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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the multimillion-copy-selling classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an original collection of Robert Pirsig’s writings on the central theme of his thought—“quality”—featuring never-before-seen selections from his unpublished works.

“The ultimate goal in the pursuit of excellence is enlightenment.”

Robert M. Pirsig wrote this unpublished line in 1962 while a patient at Downey Veteran Administration Hospital in Illinois, where he was admitted as a psychiatric patient. More than a decade before the release of the book that would make him famous, Pirsig had already caught hold of the central theme that would animate Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Quality, a concept loosely likened to “excellence”, “rightness”, or “fitness” that Pirsig saw as kindred to the Buddhist ideas of “Dharma” or the “Tao.” As he later wrote in Zen, “Quality is Buddha”.

Though he was hounded by fans who considered him a guru, the famously private Pirsig only published two books and consented to few interviews and almost no public appearances in later decades. Yet he wrote and thought almost continually, refining his “Metaphysics of Quality” until his death in 2017.

Now for the first time, listeners will be granted access to five decades of Pirsig’s personal writings in this posthumous collection that illuminates his thinking to an unprecedented degree. Skillfully edited and introduced by Wendy Pirsig, Robert’s wife of over 40 years, the collection includes previously unpublished texts, speeches, letters, interviews, and private notes (including from Pirsig’s time in the mental hospital), as well as key excerpts from Zen and the Art of the Motorcycle Maintenance and his second book, Lila.

Since its publication in 1974, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has established itself as a modern classic of popular philosophy, selling millions of copies and transforming a generation, while serving as a perennial touchstone for the generations that follow. On Quality is a remarkable addition to the literary and philosophical canon, from one of the most influential thinkers and writers of our time.

©2022 Robert M. Pirsig and Wendy K. Pirsig (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

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Really enjoyed

After reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I really enjoyed the author's letters. Really interesting how yoga, Vedic history and Buddhist theory are all mixed in.

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A Bridge to Knowing Quality

This compilation of excerpts from Pirsig’s writings and presentations facilitates the transition from trying to understand Quality, to Knowing. I would recommend reading or listening to this before reading “Zen” and “Lila” again.

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Don't read before zen and the art of motorcycle...

Don't read this book before zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, as you will not have the required knowledge to understand the concepts fully.
The entire second chapter takes excerpts from the book without the preceding parts and with a great deal of the logic missing in the middle.
As the narrator noted in "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" ... "if I were to babble what's really on my mind about, say, the a priori presumption of the continuity of a motorcycle from second to second and do this without benefit of the entire edifice of the Chautauqua, they'd just be startled and wonder what's wrong."
too much is left out.

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Interesting trip inside an obsessed mind.

Sometimes an idea grabs ahold of you and won’t let go until you follow the Rabbit Trail wherever it leads until you have explored its every nook and cranny.

This is what happened to Pirsig and this little book is a diary of his journey. Reading brief snippets of his letters, speeches and essays was very comforting as I have often found myself in similar mental straits.

His obsession was the word Quality, or Value or Dharma, and he saw it as a Unifying concept that would help him make sense of every aspect of the World around him. Mine is “Truth” and the search has been equally perilous. His search led him across America and Asia, helped him write a best-selling book, got him invited to speak all over the World, and even found him admitted to a Mental Hospital.

Those Rabbit Trails can be hazardous but reading about them was very enlightening and inspiring for this Reader. I thoroughly enjoyed riding along with him. Five Stars *****