Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

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. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, 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. At the hea...

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Title:Man's Search for Meaning
Author:Viktor E. Frankl
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Edition Language:English

Man's Search for Meaning Reviews

  • 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

    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

    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.

  • 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

  • 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!!

  • Better Eggs

    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

    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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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 had to read that one two or three times before I felt like I really grasped what Frankl was saying. And this one:

    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:

    Inspiring words; inspiring life.

    Bonus material:

    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!

  • 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,

    What is the meaning of life —

    Or perchance, we've been asking the wrong question after all?

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Narrative voice & style - ★★★★

    Vocal characterisation - ★★★★★

    Inflexion & intonation - ★★★★

    Voice quality - ★★★★

    - ★★★★ (Great performance, highly recommended!)

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

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