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)
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!
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."
Frankl captures the world of the concentration camp with stunning vividness. As a psychiatrist he describes the madness of Auschwitz that could bring one to tears. He puts to shame the evil that is of the human condition. One is left in awe and disgust at what we have become and what we have the potential to become. This book is a must read for those who really want an insight into real suffering. After this book one is fortified, confident in the knowledge that no hell is worsse than what Frankl and others endured. One is awakened by coming to face with the potential evil that lives in us all - that which may be released in the set up of the concentration camp. This is about what Guantanamo Bay may have bordered on. As a fellow psychiatrist myself, I was able to walk with Frankl and be with him. I almost smelt and touched the scenes he described. His book is also a survival manual for the hopeless. Don't kill yourself - read this!!
This is the single most powerful book I have every read in my life, and I can attribute my strength people say they admire in me to the lessons this book taught me. This audiobook version is beautifully read, and clear, giving credit to the strong messages in Frankl's work . For some that cannot relate to the concepts this book will be interesting, but for other who can apply the messages of suffering and pain to one's own situation's, this book can be powerful.
This powerful book delivers life changing messages and a story that every person should know. The lessons are timeless and inspire, no require one to examine their own life. We are all fortunate that DR. Frankl survived the Holocaust and that he has given us a work that benefits us in such a profound way. I highly recommend this book.
The power of the written work is muted here. I actually read this book prior to listening, and I must say that the written work causes an introspection. It really is an amazing work, but somehow it didn't live up. The narrator was fine. Everything was fine. It just didn't work for me. Give it a try, and if you find it fails, read it.
It is written with such insight and honesty. The actor who reads the audible.com version is perfect for the content.
Those who discovered that the one thing they always had is their ability to chose how they react to any situation.
It would have to be the geography of the author's thoughts and feelings. The physical scenes are all pretty stark.
No, it needs to be digested slowly. I have listened to it in 1 hour increments then put it aside for a while as I think about it.
After reading Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning and being incredibly bored, I got this audiobook, as I was determined to read MSfM, but didn't have the mental patience (after getting burned by MSfUM) to sit down with it. These are two entirely different creatures and I am so glad I got this.
MSfM is beautifully written and achingly eloquent. The stories are wonderful and the explanations of logotherapy at the end are just redundant enough to make the whole thing stick in the mind. The book is highly quotable, which would be the main reason one might want a hard copy either in addition to or instead of the audible version. Because the text is so clearly and lushly descriptive and profound, and the reading so clear, I ended up playing a section in school for a class.
I could listen to this a few times and be satisfied.
I don't love British narrators and the pomp of the accent gets on my nerves, but it felt appropriate in this case and worked well. Despite being a short read, it was worth the credit.
I didn't take from this book what I thought I would. However, it was very interesting and a good story. I am so sorry that he and so many others had to endure this horrible situation. It was awful and very disturbing. Humanity never ceases to amaze me. You may take more from it from me. I think I was overwhelmed by the horrors that I couldn't grasp anything else.
The book truly lives up to all the praise heaped upon it. Great narration, enjoyable, profound. Everyone should take a listen.
"Throw out your self-help books!"
This is an utterly remarkable book for so many reasons. What strikes me most about it is how it really gives meaning to the idea that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. What I mean by this is the following: the book is not great psychology, nor great philosophy nor even great narrative. And yet, as a whole I would call it a great book. Why? Because it makes a definitive impact. I cannot say that I walked away from this book unchanged. I suppose it is Viktor Frankl himself who makes all the difference -- in him you find a truly humane, humble and ultimately wise human being. I was truly impressed to hear him quoting Nietzsche while in a concentration camp; this at a time when Nietzsche's work had been distorted and used to promote anti-semitism by the Nazis. One warning though -- his existentialist philosophy is outdated and really needs to be complemented by a contemporary understanding of human nature.
"Potentially life changing..."
So, we all know about the Holocaust, yet this book is a bit different - told with such "tragic optimism" that the message is not moral outrage or repulsion, but of meaning in the midst of unimaginable degradation. The "why" that makes the "how" of suffering bearable. Frankle quotes Nietzsche throughout.
The most moving passages for me were his imagined conversations with his wife, (who probably by that time was dead), which nonetheless gave him the purpose for continuing to live, and the glimpses of Nature, such as sunsets, raw in beauty, beyond the barbed wire.
His message is simple - it is in loving the people we love and in the struggle that our lives demand of us, that we find meaning that transcends the mere pleasure principle. Our own "ontic logos" is individually uncovered, not found through intellectual introspection on "THE meaning of life" (which is a nonsense and which usually just leads to neurosis).
Frankle highlights the contemporary consumerist "tyranny of happiness", which is endemic in the West, so that many patients feel not just unhappy, but deeply ashamed of their unhappiness.
Existentialism is not popular in the zeitgeist, but I think we can learn much from that generation who lived through the War, and the Holocaust, and developed such philosophies of coping with terrible hardship and suffering. By contrast, we can be very superficial, and self centred, and it left me considering what issues I cared about enough to take action on. Would I regret not doing so otherwise? Yes, probably - as an opportunity wasted!
This is a humane, inspiring, potentially life changing book; well narrated, subtle, profound and unpretentious. It deserves the highest rating.
"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.)
"Very good. Interesting, moving and well produced"
This is a very good audio book. The story is very interesting, moving and thought provoking and the narration matches it perfectly.
I recommend this. The only change I would make is that the narrator when reading dialogue assumes a mock Jewish / German accent which isn't a big deal but to my ear sounded strange.
I'll definitely be listening to this multiple times.
Highly recommended. Great depth, sincerity and intelligence. Well read. I found this quite life changing.
"The great book!"
The great book! It cannot be listened to without comprehensive attention and understanding each word. Every single word, every phrase is meaningful and gives a new way of living!
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. Both parts, the autobiography, and the introduction to Frankl's logotherapy, gave me much to think about. I will be buying this in print also, having now listened to the audio. It's that good.
"A succinct distillation of existential meaning"
Inspirational and truly life-changing stories/psychological observations from a holocaust survivor. Still relevant today and would benefit anyone who has the slightest interest in existentialism or psychological science.
"Now is a good time to experience this book"
This book should be read every year or two to put things into perspective.
It's incredible as a story as well as describing the origins and practicality of Logo Therapy.
"eye opening and insightful"
Yes, I feel that on hearing it again it's probably one of those books that you take something newhich from each time. One'size perspective may change or simply may see something new.
Frankl teaches us to be hopeful
Viktor Frankl as he teaches many life lessons here.
I found that there are decent people in all walks of life and those who looked out for Frankl really moved me - it shows that there are people who make humanity beautiful.
I would suggest this should be recommended reading for all school kids learning about the world wars as it offers a different perspective and gives a lot of life lessons in this short book it really makes you think. I would also like to see a lot more adults reading it as it may lead to people respecting and caring for each other more.
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