File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
The moose likes Meaningless Drivel and the fly likes Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Other » Meaningless Drivel
Bookmark ""The River Why" vs. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"" Watch ""The River Why" vs. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"" New topic

"The River Why" vs. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

paul wheaton

Joined: Dec 14, 1998
Posts: 20970

I tried "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" about six years ago. I really liked the first 30 pages or so as it built the foundation: as people that ride motorcycles a lot, you choose to either learn how to be your own mechanic (risky) or to find somebody else to be your mechanic (a different flavor of risk).

But about a third of the way through the book, it started getting too.... weird ... for me. I thought it might just be a bump in the book, so I started skipping pages and then dropped the whole thing.

A week ago I finished "The River Why". A gift from a friend. I was telling my friend a couple of years ago about a book I was reading about a fisherman - and how the book seemed to have a sort of spiritual edge. She said "Oh, 'The River Why'" ... nope. (I really wish I could remember the name of the other book about a fisherman)

I read "why" all the way to the end. No problem. Pretty amazing. The book takes place in oregon, starting with a woman from eastern oregon (where I'm from) that seems normal and a man from portland oregon that seems powerfully stuffy. They are both keen on fishing, but she fishes only with bait and he fishes only with a fly. The fight all the time. But when they get within two feet of each other, a powerful chemistry takes over.

Then the book follows their son.

The book is loaded with humor and is a fun, easy read. At the same time, the boy explores spirituality as it relates to his passion for fishing. And there is, of course, a love interest. And a lot of interesting characters with a lot of interesting stories.

Over all, I thought the book was extremely good. And I'm finding I'm having a really hard time explaining why.

permaculture Wood Burning Stoves 2.0 - 4-DVD set
Pat Farrell

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659

I've read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" three or so times. The first time I tried, I could not get through it. Its both a philosophy book, and a story of a smart guy who rides motorcycles who goes crazy. Since I considered myself a smart guy who rode (and raced) motorcycles, that second part hit too close to home.

The second time I started it, and the first time I finished it, it took me a fairly long time to read it. Several weeks, maybe a month. But I loved it.

It was assigned in a class when I was in Grad School, and I re-read it in just a few days.
Richard Golebiowski
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2010
Posts: 213

I read "Zen" with no problem, but the philosophical parts do get a bit heavy. Another book I enjoyed along the same line that deals with philosophy and relationships is "The Starship and The Canoe"
Peter Rooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 817

I'm no expert - but *maybe* working in software (science) conditions us - so we then find it difficult to understand books like these!
Never read "Zen", and maybe I should! I do own a Ducati so I'm just never going to service it myself - its too complex!

Regards Pete
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: "The River Why" vs. "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
It's not a secret anymore!