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. 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 others he treated later...

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Title:Man's Search for Meaning
Author:Viktor E. Frankl
Rating:
ISBN:080701429X
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:184 pages

Man's Search for Meaning Reviews

  • Frank
    Jul 02, 2007

    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
    Jan 22, 2008

    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
    Aug 26, 2008

    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 affect 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 affect 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 3 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!!

  • Riku Sayuj
    Oct 25, 2011

    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.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    Oct 30, 2011

    The sun is slowly rising up ushering the dawning of a new day. The mother and the father are sipping their first cups of coffee. Their schooling children are rising up from their bed. The mother attends to her children’s daily routine. She bathes, feeds them their breakfast and makes sure that their things are all in their individual school bags.

    (translation: Whom Do You Wake Up For?) is heard as a voice over. This is Nestle’s TV ad for Nescafe coffee but it sends a v

    The sun is slowly rising up ushering the dawning of a new day. The mother and the father are sipping their first cups of coffee. Their schooling children are rising up from their bed. The mother attends to her children’s daily routine. She bathes, feeds them their breakfast and makes sure that their things are all in their individual school bags.

    (translation: Whom Do You Wake Up For?) is heard as a voice over. This is Nestle’s TV ad for Nescafe coffee but it sends a very clear message:

    In a nutshell, this is what

    (1905-1997) an Austrian Jew, neurologist, psychiatrist and a Holocaust survivor, is saying in this 1946 originally-published book,

    He says that the life of each one of us has its own meaning. That meaning cannot be generalized. His theory of

    which is a form of Existential Analysis, can be used to determine one’s meaning for living or even suffering. Using his horrendous experiences at Auschwitz concentration camp, which he narrated in the first part of this book, he said that he and the other survivors kept themselves alive by imaging and looking forward to their lives after the war. Those who felt hopeless and they could not picture themselves reuniting with their families after the war, perished. As if they had no longer any reason for living and thus they chose to die rather than to survive.

    He also said that we should not ask for the meaning of our life. Rather, we should ask what life wants from us.

    I have read several books about the holocaust. I have seen and liked Steven Spielberg’s

    and read and liked Thomas Keneally’s

    , Imre Kertesz’s

    , Elie Wiesel’s

    , Victor Klemperer’s

    and of course Anne Frank’s

    That’s why the first part of this book did not shock me anymore. However, there are some parts here that were new to me like Frankl’s heavy interactions with the

    , co-inmates but they have leadership positions and also he, as a doctor, had a chance to escape from the Auschwitz concentration camp together with another doctor. This was the first time I heard that a prisoner could

    successfully escape the camp.

    The second part of the book is more on clinical analysis and theories about

    which Frankl pioneered. It is similar to psychotherapy but this one is more forward-looking. It is a type of existentialist analysis that focuses on a will to meaning as opposed to Adler’s Nietzchean 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

    that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. (Source: Wikipedia).

    And this striving to find a meaning is the reason why we wake up each morning.

  • anarki
    Nov 07, 2011

    Have you ever been in a situation wherein unreasonable suffering seems the only task left in your life that suicide seems to be a very reasonable option? Have you ever thought that living only extends the misery and torment you've already took? Have you felt the vacuum of meaningless suffering sucking the life out of you like a black hole? Have you ever thought that breathing is a disease only death can cure? If yes, then you haven't read this book.

    The meaning of life … Many people already died

    Have you ever been in a situation wherein unreasonable suffering seems the only task left in your life that suicide seems to be a very reasonable option? Have you ever thought that living only extends the misery and torment you've already took? Have you felt the vacuum of meaningless suffering sucking the life out of you like a black hole? Have you ever thought that breathing is a disease only death can cure? If yes, then you haven't read this book.

    The meaning of life … Many people already died trying to find it or died before even finding it. We, human beings, have this need to fill the void. “What's the meaning of life?” is a very famous question. A question that is a widespread epidemic around the world.

    In this book, Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, he shares his experiences in the concentration camp. Horrifying. It makes your gut feel sick. It makes you grind your teeth and clench your fists and punch the wall. Or whatever. It makes you stop reading and reflect. If you're not familiar with the history of Hitler, The Nazis, or watched movies like “A Beautiful Life” or “Schinder's List”, you will be in a state of shock reading this autobiographical account.

    Frankl discussed in the first part of the book the Psychological Reaction or Phases of a prisoner in the concentration camp. First phase is Shock. You are welcomed by the horror and brutality. This is the moment when everything from you is taken off. Every possession that you have. Every strand of hair in your body is shaved off. Even your name is replaced by a number. You are no longer a human being. Inside the camp, you are nothing but a number. 119, 104 was Frankl's.. It's only you and your naked existence –even minus the hair. During this phase, everyday life in the camp is hell. There was even a night that someone was a having a delirium while he was sleeping. At first, Frankl wanted to wake him up, but after a few second he decided not to. Fact is: The reality he's gonna be waking up to is a lot worse than the nightmare he was having. This is the moment when you'll realized that nightmares are better than reality. Every minute in the camp, the thought of death doesn't escape your thoughts. Every day, someone dies. Or decides to kill himself. The death toll increases, and you are nothing but a statistic that won't even be recorded. You could be next.

    Later, this day to day camp experience will take your capacity to feel pain itself. The next phase is Apathy. In this phase, you are accustomed to the camp environment. It was once said that man can adapt to any situations, only he thinks he can't. The blows in the head no longer hurt you. It's the mental agony that will make you suffer –the injustice. You can even drag the dead body out of the way and steal his belongings for your own betterment. You only bother to take care of your survival. Survival of the fittest.

    Frankl discovered that they already proved Science wrong. If Science were right, then they should have been dead meat. There’s something inside the human body that is more than itself. Something beyond their own anatomy.

    Pause. Let me ask you a question. Have you ever wondered why there were some people who got the guts to escort the prisoners to the Gas Chambers? The Schutzstaffel, a.k.a in abbreviated form: the SS, and the Capos. How did they get the nerve of doing that? And how do they even find tyranny pleasurable?

    Here, we come to the last phase of a prisoner’s Psychological Reaction. It’s Depersonalization. The person is depersonalized. It’s no longer a person, but a thing. The morals are distorted. The person inside, dies. The person has become nothing but a number. A prisoner a prisoner. An SS an SS. A Capo a Capo. They killed the spiritual life inside them, thus resorting to such evil acts making the people around them suffer instead of themselves. When liberation had come, at first thought, they expected themselves to be happy and free. They were wrong. Being happy was something they've unlearned. After years of meaningless suffering as prisoners of war, they forgot how it feels like to be free again –how to be free –how to be a human being. A human being who became a number. Then a number finding its way back to be a human being.

    I apologize for the attempt to summarize.

    Frankl's experience in the concentration camp put Sigmund Freud into shame. It's not really pleasure that drives people to live his life. It disputes the Pleasure Principle and Adler's Will to Power. After reading this book and know the immeasurable meaningless suffering a prisoner had went through, you would wonder how were these people able to survive. .... It's the Will to Meaning.

    Quoting from from a famous philosopher “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” No matter how much suffering one is going through. If he finds a reason to live through it. His soul will speak with pride. Looking back, shouting to the world “I went through it all!” The suffering had become an inspiration. It had become a trophy. It had become an achievement that no one can ever steal.“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.” Again, from that famous philosopher.

    Because of this theory, the suffering impregnated Viktor Frankl and later gave birth to Logotherapy or Existential Therapy which is going to be discussed in the 2nd half of the book. It's more than being logical. Logos is deeper than Logic. It is self-transcendence. A form of Psychotherapy that focuses on meaning. The psychotherapist plays the role of an Ophthalmologist. He makes the patient see what he doesn't see. Everything, no matter how miserable it is, has a meaning. No matter how much suffering one is going through, it doesn't take away the internal freedom to deal cope with the situation. "Everything can be taken away 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." and, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

    And what happens to a man after going through hell? Simple. He is no longer afraid of anything.

    To end this, I want to share a story.

    After the liberation, some personnel visited the concentration camps. They took a look around the ruins of war. And as they were roaming, one personnel noticed something etched on the wall,

    "Vielen Dank, Mein Lieber Gott! Sie haben mir die Gelegenheit geben, denen vergeben, die unverzeihlich!"

    Translated in English it says,

    "Thank you, my dear God! For you have given me the opportunity to forgive the unforgivable!"

    And by the way, I have a blog:

    .

  • Bushra Omar
    Jun 10, 2012

    " الإنسان يبحث عن المعنى " – مقدمة في العلاج بالمعنى.. التسامي بالنفس

    في كل مرة تفتح كتابًا، توقع أن يحصل لك شيئًا عظيمًا! كأن تولد من جديد .. و هذا ما حدث معي بالفعل، و تعتبر هذه ولادتي الثالثة في الحياة، فالانسان يسمو في كل مرة و يرتفع خطوة جديدة وتتبدل قناعته الأولى، فإذا ما كنت وصلت مسبقًا إلى معنى البحث عن النفس و تحقيق الذات، فإنني بعد كتاب "فرانكل" أخرج من سجن فكرة إلى فكرة أعمق!! ، من سجن الهدف و التوتر و السعي للاتزان إلى المعنى

    " لا يمكن التوصل إلى تحقيق الذات إذا جعله الشخص كفايه في حد

    " الإنسان يبحث عن المعنى " – مقدمة في العلاج بالمعنى.. التسامي بالنفس

    في كل مرة تفتح كتابًا، توقع أن يحصل لك شيئًا عظيمًا! كأن تولد من جديد .. و هذا ما حدث معي بالفعل، و تعتبر هذه ولادتي الثالثة في الحياة، فالانسان يسمو في كل مرة و يرتفع خطوة جديدة وتتبدل قناعته الأولى، فإذا ما كنت وصلت مسبقًا إلى معنى البحث عن النفس و تحقيق الذات، فإنني بعد كتاب "فرانكل" أخرج من سجن فكرة إلى فكرة أعمق!! ، من سجن الهدف و التوتر و السعي للاتزان إلى المعنى

    " لا يمكن التوصل إلى تحقيق الذات إذا جعله الشخص كفايه في حد ذاته، و لكن يكون هذا ممكنا إذا نظر إليه كأثر جانبي للتسامي بالذات"

    اتفق معه كثيرًا ، فإذا ما تحول إحقاق الذات لهدف، و بغية الوصول إليه بأي طريق، قد تؤدي إلى الضياع و عدم الشعور به حتى لو حدث و وصل إليه، يشبه ذلك من يريد السعادة كهدف، ثم يجد نفسه يأخّر حصولها في كل مرة بسبب إضافته لمعايير جديدة لسعادته!!

    الكتاب مقسم لثلاث أجزاء كالتالي:

    القسم الأول : خبرات في معسكر القتال :

    و فيه يطرح فرانكل خبرته و ما عاشه هو ورفاقه داخل السجن، الحقيقة أن كل ما قرأته مؤلمًا، و يجرد الحياة الانسانية من الانسان نفسه! ، أنا التي آمنت دائمًا بعظمة هذا الانسان و أن الانسانية لا يمكن أن تسلب منه تحت كل الظروف الضاغطة عليه .. يأتي هنا فرانكل ليحلل تحليلاً دقيقًا و مدهشًا لثلاث أطوار يمر بها السجين و هي كالتالي :

    * الصدمة الطور الأول لردود الأفعال النفسية

    و ذكر بعدها أمر أثار دهشتي ألا وهو " رد الفعل غير السوي إزاء موقف غير سوي هو استجابة سوية "!!

    * البلادة و الموت الانفعالي هما الطور الثاني لردود الأفعال النفسية

    يذكر هنا أن الانسان يلجأ للبلادة كوسيلة للدفاع عن الذات وتخليصها من الألم النفسي، كما تفعل روح المرح أيضا

    * الطور الثالث/ تحدث فيه عن سيكولوجية السجين بعد الافراج عنه ( فقدان القدرة على الاحساس بالسرور- اختلال الشخصية .. الخ )

    صادفتني في هذا القسم :

    فقرة شيقة عنوانها " خلاص الانسان هو من خلال الحب و في الحب "

    يقول الحقيقة أن الحب هو الهدف الغائي و الأسمى الذي يمكن أن يطمع إليه الانسان!

    في الحرية و الاختيار يقول فرانكل " كل شيء يمكن أن يؤخذ من الانسان عدا شيئًا واحدًا و هذا الشيء الواحد هو آخر شيء من الحريات الانسانية – و هو أن يختار المرء اتجاهه في ظروف معينة، أي يختار المرء طريقه "

    تحدث أيضاً عن المعاناة و أنها شيء نسي!

    " إن المعاناة تغمر الروح الانسامية كلها و العقل الواعي بأكمله، بصرف النظر عما إذا كانت المعاناة كبيرة أم صغيرة _ مسألة نسبية"

    في نهاية هذا الجزء المؤلم والشيق! و بطريقة فرانكل في ذكر القصة و التحليل معًا، نشأت لدي شخصية معهم! و أدركت الكثير مما سلطته عليّ لأعيش سجنًا معنويًا، ولحسن الحظ أن حديث فرانكل كان ينسجم مع الحياة كليًا، ولم يقتصر على سجناء المعسكر!

    في نهايته كتب جملة هزتني وتوقفت عندها كثيرًا " لقد دعوت الله من سجني الضيق، فأجابني في رحابة الكون "

    هل لي أن أقول أن الله أرسل لي هذه الكتاب لأغرق في رحابته! و أتوسّع من داخلي؟

    القسم الثاني: المبادئ الأساسية للعلاج بالمعنى:

    هنا يكرر الحديث مرة أخرى لكن بطريقة مدهشة و تأكيديه مفصلة و علمية أكثر

    سأكتب ملخصًا بسيطًا يوضح ما ذكره، لأن مثل هذا الكتاب يُغرق فيه و لايسهل الحديث عنه!

    * إرادة المعنى : إن سعي الانسان إلى البحث عن معنى هو قوة أولية في حياته

    * الاحباط الوجودي: يذكر أنه يتولد من الصراعات بين القيم المختلفة- المعنوية الأخلاقية

    احتفظت باقتباسات تنفي قضية الاتزان التي كنت أؤمن بها! و توضح أن فترات التوتر التي أمر بها طبيعة!

    - ليس كل صراع بالضرورة عصابيًا فمقدار من الصراع سوي و صحي، و كذلك ليس كل معاناة حالة مرضية و هي بالتالي ليست عرضًا من أعراض العصاب، لذا فإن المعاناة قد تكون أنجازًا انسانيًا طيباً، خاصة إذا كانت تنشأ من الاحباط الوجودي.

    _ ليس مايحتاجه الانسان هو حالة اللاتوتر و لكنه يحتاج إلى السعي والاجتهاد في سبيل هدف يستحق أن يعيش من أجله.

    * الفراغ الوجودي: يقول أنه يتمثل في حالة الملل!

    و منه يبدأ الانسان تعويض إرادة المعنى المحبطة بـ إرادة القوة/ اللذة

    كما يوضح لنا طرق تمكننا من كشف المعنى في الحياة، و هي ثلاثة

    1- الاتيان بفعل و عمل ( الانجاز/ التحقيق)

    2- أن نخبر قيمة من القيم ( ويتحدث فيها عن معنى الحب )

    3- أن تعيش حالة المعاناة ( معنى المعاناة)

    يذكر ما قاله دوستويفكسي : يوجد شيئ واحد فقط يروعني و هو " ألا أكون جديرًا بآلامي "

    فإذا كان الانسان يملك معنى لحياته فمؤكد أنه سيجد معنى للمعناته وآلاآمه!

    " إن المعاناة تتوقف من أن تكون معاناة بشكل ما، في اللحظة التي تكتسب فيها معنى"

    القسم الثالث: التسامي بالذات

    و كانه مراجعة لكل السابق بمحاولة سمو الانسان بذاته و تجاوزها.

    و أخيرًا هناك نقطة قيمة لصالح العلاج بالمعنى وهي [إ ن العلاج بالمعنى يرى في " الالتزام بالمسؤلية" الجوهر الحقيقي للوجود الانسان]

    و هذه تعني أنه سيلفت نظرك لما يجب أن تفكر فيه، لكنه ابدًا لن يفرض عليك قرارته، فالأمر كله ينبع من داخلك، من أعماقك

  • Petra Eggs
    Jan 14, 2013

    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.

  • فرشاد
    Jul 28, 2015

    باشد که با این خواندن، از این بی معنا یی زندگی، رهایی پیدا کنم...

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    Aug 29, 2016

    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!