I remember reading his first book in college. It was very big, in thought and impact, and discussed endlessly late at night in cruddy apartments. When I was in college, it was important, even for would-be, wanna-be, gonna-be scientists, to Do Philosophy. I think part of that came from this book.
It's funny, or maybe not so, that I remember little about the philosophical content of Zen, although I do remember lots about the philosophy courses I took in college. I do remember the conflict between world perspectives (whole-entity vs. detail oriented), and how working on one's motorcycle taught one a lot about philosophy. Perhaps if the fixation on detail had gotten deeper into my head, I would have been a better scientist. But its too late to run that ceteris paribus experiment.