Man's Search for Meaning is more than a story of Viktor E. Frankl's triumph: it is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day.
©1959, 1962, 1984 Viktor E. Frankl; (P)1995 Blackstone Audiobooks
"An enduring work of survival literature." (The New York Times)
Since Frankl published Man's Search for Meaning there have been 4 revisions on the DSM; (I began working in the field during the DSMIII). Our understanding, diagnostic tools, and treatment therapies broaden, but there is still so much that needs to be done and known to treat *mental illnesses* --especially the stigma people have to deal with, and the issue of parity. Through all the enlightenment, I still find this book invaluable and profound. For myself, I include a reading in my list of annual maintenance. You don't need another review...I'm offering a REMINDER...read again.
Frankel's account of his concentration experience is not as moving as those of Elie Wiesel, but the second half of the book on logotherapy draws together the threads of that experience into a structure for treating patients struggling with the existential crisis of life's meaning. Frankel, the founder of logotherapy (meaning therapy), is with Freud and Adler one of the primary Viennese psychiatrists of the 20th century. For Freud sexual conflicts were key to understanding mental turmoil. For Adler it was the struggle for personal power and superiority. Frankel thought that mental conflicts arose from a desire to know the why of existence. He thought that if we know the why we can live with any what. He said the why is clear if we can love someone and if we can work at something we enjoy.
The concentration camp experience also taught Frankel that he had control over his thoughts and feelings. No SS soldier could change his thoughts. He could always go somewhere in his mind. Frankel foreshadowed the present day's psychology of "think it and you will feel it."
It's difficult to describe the darkest moments of your life. It's even harder to find meaning in them. Frankl shows courage and great resilience by having created this work of art, which will help others find purpose in their struggles as well.
Great book for anyone dealing with existential issues or anyone who wants an introduction into a sound anthropological psycho-therapy method. Frankl chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and from the viewpoint of his psycho-therapeutic / phenomenological method of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living. Through his experience, he developed a method of psycho-therapeutic method that he called logotherapy. His analysis focuses on a "will to meaning" as opposed to Adler's Nietzschean 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. According to Frankl, "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" and 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". For Frankl, it was his love for his wife that enabled him to survive Auschwitz and three other camps, not to mention many moments of "luck" or grace. Love, for Frankle, became the highest experience that a human can have. I appreciated the back story of Frankl's experience that lead to his method and agree with his conclusions, but I think some of his premises fall into a naturalistic fallacy. Nevertheless, he has a great ability to put into words the psychological and existential reality that one deals with when suffering or striving to understand a purpose in life.
If I had to choose a must-read-list this one would be a sure candidate. It has the ability to touch you in so many levels. There is not only the insights into and behind the scenes from "the horrors of concentration camps", but a personal story of struggle and contemplation. All of this in the light of his own theories about us humans, what drives us and how we may search for happiness. I would like to recommend this book to you with my deepest conviction it holds true wisdom!
For the thinker, philosopher and nurturer of souls...
This is my first review. I felt compelled to write something about this book...
I bought the book about half a year ago... and listened to it three times, back to back. Since then I have found myself still ruminating on what I listened to. What a great book... I highly recommend it to those who are seeking to "walk alongside" others.
I was riveted by this book. It is a fascinating insight into the human psyche under extreme circumstances. It also provides a brief introduction to Frankl's Logo-therapy method of psychotherapy. The psychotherapy section of the book is just the right length. It explains just enough so that you can decide if you want to look further into the subject, but is not long winded or tedious.
I felt the performance was well executed and easy to listen to.
Although the Holocaust was a terrible event, I am not apt to read about it more than I already have. For one, the focus is most often on the Jews rather than the other several million non-Jews who died in it and two, 'our side of it' never touches on the millions of Russians who lost their lives fighting the Germans. But this book is different. It touches everyone of those people and more. The focus is not necessarily on the "Jewish" side of the Holocaust or the "victor's side"; rather it delves into the minds of all those who suffered there, and all those who suffer anywhere. One thought that has stuck with me is this: Sometimes grown men would cry in their sleep from the nightmares they were having but I never woke them because no matter how bad their dream was, it was still better than the reality they would wake up to. Sometimes we think we have it bad, but bad is just as relative as good can be.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
“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 of 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.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
There are a handful of books that should truly be required and desired reading for everyone across the world. This is one of them. It is simultaneously repulsive and compelling, disheartening and hopeful.
I read this book perhaps 20 years ago. The older I get, the more I find new meaning in it. There are a great many self-help books out there that go on and on and say nothing. Then there's a book like this that offers an unblinking look at one of history's most horrific events from an inside perspective and uses that as a lead-in to offer to us a scientific embrace of the three little words that could mean the most to all of us.
Love. Faith. Hope.
"Philosophy at its best"
This is not an easy read, not because of language - Frankl is clear, concise and easy to follow, but because he is exploring meaning from the most extreme angles. Using his experience as a survivor of Nazi concentration camps in the most honest and frank fashion I have ever heard/read anybody describing such experiences, Frankl finds profound truths in regard of meaning and the human condition.
His conclusions are very sobering and profound and exactly because of his experience very insightful and inspiring. (As I have seen people referencing this book as indication that Frankl was religious, I would like to mention that in my reading, he dismantles religion as a means of self deception, even if maybe helpful to remain sane under extreme circumstances. I.e. I understand this book as clear statement against the validity of any truths or meaning for our lives coming from religion.)
The simple, yet profound thoughts of the Holocaust prisoner in his prison describe so well the feelings and emotions of anyone who suffers a trauma and becomes a prisoner of circumstance.
The book progresses into an education in self help and a brief instruction in how to deal with life with a mere change in perception.
There is not enough that I could say about the book. I will read it again.
I would recommend this to anyone who is experiencing difficulty in life as well as those who have no current problems but it will arm them for future conflict.
This book requires total attention without interruption in order to absorb the wisdom of Frankl's words.
It was sometime uncomfortable for my extra positive mind. At the same time after very scary story there was lots of reflection and positive to learn ideas. I think it's one of just reads for every human being. Thanks.
I'd split this book into 3 sections.
The first is an amazing account of the war, Frankl's time there and the happenings. It really did open your eyes
The second part of say is about how he helped the people in camp, some links to finding meaning and purpose and crossing the bridge between his time in camp and his use of logo therapy .
The third part is where I tuned out a lot. It's his views and use of logotherapy so can get quite deep - I'm not sure if it's he subject matter or he very English narrator (which works well on the first 2 parts, not as much on the third!) but it was quite specialist!
Still, I'd rate this book highly for the first two sections!
"well read and structured"
the text was insightful and well structured. the narrative of how to make the most meaningful life was given weight by the author's experiences
simple and refreshing, helps keeping feets on ground, not undermining any suffering or problems,
"Absolutely astounding! "
This book opened my eyes to the meaning of suffering. Man is not undone by suffering but by meaninglessness
The first part talks about what he learned in his experiences in concentration camps. It doesn't focus on gory details, but rather what insights can be drawn from the conditions. The second part is an introduction to logotherapy--which seeks to help people to find meaning in their lives and thus fulfillment.
A tribute to hope. A book that addresses life's issues and make it easy to understand.
"An awesome and inspiring piece.."
An awesome and inspiring educational piece on the human condition and how we all tick.
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