Israel Retrospective, 16Feb2014: Book Review


Rating this book out of five stars does not seem appropriate somehow. It is a thought provoking book, a book designed to make you think, question, and think again. I got bogged down a bit in the endless discussion of Quality, the “high country of the mind,” and the discussions of Plato and Aristotle. I’ve never liked classical philosophy much.

I thought there were some excellent points about education, the Church of Reason, and the romantic and classical modes of understanding. I certainly fall under the heading of “romantic,” but I make an effort to appreciate the classical. Pirsig’s meditations on these ideas resonated with my own thoughts, and articulated them far better. I’m glad I read this book, though it’s hard to say I “liked” it.

I recommend this book to readers with patience, an appreciation for detail, and a willingness to read with the entire mind. I will probably read it again someday, this time with a pen, and annotate in the margins. It’s the kind of book that invites discussion with the text.

I finished this book today and am still processing it.  Nothing makes me appreciate education more than books like this.  I didn’t always enjoy college, but it is heartening to know that it gave me the tools to read and appreciate books that I might have otherwise given up on.  It is likewise heartening to know that I can, with a little discipline and determination, continue my education simply by reading.

3 thoughts on “Israel Retrospective, 16Feb2014: Book Review

  1. I was just thinking about reading this book yesterday. Someone had mentioned they had a tough time with the way the dad was treating his son, as it seemed like the opposite approach on how similar books teach their lessons. I don’t know. Your review definitely helped push me in the direction of reading it. Nice job!


    • I’m glad I could help! I thought it was a book worth reading, but I can also see how someone might have some trouble with the father-son relationship. You’ll have to read it and decide for yourself. If you like father-son road trips with ambiguous morals and philosophy, you might also like The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s a very different style and setting, but I think it would provide a nice counterpoint to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Happy reading!


      • Thanks…I’ve read The Road and it was a strong note for sure. I’m about done with the Australian Past the Shallows and it has much of the same flavor. I guess I’ll have to tote Motorcycle Maintenance to the TBR list.


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