One of the most overrated
books published in time to be idolised
by my generation. It's chock full of ideas that look great on paper
and completely fail to work in reality, and of small minded
arrogant thinking which gives that extra edge of unpleasantness to teenage wannabe intellectuals
People like it because they think it's deep and the fact that they understand it is a mark of their specialness - a marketing bonanza of the first water. Much of it is chauvinistic in the extreme; the whole opening sequence about the "mental block" people have about motorcycle maintenance - it being of course a crude metaphore for soul searching - is condescending in the extreme, and it gets worse later on, dividing people into different "groups" which are preternaturally good or bad at things... Race, age and gender are not mentioned, but they might as well be.
One of the more famous memes from the book is the idea of education as it includes a system, grading and discipline is a mechanism for stamping down the creative genius of young minds. The idea is that without grades, children and youngsters will be free to develop a genuine interest in the subject matter. It's a flop - I know because I went to a high school that implemented it. It's also put forward in a tone of voice which would earn a sharp ding across the ear from me if used to my face and in its most ironic twist so far had convinced one of my friends that he didn't need to read any book but Z&tAoMM ever again - because after all, all other texts are just after his nubile young brain and he should be wary of any effort at instruction.
It's a stupid and self righteous book - by all means read it, it's worth that if only to provoke thought - but don't bow to it. Adulation is what it craves.