What is Quality?

zen the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert M Pirsig

My 1979 Corgi edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

“And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good – Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”.
Robert M Pirsig

“Art is anything you can do well. Anything you can do with Quality”.
Robert M Pirsig

“Good is a noun”.
Robert M Pirsig

Robert M Pirsig in 1974 asked “What is quality” in his book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” He himself described the book as an inquiry into values.

This significant book holds a Guinness world record for being rejected by 121 publishers, more than any other bestseller!

Like Pirsig I have a passion asking the same questions he does  –

  • What is art?
  • What is beauty?
  • What is quality?
  • What is natural law?
  • What is truth?
  • What works?
  • What are the values I believe to be self evident?

My blog addresses these questions in an easy non-prescriptive way using anecdotes and examples  rather than debate and content – that way you can draw you own conclusions.

Lynford School in the Natal Midlands, South Africa has what they call the 15 timeless principals. This 2007 version argues that these values are self evident.


  1. There is a God.
  2. Your life has greater purpose than just having fun.
  3. Be honest and trustworthy.
  4. Be well organised.
  5. The greatest joy of your life will come as you help others.
  6. Read books of all kinds.
  7. Be respectful and considerate of other people.
  8. Be responsible, reliable and dependable.
  9. Seek to be excellent in all that you do.
  10. There are absolutes. Some things are just plain wrong.
  11. Be hardworking and diligent.
  12. Express appreciation for things done for you.
  13. Be kind and thoughtful.
  14. Let your family know that you love them.
  15. Be a real friend to your brothers and sisters.