Sign up ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Over the years I have come across a bunch of book titles and blog posts that goes "Zen and the art of X", and X being any damn thing. What to deduct when you see such a title?

My research lead me to this question, but it is not exactly what I am looking for.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, jwpat7, Robusto, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Mitch Apr 2 '12 at 2:22

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The answer to that question you linked to shows you the source of the meme: Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. – Robusto Apr 2 '12 at 0:02
@Robusto - that's worthy of being an answer. Some folks are not old enough to remember a world before that book. – Kate Gregory Apr 2 '12 at 0:04
@KateGregory: Thanks ... I think. – Robusto Apr 2 '12 at 0:11
@Kate Gregory: Hmm. I only have to type zen a, and Google autocompletes the entire title as its top suggestion (other suggestions include title + quotes, review, etc.). It's general reference and a duplicate. Not quite as bad as asking "Who are the Beatles", but hardly much better. – FumbleFingers Apr 2 '12 at 0:30
"deduct" is not "deduce" ... – GEdgar Apr 2 '12 at 0:33

1 Answer 1

Zen is a way of thinking, steeped in Eastern mysticism and philosophy. Zen and the Art of X simply applies Zen thought to whatever X is. In the case of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the book is a story of the author's cross-country motorcycle trip, heavily peppered with Zen musings.

It's hard to define Zen concisely - it's rather abstract and elusive. I did find this list of quotes related to Zen. (If you read through that list, you might get at least a rudimentary introduction to Zen thought).

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.