Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
Born in Vienna in 1905 Viktor E. Frankl earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna. He published more than thirty books on theoretical and clinical psychology and served as a visiting professor and lecturer at Harvard, Stanford, and elsewhere. In 1977 a fellow survivor, Joseph Fabry, founded the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy. Frankl died in 1997.
Harold S. Kushner is rabbi emeritus at Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, andthe author of several best-selling books, including When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
William J. Winslade is a philosopher, lawyer, and psychoanalyst at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston.
One of the great books of our time. --Harold S. Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"
"One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years."--Carl R. Rogers (1959)
"An enduring work of survival literature." --"New York Times"
"An accessible edition of the enduring classic. The spiritual account of the Holocaust and the description of logotherapy meets generations' need for hope."--Donna O. Dziedzic (PLA) AAUP Best of the Best Program
It is easy to see why this book has sold more than twelve million copies world wide since its first publication in 1959. Viktor E. Frankl has captured the ultimate reason for human existence. Perhaps Frankl's underlying question of humanity, "ask not what life can do for you, rather, what you can do for life," inspired Robert F. Kennedy's January 20th, 1961, question "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
I wholeheartedly agree with Frankl's principles of logotherapy; that it is every person's overarching life lesson to find their "meaning" for their life. In a world where the measure of happiness derived principally through a constant comparison with others of an individual's accumulation of material wealth is the norm, Frankl's assertion, that happiness is a fundamental consequence of one's true life meaning, clearly resonates at a deeper human level of consciousness.
Frankl's personal anecdotal reflections and clinical case histories throughout the book serve to reinforce the utility of positive psychology principles in the treatment of many "so called" mental health disorders, as identified by the prevailing medical model of the time.
Overall, a thought provoking and inspiring read that captures the essence of what it means to be a fully functioning human being, mindful of the interconnectedness of all humanity. That the book was written in nine days makes it all the more remarkable.
Viktor Frankl's book offers inspiration to anyone searching for meaning in their lives. It is particularly relevant given that modern society has seen an unprecedented rise in suicide rates which are the extreme end of a range of contemporary ailments such as low self worth and depression. Frankl confirms that a meaningful life involves finding a purpose in any situation even one as random and horrific as the loss of humanity for Jews caught in a Nazi concentration camp. He separates himself as the prisoner and the therapist and both views are fascinating.
A really great book, especially for those who feel life is empty, or meaningless. Frankl's experiences in concentration camp provide him with proof that meaning in life can be found in the worst of places. Frankl uses these experiences to show the way to have a life that doesn't have to be empty and he provides direction that can achieve a life with meaning.
Loved this book. Wish that i had read it earlier on in my Psychology studies. Definite must read for those who are studying, working or simply interested in the field of Psychology. Frankel writes in a way that is profound, yet simple to understand.
An interesting book that looks into the philospohy of Logotherapy; an existentialist analysis that focuses on a will to meaning as opposed to Adler's Nietzschian doctrine of "will to power" or Freud's will to pleasure. Based initially in a concentration camp we find ourselves reading about a truer description than that which is commonly conveyed. The discussion of the human condition when it is pushed to capacity, the importance of our reactions and power of choice. Frankl writes poignantly about discovering the seed of meaning within yourself when faced with challenges, how meaning, and especially meaning within oneself, can provide direction and foundation when moving forward. I hope my experiences find me facing challenges a little less severe than those of Viktor, and the book is a little dated now, but it was very interesting, and helped formalise thoughts I have been pondering. Chur.
I have just finished reading Man's search for meaning and I found it to be the most amazing book. I found myself in it in many parts. I found an understanding of why I have anxiety and relationship problems. I will read this book many times because I feel one reading is not enough to absorb the message that is there. Our day to day problems in life are meaningless compared to what Viktor went through but the message that came from that experience will stay with anyone who reads this book. Amazing.
A book that should be read by everyone, specially those who question today's trends. A poweful message of hope from a psychiatrist who survived life as a prisoner in in a concentration camp. From this experience he could learn what gave some humans a will to live when others gave up hope. Recommnded.
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