Robert M. Pirsig (1928–2017) was an American author and professor. Pirsig was best known for his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a contemporary philosophical meditation on how to live.
A penetrating examination of how we live and how to live better. A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live.
Shortly after ‘Zen’ was published, Connie Goldman talked with Robert Pirsig at his home in St. Paul, Minn. Pirsig discusses his process in writing the book, at times working four hours before he arrived for his day job writing technical manuals. Originally broadcast on July 12, 1974.
“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 Robert M. Pirsig wrote this unpublished line in 1962 while a patient at Downey Veteran Administration Hospital in Illinois, where he was admitted as a psychiatric patient.
The Seventies bestseller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was the biggest-selling philosophy book ever. But for the reclusive author life was bitter-sweet. Here, he talks frankly about anxiety, depression, the death of his son and the road trip that inspired a classic.
Robert M. Pirsig, whose “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” a dense and discursive novel of ideas, became an unlikely publishing phenomenon in the mid-1970s and a touchstone in the waning days of the counterculture, died on Monday at his home in South Berwick, Me. He was 88.