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About Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (“ZAAMM”), by Robert M Pirsig in 1990 when I was 22. I appreciated it, but could tell that its reach was beyond my grasp.  I picked it up again after talking about it this summer with Jake and it became the seed crystal that reorganized my writing.

On the surface, ZAAMM is an autobiographical story of a father and a son on a Motorcycle ride through Bozeman, Montana to the Pacific Northwest. The father narrates the stops along the road trip.

The narrator uses time riding to tells why he is taking this particular trip into his past – his “Chautauqua.” Pirsig describes it best in this passage:

“What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come to mind. We’re in such a hurry most of the time that we never get much chance to talk.  The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it’s all gone. Now that we do have some time, and know it, I would like to use the time to talk in some depth about things that seem important.

What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua — that’s the only name I can think of for it — like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, this America, the one that we are now in, an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer.

In Zen and the Art of Weekly Accounting – our journey will be on Zoom, not a motorcycle. We will crisscross the country through the numbers and strategy of dozens of emerging companies. We’ll talk about the dreams of founders, along with their pains and foibles – including our own as we build Weekly Accounting, Inc.

Pirsig’s book felt like a graduate course in metaphysics – he calls it the Metaphysics of Quality.

Zen and the Art of Weekly Accounting, in comparison, will feel more like a set of HBS Case Studies of emerging companies.

Our Chautauqua will be the stories of the entrepreneurs we help and our own search for what it means to live a Good Life.  Our Chautauqua will also be random access.  Choose your adventure below.

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