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Publisher's Summary

Internationally renowned psychiatrist, Viktor E. Frankl, endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of, his suffering, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man's primary motivational force is his search for meaning.

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

Critic Reviews

"An enduring work of survival literature." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

For the nurturer of souls...

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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 03-20-13

Riveting Listen

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 08-28-16

Frankl was a Holocaust survivor and so much more

I listened to Night by Holocaust survivor by Elie Wiesel immediately prior to Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was born in 1905, 23 years before Wiesel, so he has well established general practice physician, psychiatrist, and neurologist when he was sent to Nazi concentration camps for 3 years at age 37. He was still required to perform lard labor in the four camps. He lost his parents and wife during the Holocaust with he and his sister being the only survivors in his family.

This book details his time in Nazi concentration camps, but its other major topic is his development of logotherapy, a form of existential therapy used modern psychiatry. The logotherapy concept uses the theory that humans need a cause, a purpose, to live fulfilling lives. Many believe that Freud made the most important contributions to modern psychiatry. Freud's contributions were very significant but the pale into virtual insignificance compared to Frankl's contributions. Man's Search for Meaning discusses the worldwide use and success of logotherapy.

This is a short book at less than 5 hours, but it is a critically important one. It is one that everyone should read, and then reread again and again. The book was written in 1946 but has been updated several times. This audiobook is the 1995 update, the final one.. It contains wisdom that can help every person live a more fulfilling life. Simon Vance's narration is outstanding.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is must listen non-fiction that can literally change ones life. It has my highest recommendation.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 11-17-14

Meaning IS happiness.

“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.

23 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing

The two stars are for the first part. You've heard a lot of stories about concentration camps, but this one described their daily life struggle closely. Although dramatic in some parts, but that's a necessity I believe in explaining one of the most notorious stories of human cruelty documented in history.
The second part was a disappointment. You can't simplify a solution to all of life’s problems with the mere suggestion of a paradigm shift to find your "meaning" in life. That's an undermining of the human psychology complexity we've reached so far.
Logotherpay as introduced in this book through multiple examples, tries to show the patient the worst of his bad situation, so that they're thankful for what they're in now, and viola they're cured (the husband who lost wife story, and the mother of the crippled child story).
Many holes provided in the book without solid scientific proof. For example when talking about the woman who was cured with a paradoxical intention therapy from her sixty years of washing compulsion just in two months! but how? the book didn't bother to mention the method how this serious mental illnesses of the century was magically wiped after a sixty years of suffering in simply two months. Two lines was sufficient to supposably convince you that Logotherapy magically does the "miracle" again in this situation.
Logotherapy is heavily influenced by Viktor's religious background, that it's trying to get psychoanalysis into a spiritual phase, throwing away all the revolutionary new discovers in human psychology in the past few decades from genetics, evolution, and neuroscience perspective (which the book didn't mention). Quoting from the book to support my point, from "The Collective Neurosis" section:
- "The existential vacuum which is the mass neurosis of the present time can be described as a private and personal form of nihilism; for nihilism can be defined as the contention that being has no meaning"
- "First of all, there is a danger inherent in the teaching of man’s “nothingbutness,” the theory that man is nothing but the result of biological, psychological and sociological conditions, or the product of heredity and environment."
In conclusion to me the book was "almost" another one of those self-help books, and didn't provide enough evidence to support that Logotherapy can be the plain and ultimate solution to the level of complexity of the human sociological and psychological behaviors.
From a narration perspective Vance did a very good job that made this book easier to digest.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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As humbling as it is illuminating

As he mentions early on, this is by no means a full documentation of the holocaust or the authors full experiences of surviving the camps, but rather he uses examples carefully to illustrate human nature. This book is aptly named and is an illuminating exploration of man's search for meaning, even in the darkest circumstances

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Stunning

The best thing on a topic of meaning of life and capabilities of regular humankind. Must-read (and must re-read) for anyone!
Also Mr. Simon Vance is doing an excellent job narrating this extraordinary reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great book although I expected more

This book is good and very insightful. For as many great reviews and acclaim it achieved, I did expect much more but I am glad I listened to it. The author is brilliant in the fact he makes it so simple - basically the whole book is an explanation of the following. Without meaning, life will cease to thrive. If you can find meaning in life, happiness will ensue.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Conquering through wisdom and the will to live.

Would you consider the audio edition of Man's Search for Meaning to be better than the print version?

No

What did you like best about this story?

When Frankl decided to make every obstacle he faced a challenge. He imagined himself giving lectures to students about life in a death camp.

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

Frankl

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Out of Ashes

Any additional comments?

Viktor Frankl was very fortunate to have not been executed or murdered while being in a Nazi death camp. His firsthand knowledge of what a person can endure in severe hardships and atrocities is educational,uplifting,and beneficial to mankind. I love this book and have read and listened to it a few times. Good read and good listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • GB
  • 10-01-15

Truly important book!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes. because it is compelling in every respect. Frankl's experiences at Auschwitz and Dachau were mind blowingly brutal and yet he managed to maintain a clinical perspective throughout, without losing his humanity. The insights he drew from his experiences are profound and everyone should hear them.

What other book might you compare Man's Search for Meaning to and why?

Carl Jung's Memories Dreams Reflections. Because they're both brilliant psychiatrists who think a lot more deeply and clearly than I can...I find this inspiring.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

If you could give Man's Search for Meaning a new subtitle, what would it be?

A soul's survival story

Any additional comments?

Thank you Dr. Frankl!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Garyion
  • 03-19-15

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Yas
  • 11-30-14

eye opening and insightful

Would you listen to Man's Search for Meaning again? Why?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

Frankl teaches us to be hopeful

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favourite?

Viktor Frankl as he teaches many life lessons here.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Immanuel
  • 05-15-14

Greatful for the insight and meaning

Any additional comments?

An amazing teasure of a book. Was a thought provocking read with much applicable-ness to inner thoughts and feelings. It truely is a must for those looking / scolars of life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. R. D. Cox
  • 03-03-11

Dynamite

if you do not know what is in this book - you know nothing.

In some ways this is too much to hear - uncomfortable listening - but I will keep listening

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • smtip
  • 05-15-15

very wise movie

loved the book. it is amazing and humbling to listen about such extreme life experiences, above all puts one's problems into context and gives an impulse to say yes to life!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew Anthony
  • 04-30-15

Grippong story and an in depth review at the end

The story of Victors hardships was compelling and I found myself unable to stop listening until the end.

The analysis at the end is a little hard to get you're head around but still worth hearing

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • A Shropshire Girl Reviews
  • 05-31-15

A book that should be on prescription

Where does Man's Search for Meaning rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Simon Vance is an excellent narrator, I have enjoyed his readings before. If you have anxiety or depression, I think this should be on the NHS prescription list. It is uplifting and helps you challenge your thoughts (not in the sense of 'oh it could be worse' but it in a much more positive way of finding ways to value what you have in its own right and to see the beauty in things.)

What was one of the most memorable moments of Man's Search for Meaning?

I thought the most moving part was the comments on the death of loved ones and how to cope.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I most enjoyed Frankl's musings on how prisoners coped after they were liberated. My only criticism of the entire book is that I would have liked it if this was more in depth.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this over two days, I personally found it a bit much to listen to in one day, I had to take a break but it is very addictive.

Any additional comments?

Super enjoyable, a privilege to listen to his story.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Flopadoo
  • 06-27-13

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Suswati
  • 09-15-17

Harrowing and important

I wish I concentrated on this more. There are some very important and valid points Viktor Frankl makes, especially given the author is also a psychiatrist and a survivor of the Holocaust. It is extremely traumatic and harrowing hearing his experiences in several concentration camps, and how he changed his attitude in order to stay alive.

Frankl concludes that man's search for purpose and meaning in life gives his ability to survive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JGV
  • 07-26-17

Matches its reputation

This is no easy-reading (or listening) book. It tells of incredible suffering, recounted with detached curiosity. This book invites no pity, it is a report of the author's experiences and his use of them.

Some sections are more aimed at people involved/interested in practices of psychotherapy/psychiatry etc. With patient attention, I expect many people will find much of this book (particularly the author's reflections on the earlier part of the book on life inside the concentration camps) both interesting and enlightening, although the style of the text might be obstructive for some.

The production of this audiobook was very good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-17

an exceptional book

I was a little uninterested in reading a book about life in concentration camps. I am glad that I read this as there was so much more than just a recounting of a story. I have taken much from this book and it has made its way on to my re-reads list as I feel I would benefit from a second run through!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-17-17

Excellent perspective

A story that is told from a unique perspective where the author is qualified to discuss the Holocaust from both from first hand experience as well as formally.

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  • Jamie
  • 01-07-17

A very interesting read!

A book that uses the retelling of a horrific period of the war to highlight the ability of mankind to empower themselves in pursuit of a higher cause. Very interesting to learn how this was the founding for what is today a prolific way of thought.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • stacey swetnam
  • 05-30-16

A real reality check

If you could sum up Man's Search for Meaning in three words, what would they be?

Humbling strengthening intense

What did you like best about this story?

Never would you think that such someone who has experienced such an atrocity could be able to draw upon the experience and find a positive lesson. The strength shown to stay positive and focus on survival is so intense but completely humbling when you think about the privileged conditions we have in this day and age.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No. Very easy listening though.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wanted to.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • samantha
  • 12-05-15

amazing

this book although deep has definitely changed my perspective on how i live my life

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • karen
  • 03-22-17

And it is found in the most unexpected places

What made the experience of listening to Man's Search for Meaning the most enjoyable?

The way the author links his theory to life experiences

Who was your favorite character and why?

The main character, which was the author I believe

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Where meaning hides

Any additional comments?

I will be listening to more books by this author, so courageous, the writer tells of his own experience which helps an individual to see ones own experience from a different perspective.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful