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Man's Search for Meaning

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4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  118,665 ratings  ·  6,418 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 165 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Beacon Press (first published 1946)
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Rachel Drummond I think instead of offering a solution as such, it offers tools to aid the reader in filling the void in peoples life. I think that this is one of…moreI think instead of offering a solution as such, it offers tools to aid the reader in filling the void in peoples life. I think that this is one of those books that will never lose relevance. There will always be something new you can take from it.(less)
Katrina Shawver The book is a fast read, and it's hard to argue with a book that has more than 12 million copies in print worldwide. I read a news article on Viktor…moreThe book is a fast read, and it's hard to argue with a book that has more than 12 million copies in print worldwide. I read a news article on Viktor Frankl - very interesting. Before the war he established suicide prevention centers in Vienna for teenagers, and tried to help them find their unique meaning in life. It's based on his time in Auschwitz - not a happy place, but wise observations. I wouldn't call it depressing; I would call it observant of people in difficult circumstances and why some give up, and some keep hope alive. It's thought provoking in a positive way. I'm glad I know about this book. Good luck.(less)

Community Reviews

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Steve Sckenda

If you were offered an opportunity to spend an evening with a man who survived Auschwitz, would you make time in your busy schedule to hear his tale? Would you be surprised to find out that the survivor was happy and well adjusted and still saw the good in people? Would you be even more surprised to know that he found meaning in life, not just after the Holocaust, but while he was still at Auschwitz? Would you consider the possibility of applying his hard-earned insights to your own problems, wh
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Frank
Sep 21, 2012 Frank rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to live a fulfilling life
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 consciously 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 ...more
Petra X
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 The Diary of a Young Girl in furthering our understanding of those dreadful times.

T
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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 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 ...more
Bushra Omar
" 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
...more
Emily
Apr 26, 2013 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: Robert T. Barrett
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
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 01, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: anarki
Shelves: essays, non-fiction
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. Para Kanino Ka Bumabangon? (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 ...more
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 ...more
anarki
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
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Ben
Reading about the holocaust awakens me to the varying sides and degrees of human nature.

"Life in a concentration camp tore open the human soul and exposed its depths. Is it surprising that in those depths we again found only human qualities which in there very nature were a mixture of good and evil? The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp
...more
Cheryl Kennedy
It seems to me that we are adrift and searching until we clarify for ourselves why we are alive. Until then, there is anxiety which may balloon into cynicism if an anchor is not found during especially difficult times. Religion, philosophy and psychology offer solutions through ancient texts and current reseach analysis. But there is another truth-telling for the curious mind; it is memoir, and none so profound as from a survivor of the Holocaust.

Once a personal meaning is clarified, we may want
...more
Diane Librarian
This is a fascinating book by a psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. The first part, which I loved, is the author's story about how he endured the concentration camps. Frankl's purpose in describing his time in Auschwitz and other camps was not to dwell on the horrors -- though there were plenty of those -- but instead to focus on how prisoners found meaning in their lives and how they chose to survive.

The book's foreword has a good summary of the ideas to come: "Terrible as it was, his exp
...more
mai ahmd
كتاب جميل جدا ومهم في مجال الصحة النفسية
يستعرض الدكتور فرانكل تجربته الذاتية وخبراته في معسكرات النازية
وكيف استطاع من خلال إيمانه بمعنى وجوده من الإستمرار في مقاومة حياة الذل
كيف أعطى لنفسه معنى حين ألغي وجوده في المعسكر وتحول لمجرد رقم من خلال تحقيقه الانتصار الداخلي
الكاتب وصف المراحل التي يمر بها السجين منها مرحلة النكوص مرحلة اختلال الشخصية ومرحلة البلادة
مرحلة العدم ومحاولات الإنتحار كما يتحدث باسهاب عن المعاناة والألم النفسي
المشوق في الكتاب أنه يضرب أمثلة من واقع تجربته شخصيا

يشرح في الج
...more
Wendyslc
Apr 14, 2011 Wendyslc rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone over 13
Reading this book in high school changed my life. I grew up in an abusive home and was in constant survival mode. After reading this book I realized that I had a choice. I could let my circumstances dictate my attitude or I could choose my attitude, which could then change my circumstances.

Becoming an adult is the hardest thing we ever do. Being an adult means accepting responsibility for your thoughts, actions and character. I realized that I can choose my thoughts and actions regardless of my
...more
David Lentz
I followed Viktor Frankl diligently in his journey from the gas ovens of Auschwitz into the hospitals of Vienna after he beats the 1 in 20 odds of his surviving a German concentration camp. He writes that the single most important self-determinant in his survival was his deep inherent conviction under the worst of all possible conditions that life has meaning: even here under constant risk of typhus, wearing the recycled prison garb of those who had been sacrificed to the ovens, starving, freezi ...more
Khalid Almoghrabi
This book could not be added or compared to any other book. it stood still in its kind. Dr. Frankl gives illumination on human behavior in a way that might surprise many. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in psychology in general.
Cortney
There must be something wrong with me. This is a book that everyone is supposed to love. But I didn't. I didn't even like it. I only gave it three stars because I would have felt like a first class jerk giving it only two stars.

Here's the thing- I love WWII stories- The Hiding Place, Anne Frank, etc. But Man's Search for Meaning had no emotion in it. It was so clinical and frankly quite boring.

The first section- Experiences in a Concentration Camp- was ok, but as I said, contained no emotion.

Th
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Farshad
باشد که با این خواندن، از این بی معنا یی زندگی، رهایی پیدا کنم...
Hafeth
هذا الكتاب لا يُقرأ مرة واحدة و يوضع على الرف!
هذا اشبه ما يكون بمرجع عملي للحياة، فلا بد من إعادة قراءته مرة بعد أخرى.

الجزء اﻷول الخاص بتجربة الكاتب في معسكرات اﻹعتقال، كان هو اﻷجمل، حيث يقدم الكاتب شهادة حية على تقلبات النفس اﻹنسانية و تفاعلها، و تكيّفها مع محيطها، و حِيَل دفاعها من أجل البقاء الجسدي (التشبث بالحياة و دفع الموت)، و حِيَل الدفاع من أجل الصحة النفسية و العقلية (دفع الجنون و اﻹنهيار النفسي).
عند قراءة هذا الجزء تواترت عليّ الكثير من اﻷفكار، و كنت أسرح كثيرا و أسترجع ما خبرته شخصيا
...more
Thomas
While reading Man's Search for Meaning, I could not stop thinking: why can't I be a psychologist now? By the time I reached page 103, I wanted to highlight passage after passage, or at least add them to my favorite quotes on Goodreads to preserve their impact forever.

Frankl divides his inspiring book into two parts. The first describes his experience living in Nazi death camps and how he dealt with the doom and decay that always surrounded him. He laces his story with astute, dispassionate obser
...more
Michelle
I had heard about this book for years prior to stumbling upon it at a local bookstores but despite the wonderful reviews it received, I had always dismissed it as your typical "holocaust" story. In "Man's Search for Meaning", Frankl recounts his years in the concentration camp but he also focuses on the collective experience of the prisoners rather than only on his own tale. Told in an honest and surprisingly courageous tone, this book not only captures the extent/depth of human suffering but th ...more
booklady
Throughout history humanity has always been in search of purpose and meaning to our existence on this earth. One of the oldest jokes in the world is the young person asking the ancient one, “What is the meaning of life?” and receiving some sort of reply like, “If you find out, you let me know, okay?!”

Viktor Frankl’s classic work was originally written in 1945 and published in 1959. I own a 1984 paperback edition of the book which had already been through seventy-three editions in English alone,
...more
First Second Books
Just the first part—his time in Auschwitz. A life-changing book, for real. I feel like I'd have to downgrade every 5 star review I've ever given, to make room for this 5 star. It's about the very worst humiliation and misery, and yet it's not bitter, it's not hateful, it's beautiful and rich and life enhancing. When absolutely everything is taken away from this person, he finds in himself the part nothing can ever harm. It's beyond a time-period, it's about the experience of existing as a human ...more
rahul
The holocaust part of the book is as expected moving and heart wrenching. I kept thinking, how I would have perished. What line of fate would have carried me to death. How much belief, hope and in what would have helped me see myself through and for what.

And then the part dealing with "logotherapy" , [the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one's life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans], following lines of Jiddu Krishnamurti I could not sha
...more
Darwin8u
“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
...more
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
This book was written by a holocaust survivor. He formed a theory of which elements help people survive horrific circumstances, and which ones cause people to succumb. He explains his theory while giving first and second hand examples of people's lives.

I was recently purchasing a used van and met the family of the seller. The old couple that lived in the home were fabulous conversationalists and as we waited for the van to arrive, the woman showed me around the home and it came out that she and
...more
Safa Rawashdeh
كنت أظن أن على الحياة أن تكون على صورة محددة , يقول الكاتب أن هذا الكلام غير صحيح , ويظلم الإنسانُ نفسه كثيراً إن اختار أن يصدقه
الإنسان هو وجوده , بدون أي شكل يحدده , أو عمرٍ يقسّمه , أو عرق يصنّفه , وبالأهم هو ليس ظروفاً تنتجه
يحاول الكاتب -كما أرى - أن يُدافع عن تجربته الإنسانية ويُثبت شكل الحياة التي عاشها حتى ولو لم تكن هي الصورة المثالية للحياة , فيقول حتى لو أنني قضيت جزءاً من حياتي في سجون النظام النازي فهذا لن يجعل حياتي أقل شأناً ومعنى وأهمية مِن من عاش حياته في بيت دافئ يقضى أيام الأس
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Andrew Breslin
Viktor Frankl's entire family was murdered by the Nazis while he himself endured years of abject torment in a concentration camp under conditions so horrible it defies description. This puts in stark perspective the rancorous recriminations I unleash on a hostile and uncaring universe every time I cannot locate my keys.

Life has its ups and downs, but neither I nor anyone reading this will ever find themselves as down as Frankl did. I'm in danger of making a flippant understatement when I observ
...more
Alyazi
بعض الكتب هي رسائل " الله " إلينا ، هي إجابة لـ أسئلتنا المرتبكة ، هي كقُبلات السماء ، هي إرادة الله أن ..نرى العالم كما يجب ، و " الإنسان يبحث عن المعنى " كان رسالة الله إليّ في وقتٍ كنت متخمة بأسئلة عن " معنى وجودي ، معنى أن أعيش و أحيا " .

الكتاب مقسم إلى ثلاثة أقسام : الأول منه يحكي تجربة الكاتب الشخصية في معسكرات الإعتقال بنظرة معالج نفسي ، آلمني أن يكون كُل ما
the boy in the striped pyjamas شاهدته في فيلم
حقيقياً جداً ، كان يكفيني أن أبدأ حتى يغمرني الإحساس ذاته بعد أن أنهيت الفيلم ( ألم و
...more
شمس الدين
الكتاب جميل جدًا
جمال ذاتي و جمال أني قرأته في وقت أحتاج فيه لمثل هذا الكتاب فعلًا , لم أشعر مع مطالعني له بأني اقرأ كتاب صعب , علي العكس , شعرت بروح الكاتب و كأنها صديق قديم يحدثني عن تجربة مميزة و فريدة للغاية إمتزج بتأصيل فلسفي مقارب لمرجعيتي و عدد التحفظات عليه قليل للغاية , لن أتحدث عن فصول الكتاب فهي متاجه للجميع و يمكن مطالعته فهو من فالكتاب من الحجم الصغير .

تخطى الكاتب في رأيي فكرة أن يكون الأمر مجرد شعارات و أفكار ينظر لها من جلس مكاتب المفكرين المكيفه , و لا يدري عن الواقع شيًا , ربما
...more
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Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D., was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School" of psychotherapy.

His book Man's Search for Meaning (first published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism. Originally published in 1946 as Ein Psycholog
...more
More about Viktor E. Frankl...
The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy The Unheard Cry for Meaning Recollections: An Autobiography

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“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 1607 likes
“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.” 1277 likes
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