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Man's Search For Meaning, Gift Edition PDF, ePub eBook A new gift edition of a modern classic, with supplemental photographs, speeches, letters, and essays   Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir of life in Nazi death camps has riveted generations of readers. Based on Frankl’s own experience and the stories of his patients, the book argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, a A new gift edition of a modern classic, with supplemental photographs, speeches, letters, and essays   Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir of life in Nazi death camps has riveted generations of readers. Based on Frankl’s own experience and the stories of his patients, the book argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward. Man’s Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books of our times, selling over twelve million copies worldwide. With a foreword by Harold S. Kushner, Frankl’s classic is presented here in an elegant new edition with endpapers, supplementary photographs, and several of Frankl’s previously unpublished letters, speeches, and essays. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Man's Search For Meaning, Gift Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    After I read this book, which I finished many, many years ago, I had become self-critical of any future endeavours which would take up a lot of my time. I would ask myself "is this or will this be meaningful to me?", and if the answer was "no", I wouldn't do it. It was this book that influenced me to consciously live as meaningful a life as possible, to place a great value on the journey and not just the destination, while knowing that "meaningful" doesn't always mean "enjoyable". "Meaningful" s After I read this book, which I finished many, many years ago, I had become self-critical of any future endeavours which would take up a lot of my time. I would ask myself "is this or will this be meaningful to me?", and if the answer was "no", I wouldn't do it. It was this book that influenced me to consciously live as meaningful a life as possible, to place a great value on the journey and not just the destination, while knowing that "meaningful" doesn't always mean "enjoyable". "Meaningful" should be equated with "fulfilling". So I studied Physics instead of Engineering. I went to York U instead of U of T. I went to Europe instead of immediately entering the workforce after graduation. I want to recommend this book to all of my grade 12 students.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laurel

    I read this book for the first time during my senior year in high school. The year prior, I had gone to Germany for spring break with some fellow classmates. During the trip, we spent a day visiting a former WWII concentration camp in Dachau. As one might expect, this visit had a profound effect on me. I had of course read and knew about the atrocities that occurred under the Nazi regime, but to actually see the gas chambers in person is a deeply haunting and disturbing experience. Perhaps for t I read this book for the first time during my senior year in high school. The year prior, I had gone to Germany for spring break with some fellow classmates. During the trip, we spent a day visiting a former WWII concentration camp in Dachau. As one might expect, this visit had a profound effect on me. I had of course read and knew about the atrocities that occurred under the Nazi regime, but to actually see the gas chambers in person is a deeply haunting and disturbing experience. Perhaps for this reason, Frankl's book affected me even more deeply than it otherwise might have. The book is divided into two parts. The first section recounts in vivid detail Frankl's horrifying experiences as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. Frankl, a former psychiatrist, also describes his observations of other prisoners and what he felt to be the main way in which people tried to cope with the insurmountable obstacles they faced. He found that those who could find meaning or purpose in their suffering were the ones who also seemed better able to find the strength to go on. As I recall, Frankl personally found his purpose in the hope of someday being able to see his wife again - a hope that was strong enough to get him through the daily horrors he faced. The second half of this book is devoted to the therapy he developed based on the search for meaning, which he calls logotherapy. The basic premise is that those who can find meaning in their suffering are better able to cope with what would otherwise be a struggle too hard to bear. As one who majored in psychology, I found this section as fascinating as the first. I have read this book at least three times now, and it is one of the few books I can say truly changed my life. I am ever grateful that I have the wisdom of this book to fall back upon when needed. Several years ago, at a very young age (in my 20s), I became ill with a disease that left me bedridden and barely able to speak above a whisper. Now 36, I am still bedridden and fighting the same battle. It is Frankl's reminder to find meaning and purpose in suffering (which I found in the love of my fiancé and my hope of recovery) that has helped me to get through each difficult day. As Frankl tells us, "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." I highly recommend this book!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    P-eggy

    How is it possible to write dispassionately of life in a concentration camp in such a way as to engender great feeling in the reader? This is how Frankl dealt with his experience of those terrible years. The dispassionate writing makes the horrors of the camp extremely distressing, more so than writing that is more emotionally involved. It is almost reportage. The first half of the book is equal in its telling to The Diary of a Young Girl in furthering our understanding of those dreadful times. T How is it possible to write dispassionately of life in a concentration camp in such a way as to engender great feeling in the reader? This is how Frankl dealt with his experience of those terrible years. The dispassionate writing makes the horrors of the camp extremely distressing, more so than writing that is more emotionally involved. It is almost reportage. The first half of the book is equal in its telling to The Diary of a Young Girl in furthering our understanding of those dreadful times. There are occasional glimmers of humanity from the Germans. These are so small that rather than illuminate any basic goodness, they cast further into the shadows the terror of living in a place and time where death might be a beating or a shot to the head at any moment. There are also stories of the depths that some of the Jewish victims would sink to in what they would do to stay alive themselves. It made me think that rather than condemn these people for becoming tools of the Nazis, what would I do faced with death or the chance to stay alive a little longer and maybe save family or friends. 7 stars, golden stars for this half of the book. The second half is about Frankl's psychotherapeutic methods and lost me in boredom. I did read this in its entirety but it wouldn't have spoiled the book, or my appreciation of the genius retelling and brilliant writing of the first half, if I hadn't.

  4. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    What is it that makes life worth living? Is it the pursuit of happiness? Attaining success? As human beings living in a vast and endless universe (or multiverse for that matter), what are we actually living for? I, for one, cannot answer those particular questions for you but know that I am also one of those who is searching for answers, trying to look for ways to make sense out of life, the numerous paths we've all trodden as well as the roads we haven't taken. We look backwards rummaging throu What is it that makes life worth living? Is it the pursuit of happiness? Attaining success? As human beings living in a vast and endless universe (or multiverse for that matter), what are we actually living for? I, for one, cannot answer those particular questions for you but know that I am also one of those who is searching for answers, trying to look for ways to make sense out of life, the numerous paths we've all trodden as well as the roads we haven't taken. We look backwards rummaging through our past examining our own mistakes, failures, and losses and what we could've done to correct those that which cannot be changed. We yearn for the truth about our own existence where pain, suffering, loss, and even death is inevitable, but amidst those darkest moments, we rise above those conditions and grow beyond them as Frankl puts it, "'Et lux in tenebris lucet' — and the light shineth in the darkness." What is the meaning of life — "a naïve query which understands life as the attaining of some aim through the active creation of something of value." Or perchance, we've been asking the wrong question after all? "Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. Thus, logotherapy sees in responsibleness the very essence of human existence." Man's Search for Meaning was a transformative and life-affirming read. Brimming with illuminating insights, Frankl explores, analyses, and shares his harrowing experiences in a concentration camp during Hitler's reign. More than that, he delves into numerous ways in how he sees suffering and pain as a part of life. By employing logotherapy, he offers us ways to discover meaning in our lives by creating a work or doing a deed; by experiencing something or encountering someone; and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. "If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete. [...] It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning. But let me make it perfectly clear that in no way is suffering necessary to find meaning. I only insist that meaning is possible even in spite of suffering—provided, certainly, that the suffering is unavoidable." These philosophical truths and therapeutic method hit close to home. For someone who has been wandering and wondering about "meaning", this gave me a better understanding about life, offered me a glimmer of hope, and provided an enormous relief. Being diagnosed with depression a year ago, I asked my psychiatrist what was the meaning of life. He provided a rather straightforward answer, "It is up to you to search for it as it will be a lifelong journey of exploration." After reading this book, I realised my doctor was correct after all, but I was hoping that he could elucidate more than that. "For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment." Frankl also affirmed my belief that my condition stems from having an existential crisis, haunted by having an existential frustration and a void within that represents my inner emptiness, to which I say that in cases such as mine, logotherapy would be perfect, but I'm not discrediting psychotherapy for it has its own uses and benefits too. "Such widespread phenomena as depression, aggression and addiction are not understandable unless we recognize the existential vacuum underlying them. This is also true of the crises of pensioners and aging people." I couldn't recommend this book highly enough for philosophical thinkers and readers, those who are struggling with their mental health that deeply stems from having an existential crisis, those who feel hopeless due to a fate that cannot be changed, and for those who want to have a meaningful life. "He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How." Audiobook rating (narrated by Simon Vance): Narrative voice & style - ★★★★ Vocal characterisation - ★★★★★ Inflexion & intonation - ★★★★ Voice quality - ★★★★ Audiobook verdict - ★★★★ (Great performance, highly recommended!)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pouting Always

    The original part one was the strongest I think because the rest started to go into the typical psychobabble inherent to books trying to contribute to the academic side of psychology or psychiatry but the first part really grounded the idea of giving meaning to one existence into personal experience and I found it very poignant about the mental state of people in very stressful and hopeless situations. It's a very empowering and important idea that no matter the situation a person can control th The original part one was the strongest I think because the rest started to go into the typical psychobabble inherent to books trying to contribute to the academic side of psychology or psychiatry but the first part really grounded the idea of giving meaning to one existence into personal experience and I found it very poignant about the mental state of people in very stressful and hopeless situations. It's a very empowering and important idea that no matter the situation a person can control their behavior and influence their own feelings of the situation. This idea of a person having so much control over their own selves and survival is one I whole heartedly agree with. Anyone having trouble figuring out life or what the point is could benefit from reading this I think.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Riku Sayuj

    For most of the book, I felt as dumbfounded as I would have been if I were browsing through a psychiatric journal. Filled with references and technical terms and statistics, it was mostly a book-long affirmation of the then innovative technique called 'logo-therapy'. I do not understand how this book is still relevant and found in most popular book stores. It might have been that the book was popular in the sixties and seventies as it offered a powerful and logical argument against the reduction For most of the book, I felt as dumbfounded as I would have been if I were browsing through a psychiatric journal. Filled with references and technical terms and statistics, it was mostly a book-long affirmation of the then innovative technique called 'logo-therapy'. I do not understand how this book is still relevant and found in most popular book stores. It might have been that the book was popular in the sixties and seventies as it offered a powerful and logical argument against the reductionist approach that leads inevitably to existential nihilism, but is that still relevant today? It also attempts to free psychiatry from the belief that 'eros' was the cause of all neurosis and turns the flashlight on repressed 'logos' - which forms the premise of the book and the title. But, while the basic premises are powerful and moving, the breadth and scale of repetition of the same ideas and the technical jargon and the constant Freud-bashing ensured that I did not enjoy the book as much as I had hoped. Furthermore, the whole chapter dedicated to the theory that ultimately our basic necessity of 'search for logos' can also be explained as a 'repressed religious drive' and his exhortation to religious people to not look down on irreligious ones (read atheists and agnostics) just because they have achieved a stage that the atheists/agnostics are still aspiring (unconsciously of course) towards rang patently false and too much in line with his argument of psychiatry being a sister to theology. I wish Frankl had stuck to his original title of 'The Unconscious God' - it would have been more representative of the book as his 'logos' argument directly derives from his postulation of a transcendent unconscious super-ego that trumps Freud's 'Super Ego' and a spiritual cum instinctual subconscious that trumps Freud's 'id'. Unless you are looking for a historical perspective on the technical aspects of psychiatry and about the origins of 'logo-therapy', I would not recommend this book, especially for general reading. If you pick up this book, like I did, in the hope that it is about Frankl's personal quest for meaning amidst the horrors of Auschwitz with a strong scientific perspective, you will be disappointed to find that you have picked up a medical journal that is pedantic and repetitive, with hardly any reference to Frankl's personal journey or about how he evolved his theory and practices (that did transform many lives) based on his experiences.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    This is a short but extremely intense book, first published in 1946. It begins with the author's experiences in four (!!) different German concentration camps in WWII, including Auschwitz, and how he coped with those experiences -- and saw others cope with them, or not. He continues in the second half of this book with a discussion of his approach to psychiatry, called logotherapy, based on the belief that each person needs to find something in his or her life, something particular and personal This is a short but extremely intense book, first published in 1946. It begins with the author's experiences in four (!!) different German concentration camps in WWII, including Auschwitz, and how he coped with those experiences -- and saw others cope with them, or not. He continues in the second half of this book with a discussion of his approach to psychiatry, called logotherapy, based on the belief that each person needs to find something in his or her life, something particular and personal to them, to give their life meaning. We need to look outside ourselves. There is nothing in the world, I venture to say, that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is meaning in one's life. There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how."The first half of the book is completely absorbing, fascinating reading. When I tried to read the second, more academic part of it years ago, I floundered (I don't think I ever got through to the end). But I stuck with it this time and found it truly rewarding. The second part did sometimes challenge my brain cells with concepts like this:I never tire of saying that the only really transitory aspects of life are the potentialities; but as soon as they are actualized, they are rendered realities at that very moment; they are saved and delivered into the past, wherein they are rescued and preserved from transitoriness. For, in the past, nothing is irretrievably lost but everything is irrevocably stored.I had to read that one two or three times before I felt like I really grasped what Frankl was saying. And this one:Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!I assume it's to help give us motivation to avoid making a wrong choice, by thinking through the likely consequences of what we are about to do. But there are so many nuggets of wisdom in this short volume. A few things that really impacted me:We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. ... In accepting this challenge to suffer bravely, life has a meaning up to the last moment, and it retains this meaning literally to the end. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.Inspiring words; inspiring life. Bonus material: Here is an interview with Viktor Frankl when he was 90 years old. He died just a couple of years later. #16 of 24 in my 2016 Classics Bingo Challenge. 2/3 done!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    After the Book of Mormon, this would be my second recommendation to anyone looking for purpose in life. Here's a poignant excerpt from one of my favorite parts of the book when Frankl has been in Auschwitz and other camps for several years and doesn't know the war is only weeks away from ending. He had decided to escape his camp near Dachau with a friend and was visiting some of his patients for the last time. "I came to my only countryman, who was almost dying, and whose life it had been my ambi After the Book of Mormon, this would be my second recommendation to anyone looking for purpose in life. Here's a poignant excerpt from one of my favorite parts of the book when Frankl has been in Auschwitz and other camps for several years and doesn't know the war is only weeks away from ending. He had decided to escape his camp near Dachau with a friend and was visiting some of his patients for the last time. "I came to my only countryman, who was almost dying, and whose life it had been my ambition to save in spite of myself, but my comrade seemed to guess that something was wrong (perhaps I showed a little nervousness). In a tired voice he asked me, 'You too, are getting out?' I denied it, but I found it difficult to avoid his sad look. After my round I returned to him. Again a hopeless look greeted me and somehow I felt it to be an accusation. The unpleasant feeling that had gripped me as soon as I had told my friend I would escape with him became more intense. Suddenly I decided to take fate into my own hands for once. I ran out of the hut and told my friend that I could not go with him. As soon as I had told him with finality that I had made up my mind to stay with my patients, the unhappy feeling left me. I did not know what the following days would bring, but I had gained an inward peace that I had never experienced before. I returned to the hut, sat down on the boards at my countryman's feet and tried to comfort him..." I found such strength and wisdom in this book--strength and advice for me as a mother of five young children. While potty training, bending over to clean up a handful of toys for the the thousandth time that day, scraping Play Dough off of a filthy kitchen floor on hands and knees, and preparing the fifth snack of the day for several hungry mouths (directly after doing the dishes from the previous snack) I find the text of this book to give profound meaning to small and simple acts of selflessness, patience, and service. What a profound reminder that "The immediate influence of behavior is always more effective than that of words." I desperately needed to read this book, if only to remember to be calm and kind to my little ones so that they will pass on the favor to their own next generation. Bravo to Viktor Frankl for bringing human frailty and greatness into perspective. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms--to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." -Frankl

  9. 5 out of 5

    Francisco

    This book stands out as one of the most helpful tools I've found in my life-long search for the way to live and be useful to others despite depression. As opposed to Freud, who believed that the primary drive in man, the most urgent motivation, was pleasure, Frankl believes that it is meaning. Now meaning for Frankl is not something abstract and airy and noble but rather something very concrete and specific to your life - what is the task that life asks of you that only you can do? Look at the c This book stands out as one of the most helpful tools I've found in my life-long search for the way to live and be useful to others despite depression. As opposed to Freud, who believed that the primary drive in man, the most urgent motivation, was pleasure, Frankl believes that it is meaning. Now meaning for Frankl is not something abstract and airy and noble but rather something very concrete and specific to your life - what is the task that life asks of you that only you can do? Look at the circumstances of your life, look at your talents and the people that surround you. Where is the need that is calling for you to respond? For Frankl, the hope that kept him trudging on day by day in the concentration camps was the need to re-write the manuscript (taken away when first imprisoned) where he could present to the world his theory of Logotherapy. Why I found this book so helpful in my struggles with depression is because one of the rock-bottom places where depression can take you is despair. Despair is the absence of hope. The search for meaning, for a response to something life is asking of you, is the place where hope is born. Frankl states that hope, like genuine laughter or like faith or love is not something that we can will into being. We cannot make hope appear willy nilly in our lives because hope is more than a nice thought, it is, like true love something that involves your whole being. I find this to be true but there are things that we can do to prepare the way for hope's arrival and hope will come, it will always come. We can search for meaning because searching and looking and asking and expecting are acts and attitudes that we can will. Meaning, according to Frankl is found in three different forms. Meaning is found in creating or doing. Meaning is found in experiencing something greater than ourselves and in encountering another being through love. And finally, meaning can be found in the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. The important thing here is that in all of these instances the value of the thing that gives meaning is subjective. There is no scale out there that says that writing a novel gives more meaning than helping your spouse with the dishes. When it comes to meaning, the small, the hidden, the unsaid is as important as the great acts of genius and you alone are the judge. Orienting yourself to responding in some way to what life is asking of you may not be the sole cure to depression but it is for me a necessary part of any healing process, of learning to live and be useful, despite the illness.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager = Man's Search for Meaning; an introduction to logotherapy, Viktor E. Frankl Man's Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner Trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager = Man's Search for Meaning; an introduction to logotherapy, Viktor E. Frankl Man's Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity. The book intends to answer the question "How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?" Part One constitutes Frankl's analysis of his experiences in the concentration camps, while Part Two introduces his ideas of meaning and his theory called logotherapy. عنوانها: انسان در جستجوی معنی؛ انسان در جستجوی معنی غایی؛ درون خود را جستجو کنید خودشناسی و خودباوری آشنایی با معنی درمانی؛ انسان در جستجوی معنا؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه می سال 1975 میلادی عنوان: انسان در جستجوی معنی؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ مترجمین: نهضت صالحیان؛ مهین میلانی؛ چاپ نخست: تهران، دانشگاه تهران، 1354؛ چاپ دوم: تهران، آذر، 1363؛ در 260 ص؛ کتابنامه: از ص 236 تا 259؛ چاپ چهارم: 1368؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، نهضت صالحیان و مهین میلانی، 1370؛ چاپ بعدی: 1371؛ چاپ هشتم: تهران، درسا، 1374؛ چاپ دوازدهم: 1381؛ موضوع: اردوگاه اسیران آلمان، روانشناسی، زندانیان، - سده 20 م عنوان: انسان در جستجوی معنی غایی؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ مترجمین: احمد صبوری؛ عباس شمیم؛ چاپ نخست: تهران، صداقصیده، 1381؛ در 207 ص؛ شابک: ایکس - 964641172؛ کتابنامه از ص 165 تا 186؛ عنوان: انسان در جستجوی معنی؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ مترجم: اکبر معارفی؛ تهران، موسسه انتشارات دانشگاه تهران، 1378؛ در 106 ص؛ شابک: 9640337854؛ کتابنامه از ص 105 تا 106؛ چاپ نهم 1388، شابک: 9789640337851؛ چاپ یازدهم 1393؛ عنوان: درون خود را جستجو کنید خودشناسی و خودباوری آشنایی با معنی درمانی؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ مترجم: الهام مبارکی زاده؛ تهران، پل، 1388؛ در 240 ص؛ شابک: 9789642330058؛ عنوان: انسان در جستجوی معنا؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ مترجم: مهدی گنجی؛ ویراستار: حمزه گنجی؛ تهران، ساوالان، 1392؛ در 243 ص؛ شابک: 9789647609890؛ عنوان: انسان در جستجوی معنا؛ نویسنده: ویکتور امیل فرانکل؛ مترجم: امیر لاهوتی؛ تهران، جامی، 1394؛ در 184 ص؛ شابک: 9786001761157؛ انسان در جستجوی معنا اثر: ویکتور فرانکل، روان‌پزشک، عصب‌ شناس و پدیدآورنده ی لوگوتراپی است، که نخستین بار در سال 1946 میلادی منتشر شد. این کتاب دربردارنده ی خاطرات فرانکل، از وضعیت خود، و سایر قربانیان اردوگاه‌های کار اجباری آلمان، در خلال جنگ دوم جهانی است. فرانکل در این کتاب، به عنوان یک روان‌شناس اگزیستانسیالیت، به اهمیت جستجوی معنا، برای زندگی، در سخت‌ترین شرایط زندگی می‌پردازد، و ضمن روایت خاطراتش از اردوگاه‌های کار اجباری، تلاش می‌کند، نگرش جدیدش را در روان‌شناسی (لوگوتراپی) تبیین کند. ا. شربیانی

  11. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    The sun is slowly rising up ushering the dawning of a new day. The mother and the father are sipping their first cups of coffee. Their schooling children are rising up from their bed. The mother attends to her children’s daily routine. She bathes, feeds them their breakfast and makes sure that their things are all in their individual school bags. Para Kanino Ka Bumabangon? (translation: Whom Do You Wake Up For?) is heard as a voice over. This is Nestle’s TV ad for Nescafe coffee but it sends a v The sun is slowly rising up ushering the dawning of a new day. The mother and the father are sipping their first cups of coffee. Their schooling children are rising up from their bed. The mother attends to her children’s daily routine. She bathes, feeds them their breakfast and makes sure that their things are all in their individual school bags. Para Kanino Ka Bumabangon? (translation: Whom Do You Wake Up For?) is heard as a voice over. This is Nestle’s TV ad for Nescafe coffee but it sends a very clear message: that each of us has our own reason for living and this reason is the meaning of our life, our existence. In a nutshell, this is what Viktor Emil Frankl (1905-1997) an Austrian Jew, neurologist, psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor, is saying in this 1946 originally-published book, Man’s Search for Meaning. He says that the life of each one of us has its own meaning. That meaning cannot be generalized. His theory of logotherapy which is a form of Existential Analysis, can be used to determine one’s meaning for living or even suffering. Using his horrendous experiences at Auschwitz concentration camp, which he narrated in the first part of this book, he said that he and the other survivors kept themselves alive by imaging and looking forward to their lives after the war. Those who felt hopeless and they could not picture themselves reuniting with their families after the war, perished. As if they had no longer any reason for living and thus they chose to die rather than to survive. He also said that we should not ask for the meaning of our life. Rather, we should ask what life wants from us. I have read several books about the holocaust. I have seen and liked Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and read and liked Thomas Keneally’s Schindler’s Ark, Imre Kertesz’s Fatelessness, Elie Wiesel’s Night, Victor Klemperer’s I Will Bear Witness and of course Anne Frank’s Diary of the Young Girl. That’s why the first part of this book did not shock me anymore. However, there are some parts here that were new to me like Frankl’s heavy interactions with the Gapos, co-inmates but they have leadership positions and also he, as a doctor, had a chance to escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp together with another doctor. This was the first time I heard that a prisoner could well, almost successfully escape the camp. The second part of the book is more on clinical analysis and theories about logotheraphy which Frankl pioneered. It is similar to psychotherapy but this one is more forward-looking. It is a type of existentialist analysis that focuses on a will to meaning as opposed to Adler’s Nietzchean doctrine of will to power or Freud’s will to pleasure. Rather than power or pleasure, logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one's life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. (Source: Wikipedia). And this striving to find a meaning is the reason why we wake up each morning. Ikaw, para kanino ka bumabangon?

  12. 5 out of 5

    anarki

    Have you ever been in a situation wherein unreasonable suffering seems the only task left in your life that suicide seems to be a very reasonable option? Have you ever thought that living only extends the misery and torment you've already took? Have you felt the vacuum of meaningless suffering sucking the life out of you like a black hole? Have you ever thought that breathing is a disease only death can cure? If yes, then you haven't read this book. The meaning of life … Many people already died Have you ever been in a situation wherein unreasonable suffering seems the only task left in your life that suicide seems to be a very reasonable option? Have you ever thought that living only extends the misery and torment you've already took? Have you felt the vacuum of meaningless suffering sucking the life out of you like a black hole? Have you ever thought that breathing is a disease only death can cure? If yes, then you haven't read this book. The meaning of life … Many people already died trying to find it or died before even finding it. We, human beings, have this need to fill the void. “What's the meaning of life?” is a very famous question. A question that is a widespread epidemic around the world. In this book, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, he shares his experiences in the concentration camp. Horrifying. It makes your gut feel sick. It makes you grind your teeth and clench your fists and punch the wall. Or whatever. It makes you stop reading and reflect. If you're not familiar with the history of Hitler, The Nazis, or watched movies like “A Beautiful Life” or “Schinder's List”, you will be in a state of shock reading this autobiographical account. Frankl discussed in the first part of the book the Psychological Reaction or Phases of a prisoner in the concentration camp. First phase is Shock. You are welcomed by the horror and brutality. This is the moment when everything from you is taken off. Every possession that you have. Every strand of hair in your body is shaved off. Even your name is replaced by a number. You are no longer a human being. Inside the camp, you are nothing but a number. 119, 104 was Frankl's.. It's only you and your naked existence –even minus the hair. During this phase, everyday life in the camp is hell. There was even a night that someone was a having a delirium while he was sleeping. At first, Frankl wanted to wake him up, but after a few second he decided not to. Fact is: The reality he's gonna be waking up to is a lot worse than the nightmare he was having. This is the moment when you'll realized that nightmares are better than reality. Every minute in the camp, the thought of death doesn't escape your thoughts. Every day, someone dies. Or decides to kill himself. The death toll increases, and you are nothing but a statistic that won't even be recorded. You could be next. Later, this day to day camp experience will take your capacity to feel pain itself. The next phase is Apathy. In this phase, you are accustomed to the camp environment. It was once said that man can adapt to any situations, only he thinks he can't. The blows in the head no longer hurt you. It's the mental agony that will make you suffer –the injustice. You can even drag the dead body out of the way and steal his belongings for your own betterment. You only bother to take care of your survival. Survival of the fittest. Frankl discovered that they already proved Science wrong. If Science were right, then they should have been dead meat. There’s something inside the human body that is more than itself. Something beyond their own anatomy. Pause. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wondered why there were some people who got the guts to escort the prisoners to the Gas Chambers? The Schutzstaffel, a.k.a in abbreviated form: the SS, and the Capos. How did they get the nerve of doing that? And how do they even find tyranny pleasurable? Here, we come to the last phase of a prisoner’s Psychological Reaction. It’s Depersonalization. The person is depersonalized. It’s no longer a person, but a thing. The morals are distorted. The person inside, dies. The person has become nothing but a number. A prisoner a prisoner. An SS an SS. A Capo a Capo. They killed the spiritual life inside them, thus resorting to such evil acts making the people around them suffer instead of themselves. When liberation had come, at first thought, they expected themselves to be happy and free. They were wrong. Being happy was something they've unlearned. After years of meaningless suffering as prisoners of war, they forgot how it feels like to be free again –how to be free –how to be a human being. A human being who became a number. Then a number finding its way back to be a human being. I apologize for the attempt to summarize. Frankl's experience in the concentration camp put Sigmund Freud into shame. It's not really pleasure that drives people to live his life. It disputes the Pleasure Principle and Adler's Will to Power. After reading this book and know the immeasurable meaningless suffering a prisoner had went through, you would wonder how were these people able to survive. .... It's the Will to Meaning. Quoting from from a famous philosopher “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” No matter how much suffering one is going through. If he finds a reason to live through it. His soul will speak with pride. Looking back, shouting to the world “I went through it all!” The suffering had become an inspiration. It had become a trophy. It had become an achievement that no one can ever steal.“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” Again, from that famous philosopher. Because of this theory, the suffering impregnated Viktor Frankl and later gave birth to Logotherapy or Existential Therapy which is going to be discussed in the 2nd half of the book. It's more than being logical. Logos is deeper than Logic. It is self-transcendence. A form of Psychotherapy that focuses on meaning. The psychotherapist plays the role of an Ophthalmologist. He makes the patient see what he doesn't see. Everything, no matter how miserable it is, has a meaning. No matter how much suffering one is going through, it doesn't take away the internal freedom to deal cope with the situation. "Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms —to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way." and, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” And what happens to a man after going through hell? Simple. He is no longer afraid of anything. To end this, I want to share a story. After the liberation, some personnel visited the concentration camps. They took a look around the ruins of war. And as they were roaming, one personnel noticed something etched on the wall, "Vielen Dank, Mein Lieber Gott! Sie haben mir die Gelegenheit geben, denen vergeben, die unverzeihlich!" Translated in English it says, "Thank you, my dear God! For you have given me the opportunity to forgive the unforgivable!" And by the way, I have a blog: www.pagexero.wordpress.com.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    In Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl begins his description of life in Nazi concentration camps (including Auschwitz) with the premise that life in the camps represents a provisional existence. In what must have seemed hopeless circumstances, is there any point in searching for meaning for one's life? Frankl does not dwell on the atrocities, but he does detail the mindset of his fellow prisoners facing what most of them knew was their death (as well as the death of their loved ones). Using In Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl begins his description of life in Nazi concentration camps (including Auschwitz) with the premise that life in the camps represents a provisional existence. In what must have seemed hopeless circumstances, is there any point in searching for meaning for one's life? Frankl does not dwell on the atrocities, but he does detail the mindset of his fellow prisoners facing what most of them knew was their death (as well as the death of their loved ones). Using his experiences as a guide, he outlines his ideas about logotherapy while finding reason to hold to a 'tragic optimism.' There are other essential books detailing life in concentration camps (I'm thinking especially of Primo Levi's Life in Auschwitz), but Frankl's is an important work which should be read by those who seek to understand how concentration camp prisoners faced their ordeal.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a fascinating book by a psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. The first part, which I loved, is the author's story about how he endured the concentration camps. Frankl's purpose in describing his time in Auschwitz and other camps was not to dwell on the horrors -- though there were plenty of those -- but instead to focus on how prisoners found meaning in their lives and how they chose to survive. The book's foreword has a good summary of the ideas to come: "Terrible as it was, his exp This is a fascinating book by a psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. The first part, which I loved, is the author's story about how he endured the concentration camps. Frankl's purpose in describing his time in Auschwitz and other camps was not to dwell on the horrors -- though there were plenty of those -- but instead to focus on how prisoners found meaning in their lives and how they chose to survive. The book's foreword has a good summary of the ideas to come: "Terrible as it was, his experience in Auschwitz reinforced what was already one of his key ideas: Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life. Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work (doing something significant), in love (caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times. Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give suffering meaning by the way in which we respond to it." I have read Elie Wiesel's Night and Art Spiegelman's Maus books, both of which provide searing images of the horrors of the camps, but Frankl's description of Auschwitz is noteworthy because he was able to view his ordeal philosophically. In the midst of hell on earth, he had the brilliant focus of a scholar who was trying to see beyond the present and into greater human truths. At spare moments in his work at doctoring sick patients in the camp, he would jot down ideas for a manuscript. And one night when prisoners were forced to march in the bitter cold, Frankl was wondering if his wife was still alive when he had a realization: "A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth -- that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved." Frankl described the different attitudes of prisoners, and how some people gave up hope of living and they soon died. Those who focused on their reasons for living had a better chance of survival. "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." The second part of the book focuses on Frankl's system of logotherapy, which is about finding someone's primary meaning in life, and this section is more difficult to read and seems to be geared toward graduate students in psychology. The 2006 edition that I read had a lovely afterword giving more details about Frankl's life and the impact of his work. One story was about a young Israeli soldier who had lost both his legs in battle and who was depressed and suicidal. Then the soldier became more serene after reading Man's Search for Meaning. "When he was told about the soldier, Frankl wondered whether 'there may be such a thing as autobibliotherapy -- healing through reading.'" (As someone who frequently finds comfort in books, I say yes, autobibliotherapy is real.) When Frankl's camp was finally liberated by the Red Cross in 1945, he moved to Vienna. He discovered that he was all alone -- his wife, parents and brother had all died in the camps. Frankl chose to resume his career as a psychiatrist, wrote several books and gave innumerable lectures. In one of his classes he was asked to express the meaning of his own life in one sentence. He wrote it down and asked his students to guess what had been written: "After some moments of quiet reflection, a student surprised Frankl by saying, 'The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs.' "'That was it exactly,' Frankl said. 'Those are the very words I had written.'" Note: Originally I gave this book 4 stars, having docked a star because of the denseness of the second part. But the first part of this book is so powerful and memorable that I've raised it back up to a 5.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell

    I have to separate the emotional impact of the first half of the book from my overall impression on how effective the book was as a whole. It's really difficult not to find stories of the holocaust incredibly gripping, and the way in which Frankl speaks of his experience is inspiring and yet still maintains that gravity you'd expect from such a narrative. However, the latter half of the book delves much more into a psychological, and less personal, examination of 'logotherapy' (that is, the autho I have to separate the emotional impact of the first half of the book from my overall impression on how effective the book was as a whole. It's really difficult not to find stories of the holocaust incredibly gripping, and the way in which Frankl speaks of his experience is inspiring and yet still maintains that gravity you'd expect from such a narrative. However, the latter half of the book delves much more into a psychological, and less personal, examination of 'logotherapy' (that is, the author's personal psychological theory). Once it became more of a text book with small sections reflecting on specific terms and theories, it was difficult to stay engaged. I also felt it lacked the cohesiveness that the first part of the book had with a more linear narrative structure. Nonetheless, the nuggets of wisdom I gleaned from this book were worth the reading. And I can only commend Frankl on his 'tragic optimism' in such a horrific environment as a Nazi concentration camp.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Reading about the holocaust awakens me to the varying sides and degrees of human nature. "Life in a concentration camp tore open the human soul and exposed its depths. Is it surprising that in those depths we again found only human qualities which in there very nature were a mixture of good and evil? The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp Reading about the holocaust awakens me to the varying sides and degrees of human nature. "Life in a concentration camp tore open the human soul and exposed its depths. Is it surprising that in those depths we again found only human qualities which in there very nature were a mixture of good and evil? The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp." It is easier than we may think to get controlled by the barbaric aspects that exist within us. It’s almost incomprehensible that the holocaust took place in such recent history, at a time -- by relative, historic standards -- that contained comfortable living situations, educational access, and plenty of opportunity. Reading about the holocaust reminds me that we are simple and easily manipulated; that we can easily shut off our conscience and our ability to empathize, and do unimaginably horrible things to fellow, innocent, human beings. This is not a positive testament to human nature. "From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two - the "race" of the decent man and the "race" of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of "pure race" - therefore one occasionally found a decent fellow among the camp guards. But then I see that goodness can still exist, even when one has every reason not to act on empathy; even when a simple, helpful act for another can threaten one's own life. Nazi's that showed compassion for prisoners were often killed, yet some men were brave and caring enough to help his fellow man. This gives me hope. Here's a specific story from the book that highlights this: "I remember how one day a foreman secretly gave me a piece of bread which I knew he must have saved from his breakfast ration. It was far more than the small piece of bread which moved me to tears at that time. It was the human "something" which this man also gave to me - the word and look which accompanied the gift.” This kind of act was not unusual for this specific SS commander, and was not forgotten by the prisoners, either. In fact, the kindness was returned: When Frankl’s camp was being liberated, 3 young Hungarian Jews hid this commander in the Bavarian woods as the other SS commanders were being gathered by U.S. troops. The 3 men would only give up the SS commander under the condition that no harm come to him. And, not only was he taken in unharmed, but he was later given the role of supervising the collection and distribution of clothing among the villages. Had this man not acted on compassion, he would have been caught and suffered a difficult fate. But sometimes -- no, not enough -- but sometimes, the good do win out. This is a positive testament to human nature. Frankl gives an honest, modest account of his holocaust experience. But he helped a lot of people make it through -- he gave people hope through his psychiatric knowledge, insights, and wisdom. Through the process he became a firm believer in logotherapy, which he explains in detail in the second half of the book. According to logotherapy, one must find meaning in life, and if one finds meaning, he or she can make it through anything. Or, as the Nietzsche quote (which Frankl was fond of), says, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." In regards to logotherapy, Frankl states, "It is one of the basic tenets of logotherapy that man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has a meaning." Again and again those that had meaning were more likely to survive. Frankl was reminded of this at the start of every New Year, when the deaths in the camp drastically increased. According to Frankl, there was one main variable involved with this: loss of meaning. A number of prisoners kept themselves going by imagining themselves out of the camp in time for the holidays, which they hoped to spend with their loved ones. They pictured it in their minds and it kept them going through many grueling days. When the holidays came and went, they no longer had that image to strive for and were crushed. They gave up hope. They gave up meaning. They gave up life. Reading this book helped give me perspective into my own life, and insight into the power that exists within us all. While reading, I tried my best to fathom the great pain and suffering that those in camps went through, and I tried to understand how they endured it. Starvation, unrelenting work, freezing conditions in the winter, dehydration in the summer; and not just physical pain, but imagine watching neighbors, friends, and family members die. What happens to someone's mind, body, and heart as he or she goes through such drastic, painful, hopeless, and desperate situations? How does one continue to go on? What kind of strength does one tap into and where does it come from? It seems impossible, yet many people survived and went on to live enriching lives. Reading about, and gaining a grasp of this awesome power within us is inspiring: the capabilities of the human; the depths of our courage and perseverance. “We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation - just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer - we are challenged to change ourselves." Human potential at its best, indeed.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wendyslc

    Reading this book in high school changed my life. I grew up in an abusive home and was in constant survival mode. After reading this book I realized that I had a choice. I could let my circumstances dictate my attitude or I could choose my attitude, which could then change my circumstances. Becoming an adult is the hardest thing we ever do. Being an adult means accepting responsibility for your thoughts, actions and character. I realized that I can choose my thoughts and actions regardless of my Reading this book in high school changed my life. I grew up in an abusive home and was in constant survival mode. After reading this book I realized that I had a choice. I could let my circumstances dictate my attitude or I could choose my attitude, which could then change my circumstances. Becoming an adult is the hardest thing we ever do. Being an adult means accepting responsibility for your thoughts, actions and character. I realized that I can choose my thoughts and actions regardless of my past or present after reading this book. I finally understood that work and life are good. As I discipline my attitude, I have more opportunities for service. I can teach with love and have compassion for all around me. I can serve with a humble attitude, which gives my existence meaning. This book enlightened me and helped me to expand my ability to practice patience. I am more positive. I understand that all humans are striving everyday. What I think and choose to do are under my control. I can choose an attitude with a long term perspective and motivate my life to a higher meaning. This is the ultimate book on self motivation.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    Dr. Frankl didn't invent it, "The Meaning of Life". But he invented Logotherapy, that is based on it. The book consists of two parts. The first is a short autobiography of his time in the concentration camps, as he experienced it as a logotherapist. The second part of the book is an introduction to his therapeutic doctrine of Logotherapy. He added this chapter to his book because there was a great demand for it by readers. The second chapter therefore will only appeal to readers who want to know Dr. Frankl didn't invent it, "The Meaning of Life". But he invented Logotherapy, that is based on it. The book consists of two parts. The first is a short autobiography of his time in the concentration camps, as he experienced it as a logotherapist. The second part of the book is an introduction to his therapeutic doctrine of Logotherapy. He added this chapter to his book because there was a great demand for it by readers. The second chapter therefore will only appeal to readers who want to know more about his therapy, and about mental health in general, or how he came to write his experiences in the camp the way he did. “ Logos is a Greek word which denotes “meaning.” Logotherapy, or, as it has been called by some authors, “The Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy,” focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on man’s search for such a meaning. According to logotherapy, this striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man. ” According to his doctrine, the feeling of meaninglessness must be treated in assisting the patient to find meaning in his life : “By declaring that man is responsible and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system. I have termed this constitutive characteristic “the self-transcendence of human existence.” It denotes the fact that being human always points, and is directed, to something, or someone, other than oneself—be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.” “According to logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.” It is his doctrine about the meaning of life that can be found in the attitude toward suffering, that Dr. Frankl applies to his experiences in the camp. Therefore, the first section of the book, is more a study of his experiences, based on this premise, rather than an autobiography. He observed the way how both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience. To me, it's the ultimate testing of his doctrine, based on the universal search for a meaning in one's life. Can there really be found some good in an experience so abysmally bad ? Can there really be given a higher meaning to suffering, in order to survive the suffering ? This is what this book is all about. Dr. Frankl tries to explain how everyday life in a concentration camp was reflected in the mind of the average prisoner ; his book (first chapter) aims to be a psychology of a concentration camp. He describes three phases of the inmate’s mental reactions to camp life : the period following his admission ; the period when he is well entrenched in camp routine ; and the period following his release and liberation. The symptom that characterizes the first phase is shock and the 'delusion of reprieve'. The second phase is the phase of relative apathy, in which the inmate achieves a kind of emotional death. Apathy, the main symptom of the second phase, was a necessary mechanism of self-defense. It is in this part of the book, that Dr. Frankl implements his theories. He is convinced that "the way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. “Any attempt at fighting the camp’s psychopathological influence on the prisoner by psychotherapeutic or psychohygienic methods had to aim at giving him inner strength by pointing out to him a future goal to which he could look forward. Instinctively some of the prisoners attempted to find one on their own. It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future—sub specie aeternitatis. And this is his salvation in the most difficult moments of his existence, although he sometimes has to force his mind to the task.” The last phase is the psychology of the prisoner who has been released. For most, it was a “disillusionment”, "“there could be no earthly happiness which could compensate for all we had suffered.” This is definitely a book that make you think, about meaning in life in general, and about the meaning of suffering in particular. It helps to understand the experiences and the sufferings of the inmates, and above all their behaviors in response to these experiences, which for someone who has not been there, may seem inconceivable. To me, it was very useful to better understand the biographies of Holocaust survivors that I have read so far. Imre Kertèsz's nostalgic memories of camp's life after his release ; the importance of religion in the camp, as described by Eli Wiesel ; the strong will to survive by Olga Lengyel, in order to testify about what she and others endured ... And so much more. One thing that I missed in Dr. Frankl's psychology of the prisoner who has been released, was the feeling of guilt that he and not others had survived. Apparently, many survivors struggled with this guilt. I would have liked it to be handled in the book. I also think that the small part of prisoners who were able to find a higher meaning in their suffering, had been given some opportunity, by mere luck, to find a meaning. Dr. Frankl himself believed that his wife was still alive ; he was given the opportunity to work as a doctor in the camp, which he accepted, because : “ I knew that in a working party I would die in a short time. But if I had to die there might at least be some sense in my death. I thought that it would doubtless be more to the purpose to try and help my comrades as a doctor than to vegetate or finally lose my life as the unproductive laborer that I was then.” To me, the question arises, what he would have written if he hadn't had these circumstances which enabled him to see a meaning, a purpose in the suffering. For a great deal of the prisoners, who had been taken everything - their house and everything in it ; their family, friends and neighborhood - and who had to do unproductive labor in extremely harsh conditions every day, and who didn't met kindness but only cruelty, what was left to them to live for ? What meaning was there to be found in their world ? No therapy in the world could help these poor poor creatures, who were completely dehumanized. In reading this book you will ask yourself these kind of questions, and many others, which in itself is a great achievement by Dr. Frankl. For Dr. Frankl, writing his book probably also was a form of self-therapy to cope with his experiences, in finding a meaning in it. 7/10

  19. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    Q: There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. (c) Q: We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles - whatever one may choose to call them - we know: the best of us did not return. (c) A very hard to read book, which could be used as an antidepressant. If people can live through this, if you can write a book in your head, as a self-therapy so as not lose oneself or die from pain and fear and utter despair... then peop Q: There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. (c) Q: We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles - whatever one may choose to call them - we know: the best of us did not return. (c) A very hard to read book, which could be used as an antidepressant. If people can live through this, if you can write a book in your head, as a self-therapy so as not lose oneself or die from pain and fear and utter despair... then people can do anything. The author... well... people like the author must have been made from steel or maybe titanuim or diamonds... Incredible will to not only live but to overcome things that would have made anyone drop and cry and die inside. A reread. This needs to be reread multiple times to sink in. Q: Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you. .. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. (c) Q: An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior. (c) Q: In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice. (c) Q: So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now! (c) Q: No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same. (c) Q: Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant. (c) Q: Sunday neurosis, that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest. (c) Q: As a professor in two fields, neurology and psychiatry, I am fully aware of the extent to which man is subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions. But in addition to being a professor in two fields I am a survivor of four camps - concentration camps, that is - and as such I also bear witness to the unexpected extent to which man is capable of defying and braving even the worst conditions conceivable. (c) Q: I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsiblity on the West Coast. (c) Funny guy, was a he a seer or something?

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Lentz

    I followed Viktor Frankl diligently in his journey from the gas ovens of Auschwitz into the hospitals of Vienna after he beats the 1 in 20 odds of his surviving a German concentration camp. He writes that the single most important self-determinant in his survival was his deep inherent conviction under the worst of all possible conditions that life has meaning: even here under constant risk of typhus, wearing the recycled prison garb of those who had been sacrificed to the ovens, starving, freezi I followed Viktor Frankl diligently in his journey from the gas ovens of Auschwitz into the hospitals of Vienna after he beats the 1 in 20 odds of his surviving a German concentration camp. He writes that the single most important self-determinant in his survival was his deep inherent conviction under the worst of all possible conditions that life has meaning: even here under constant risk of typhus, wearing the recycled prison garb of those who had been sacrificed to the ovens, starving, freezing, beaten, demonized and dehumanized. If one can still find meaning here and survive because of it, then under better conditions meaning should be possible to find. Frankl believes that there are three sources of meaning: 1) one's work 2) other people whom you love 3) rising with dignity and integrity from a hopelessly tragic diminishment. He found that in the camps the survivors had a positive attitude, which reinforced their search for meaning and gave them hope in a hopeless situation. In Vienna hospitals he debunked theories of Freud and Adler with "logotherapy" which helps others to find the meaning in their lives and heal from thoughts of suicide, psychoses and neurotic behavior. "Logos" is Greek for "meaning" and if you can find it in your own life, then essentially it seems you are as invincible as Frankl, who not only survived Auschwitz but also lived into his 90's, is the living proof of his own thesis. Ultimately, when asked what was the meaning of his life, he wrote that the meaning of his life was to help other people find the meaning in their lives. He is an existentialist but he has a positive outlook on life unlike, for example, Camus or Sartre or the usual champions of this dark philosophy, which sprang out of the widespread, bombed-out wreckage of WWII. He writes that the Nazis proved what man was capable of and Hiroshima proved how high the stakes are. So the search for meaning is important therapy not only as it heals individuals but also because it has a healing and uplifting effect upon humanity as a whole and may well be one approach to saving the human race from its own self-destruction. Frankl had a visa and train ticket out of Vienna before the Nazis rose into power but decided to stay there to help his aging parents who had no such respite. Like Frankl, his pregnant wife and parents were taken to the camps and on the first day after he came home to Vienna he learned that all three had been lost there. He wrote "The Search for Meaning" in only nine days and described how his positive attitude and search for meaning enabled him to survive. He describes how this process of autobiography helped him to begin his own healing, a term which he describes as "autobibliotherapy." By virtue of writing down one's findings in the search for meaning, one serves to find meaning in one's own life and to help others find it in their lives. He prescribes no formulas and believes that every individual must find his or her own meaning in life despite diminishments and suffering and death which accompany every life. With incredible, calm clarity he writes that for everyone "suffering and death are necessary to complete life." He believes that suffering clarifies the meaning of life and, while he doesn't believe we need to bring it upon ourselves, the average life generally provides sufficient circumstances for us to know that suffering is an inevitable aspect of life. So why not learn from it? As Nietzsche wrote: "Suffering is the origin of consciousness." He is not advising us to bring it upon ourselves as a form of sadomasochism but to rise above it with heroic integrity and see it as an opportunity to learn from it. He believes that such life lessons ultimately hold the keys for understanding and overcoming the diminishments of life itself. He writes that man always has a choice of action in reacting to the circumstances no matter how dire they may be. So it seems that readers, when they read great books, are searching for meaning and this search has healing powers for them. Further, it seems that when writers search for meaning in creating their work, they have an opportunity to experience the same healing benefits of autobibliotherapy. So keep reading and writing the good stuff for all the good it can do to you and by all means, read this brief, brilliant book by an Auschwitz survivor as it has life altering implications for you: this book will change your outlook on life and may well, thereby, save it through mastery of the art of living.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sanjay Gautam

    This is some great stuff. It truly deserves its legendary status .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any 'how'.” - Viktor E Frankl I read an interesting article in the NYTimes a couple weeks ago that lead me to finally pick this book up. Actually, a couple good articles. The first was titled 'Love People, Not Pleasure' and it was about how "this “A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any 'how'.” - Viktor E Frankl I read an interesting article in the NYTimes a couple weeks ago that lead me to finally pick this book up. Actually, a couple good articles. The first was titled 'Love People, Not Pleasure' and it was about how "this search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly: Love things, use people." The author uses an inversion of this formula that DOES lead to happiness: Use things, Love People (also quoted by Spencer W. Kimball). This article + another recent one from the Atlantic titled 'There's More to Life Than Being Happy' made it clearly evident to me that I needed to finally dust off my yellowed, Goodwill copy of Man's Search for Meaning, plug in my earbuds and experience this book that the Universe clearly wanted me to read this week. So, imagine a renowned Jewish therapist writes in 1946 (in 9 days) about his experiences at and survival in Auschwitz, and then adds his own psychotherapeutic method (Logotherapy), finding happiness by finding a meaning, a responsibility, a love, and ultimately self-determining. Perhaps it is a consequence of Frankl's work surrounding me in other writings, in popular psychotherapy, in various internet Memes and articles OR perhaps it is just a consequence of my own resilience to my own suffering that this book wasn't much of a revelation. I was like ... yup, makes a lot of sense. Good job. I think it is a great book for what it is. I just don't always get super-excited by self-help psychology books. This one is on the better end of the bell curve for this type, but I guess my problem is with the type. Other than that (minus 1-star for my type bias) it was a great book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    I’ve been meaning to read this for a very long time, but have to admit that the idea of reading a book by someone who survived the Holocaust with long descriptions of that part of their life included with graphic detail didn’t really make me want to jump at the chance. And this book is harrowing – particularly the first half or so – the pain is infinite. I was also keen to find out what he felt he learnt from this experience about how to live a good life. I have to say that I found this part of I’ve been meaning to read this for a very long time, but have to admit that the idea of reading a book by someone who survived the Holocaust with long descriptions of that part of their life included with graphic detail didn’t really make me want to jump at the chance. And this book is harrowing – particularly the first half or so – the pain is infinite. I was also keen to find out what he felt he learnt from this experience about how to live a good life. I have to say that I found this part of the book quite unsatisfying. His discussion of ‘logotherapy’ left me cold, I’m afraid. I don’t really like books that say things that amount to – this guy came to see me about some problem that had plagued his life for decades, I said three sentences to him and he went away with a skip and a spring in his step. There are bits of this that are worthwhile – you know, suffering isn’t an ‘and also’ in life, but often learning how to live with (rather than overcome) suffering is our key task. Yes, I think the Buddha said something similar. That life is better with a meaning is also hardly novel either, although, I guess not something the Buddha said, so much. Psychology is a subject that inevitably stresses the position of the individual, and the psychology of a man who has lived through an experience where those with power held his life in utter contempt and enjoyed making it clear to him that his ongoing existence was completely at their discretion would hardly encourage him to seek meaning in ‘grand projects’ and such. But I don’t really like psychology and worry it gazes wistfully down the wrong end of the telescope. I feel awful writing this review, by the way. It feels disrespectful to criticise a book written by someone who lived through something so utterly unimaginable and disgusting. But this is a book providing advice on how one should live one’s life – and even though people tend to think that having lived through the unspeakable is qualification enough to write such a book, I find I can’t really agree. As he makes too clear, sometimes we can look into the abyss and learn nothing from it at all. What he has learnt is better than what some of his fellow prisoners learnt, but if anything this book should be a reminder that someone forced to live through the banality of evil isn’t really under obligations to learn cuddly and life-affirming lessons from that experience. All to the good if that is what you do learn – but it does seem to compound the punishment of such an experience if such ‘lessons’ become mandatory.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    In the film Ikiru ("To Live"), master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa tells the story of Kanji Watanabe, a Japanese bureaucrat with stomach cancer. Finding that he has only one year left to live, he initially slides into depression and then into riotous night-life. All that is changed, however, when he meets Toyo, a young girl who takes pleasure in making toys for young children - it gives her a purpose in life. This wakes Watanabe up to what he is missing in his life: and he makes it his purpose to bu In the film Ikiru ("To Live"), master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa tells the story of Kanji Watanabe, a Japanese bureaucrat with stomach cancer. Finding that he has only one year left to live, he initially slides into depression and then into riotous night-life. All that is changed, however, when he meets Toyo, a young girl who takes pleasure in making toys for young children - it gives her a purpose in life. This wakes Watanabe up to what he is missing in his life: and he makes it his purpose to build a playground in the city, cutting across all the bureaucratic tangles. The most haunting image in the movie is of him sitting on a swing in the playground, singing, immediately prior to his death. I was thinking of this movie all the time I was reading this book. ----------------------------------- I had heard a lot about it before I actually got around to reading it - and to tell the truth, I was a bit underwhelmed, especially by the second part. Yet I will give it four stars, because I think Viktor Frankl has astutely identified the main reason for existential angst - the lack of meaning in one's life in modern times. It seems that Dr. Frankl has been engaged in what he calls "logotherapy", where the patient is asked to concentrate outward rather than inward. As opposed to Freud who wanted people to dig deep into their psyches to locate childhood neuroses, Frankl asks them look into the world they live in to find the root of their existential crisis. The root of his philosophy is that most of man’s existential crisis rises from a search for meaning in life. In this, it is opposed to two other famous theories from the Viennese school of psychotherapy – Freud’s, based on the quest for pleasure and Adler’s based on the quest for power. Frankl has his gruelling experiences in Nazi concentration camps to prove his theory. This comprises more than half of the book, and is really a torture to get through – not because of bad writing, but because he convinces us to accompany him on that nightmare journey. There is no hope, no mercy and no shred of human dignity in these hells on earth. The inmates are stripped of all their possessions including clothes, underfed to the level of starvation and overworked to the extent that many fall down dead from sheer exhaustion. Apart from this, they live in constant fear of being selected for the gas chambers. What happens to people in this situation? They lose hope, and many of them give up on life. Others become cruel exploiters themselves (the Capos, the guards who are chosen from the ranks of prisoners themselves). Some try to survive by being smarter than others: and yet others find that extra something to pull them through – a meaning for their suffering, something to look forward to in life even in the midst endless misery. They become the rare beacons of light in the pitch darkness. Most of them don’t survive, because of their altruism – as Dr. Frankl says, “the best of us didn’t come back”. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity—even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. For Frankl, it was the image of his young wife and his love for her which suddenly gave him a purpose in life. A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth—that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. He kept on having conversations with her in his mind; even though he knew that she may be dead (she was, in fact). This gave him conviction to go ahead even when death stared him in the face. Dr. Frankl genuinely believes that it is this which helped carry him through, and on the whole, I find myself agreeing with him. Such a purpose does not necessarily mean salvation – but it does give one the power to endure it until it all ends. Viktor Frankl tells us the story of a young woman, whose vision of a tree branch through the window of the hut in which she lay dying, gave her sustenance. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,” she told me. “In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, “This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.” Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. “I often talk to this tree,” she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. “Yes.” What did it say to her? She answered, “It said to me, ‘I am here—I am here—I am life, eternal life.’” ----------------------------------- One curious fact I noticed was that Frankl’s concept of ‘self-transcendence’, which seemed remarkably close to Joseph Campbell’s concept of the ‘Hero’s Journey’. Also, the three paths which he mentions - through achievement, through selfless love and through cathartic suffering (when unavoidable, not masochistically cjosen) – are applicable to the godhead from three different religions. The path of achievement of the Greek hero: selfless love to the level of dissolution of one’s self in god, that of Radha and Mira Bai for Krishna: and the suffering which cleanses, the way of the cross, the passion of Jesus Christ.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Miquel Reina

    I started reading "Man's Search for Meaning" thanks to a recommendation that appear on another book called 30 Days- Change your habits, Change your life: A couple of simple steps every day to create the life you want. Despite being one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, I had never heard about it but after reading the first pages, I quickly understood the reason for its fame. Man's Search for Meaning isn't a common story, is a true story. A collage of experiences, thoughts, I started reading "Man's Search for Meaning" thanks to a recommendation that appear on another book called 30 Days- Change your habits, Change your life: A couple of simple steps every day to create the life you want. Despite being one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, I had never heard about it but after reading the first pages, I quickly understood the reason for its fame. Man's Search for Meaning isn't a common story, is a true story. A collage of experiences, thoughts, and theories of a psychologist who survived in one of Nazi concentration camps. Although there are hundreds of books about the Holocaust, this story is really different; it isn't a dramatized story but a lucid and almost impartial story filtered through the eyes of psychology and neurology. It might seem a dark and miserable book but on the contrary, it's more a flame in the darkness that bright strong, a song of hope and strength. I recommend this book to all readers, without exception, I think it's a book that everyone should read and re-read to understand the true meaning of our lives. Spanish version: Empecé a leer "El hombre en busca de sentido" gracias a la recomendación del libro "30 días". Pese a ser uno de los libros más influyentes del sigo XX nunca había oído a hablar de él pero al empezar a avanzar a través de sus páginas rápidamente entendí el porqué de su fama. El hombre en busca de sentido no se trata de un relato común, sino más bien una agrupación de vivencias, reflexiones y teorías de un psicólogo superviviente de la masacre de los campos de concentración nazi. Pese a que hay cientos de libros que tratan el tema del holocausto, este relato es francamente diferente, no dramatiza en las situaciones penosas sino más bien las desgrana, las analiza y las filtra a través de los ojos de la psicología y la neurología. Lo más brillante del libro es la esperanza y las enseñanzas que hay en él, podría parecer un libro oscuro y miserable pero es todo lo contrario, es una llama en medio de la oscuridad, un canto al crecimiento interior y a la fortaleza de espíritu. Creo que no puedo evitar recomendar este libro a todos los lectores, sin excepción del género literario que os guste, es uno de esos libros que todos deberíamos leer y releer para comprender el verdadero significado de nuestras vidas.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior. Viktor Frankl, at the age of 39, was sent to a concentration camp to endure dehumanizing conditions while being used for slave labor. While there, he lost his brother, mother, and wife. Upon his release, he re-commenced developing and teaching his own brand of therapy: logotherapy. This book is a rather strange hybrid. In the first part, Frankl gives an overview of his time in the camps, paying special attention to the psychologi An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior. Viktor Frankl, at the age of 39, was sent to a concentration camp to endure dehumanizing conditions while being used for slave labor. While there, he lost his brother, mother, and wife. Upon his release, he re-commenced developing and teaching his own brand of therapy: logotherapy. This book is a rather strange hybrid. In the first part, Frankl gives an overview of his time in the camps, paying special attention to the psychological repercussions of being so inhumanely treated. This leads to a general overview of his psychological theories, in part two, in which he argues that the search for meaning is of fundamental importance to the human psyche. I feel odd saying this, but the book left me feeling a bit cold. I found his descriptions of the concentration camp to be, however gruesome and depressing, somewhat detached in tone, which prevented me from being deeply affected. I do think he did a skillful job in conveying the day-to-day horrors of the experience; but the fact that this description is simply the foreground to a therapeutic theory somewhat detracts from its force, in my opinion. Maybe I only think this because I wasn’t too impressed with logotherapy, Frankl’s system of psychology. This therapeutic technique relies on helping patients to find a meaning in their lives. But I don’t think Frankl defines what “meaning” is very well, nor does he give much practical advice in the way of finding it. The theory all just seemed like a bunch of vague talk to me. I couldn’t see any usefulness or theoretical insight in Frankl’s system. I found it to be little more than a collection of platitudes. Perhaps I am unimpressed because we have already absorbed much of this existentialist-tinged psychotherapy into our culture? Perhaps my lack of excitement is a sign of this book’s enormous influence? I can’t say. But if you're curious, I recommend you read the book. It is short enough to be read in a day, and yet packs an impressive amount of narration and thought into its pages.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Iris P

    This is a very important memoir/psychological theory. Took me back to my psychoanalysis classes back in my college days.. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." Of course that Frankl had the capacity to find hope and search for life's purpose during and after surviving such horrific experiences,is what makes this short memoir so remarkable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cortney

    There must be something wrong with me. This is a book that everyone is supposed to love. But I didn't. I didn't even like it. I only gave it three stars because I would have felt like a first class jerk giving it only two stars. Here's the thing- I love WWII stories- The Hiding Place, Anne Frank, etc. But Man's Search for Meaning had no emotion in it. It was so clinical and frankly quite boring. The first section- Experiences in a Concentration Camp- was ok, but as I said, contained no emotion. Th There must be something wrong with me. This is a book that everyone is supposed to love. But I didn't. I didn't even like it. I only gave it three stars because I would have felt like a first class jerk giving it only two stars. Here's the thing- I love WWII stories- The Hiding Place, Anne Frank, etc. But Man's Search for Meaning had no emotion in it. It was so clinical and frankly quite boring. The first section- Experiences in a Concentration Camp- was ok, but as I said, contained no emotion. The next two sections- Logotherapy in a Nutshell and The Case for Tragic Optimism- were excruciating the muddle through. It's a really good thing that I didn't major in psychology, philosophy, etc because I would have slept through the textbooks and flunked out of college. These last two sections of the book put me to sleep several times. This was quite a disappointment. I thought Man's Search for Meaning was supposed to be one of "those" books- you know the ones that are super-fabulous and make you see the world in a different way. It wasn't. But, I have to end on a positive note- so here is a quote that I liked... from pg 116- The Meaning of Love- "Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he see that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Nguyễn

    One of the best books I've ever read. Stresses the meaning of life, shows people how to overcome challenges and suffering in life, urges human beings to find their questions. I was going through a dark time while reading it. I found again the reasons to live, to try my best and to serve life. Simply an amazing book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Khalid Almoghrabi

    This book could not be added or compared to any other book. it stood still in its kind. Dr. Frankl gives illumination on human behavior in a way that might surprise many. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in psychology in general.

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