Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Famous Rejection #78: Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig’s “Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected so many times that it won a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The book was rejected 121 times, which is more rejections than any other bestseller.
Not only did Pirsig face and overcome overwhelming rejection to his book, but the philosophical novel took him four years to write. He worked during the day as as a writer of computer manuals, and then would work on his own writing from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. before starting his day job.
Pirsig’s is an incredible story of dedication and perseverance.


  1. I just found this site! Good to know that I'm in good company. Thank you! I've been wanting to read "Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and there's no time like the present.

  2. False. Pirsig sent out 121 simultaneous queries. Six publishers responded, and he reached a deal with one. Look it up.

    You can't be blamed for being fooled. This myth can be found scattered all over writer's manuals and magazine articles, until it's regarded uncritically as truth. People like inspiring stories.

    1. New York Times article: