in which the narrator embarks on a philosophical journey trying to define “quality” all the while pursuing a ghost of his former self.

The book not only frustrates but also challenges the most basic beliefs as it pushes the boundaries on one’s view on quality and what it means to do mundane actions at the “highest quality”.

At times, the book is tough going but one that is worth a read.

Top three quotes from the book:

  • “Quality is a characteristic of thought and statement that is recognised by a non-thinking process. Because definitions are a product of rigid, formal thinking, quality cannot be defined”
  • “The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality.”
  • “The word quality can’t be broken down into subjects and predicates. This is not because quality is so mysterious but because quality is so simple, immediate, and direct.”

Link to Book


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