Just finished it today, the story is incredible. The Metaphysics of Quality are a fascinating notion. But more than anything, I see so many parallels with my own life and way of thinking. Being a father, I was deeply moved by the ending. (Oh heck, I'll admit it, I was in tears!)
I was an adolescent when this came out and "borrowed" my father's paperback copy to read it weeks after he did. I've been thinking about the Chitaqua, about quality, about taking responsibility (Beer can aluminum or official BMW shim? Your call. Let someone else think for you? Or take it on your own shoulders?) for over 30 years. As a son, a man, and now as a father, "Zen..." is an old friend and confidant. It was on my mind as I built a framework that supported my bed above my desk- very Sunset Magazine, and endearingly over-designed, in the Sonoma State dorms in the 1970s. It was on my mind as a learned to maintain my VW Rabbit, as I learned the art of electronic and software engineering, as I worked on old cars and old houses. Made, in short, my way through the world. I've given away a dozen or so copies to my son's summer camp councilors, school libraries near and far, and, of course, friends
Personally, this book did not change my life much. I read it long after I had a life changing encounter. Still, it is a good memoir (albeit a philosophical memoir) which can powerfully effect people who are ready for it. Just remember, the author himself admits that the book has almost nothing to do with Zen and not much to do with motorcycle maintenance either. He is telling the truth.