Patty's Reviews > Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
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Mar 13, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction, psychology, self-help, holocaust
Read from March 04 to 12, 2012

This is a great book. I keep re-writing this review, I guess because there is so much to say about this book, although it is a small book. Yes, it deals with the concentration camps and the cruelty there, but it deals more with how one survives each day by adjusting their mind to more positive thoughts such as their spouses and children, or even to the delight of the sight of a rainbow.

This may in fact be the best written book ever about how to look at the world and yourself and others in a more positive way, how to concentrate on the goodness of life even when in the pit of disgust.

This is a must read book for everyone no matter what your condition in life is, this book will be helpful.

I bought a newer edition which includes a foreword by Harold S. Kushner, and at the very beginning he says. "Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning is one of the great books of our time. Typically, if a book has one passage, one idea with the power to change a person's life, that alone justifies reading it, rereading it, and finding room for it on one's shelves. This book has several such passages." That statement sums up very well how I feel about this book. It is not a book to be put on a shelf and left there, it is a book to read again and again. This is now my number one book on my "self help" shelf.

The first half of the book is about the concentration camps and how one deals with being there. "Many factual accounts about concentration camps are already on record. Here, facts will be significant only as far as they are part of a man's experiences." (pg 6) This part of the book is broken into three phases of camp living. "When one examines the vast amount of material which has been amassed as the result of many prisoners' observations and experiences, three phases of the inmate's mental reactions to camp life become apparent: the period following his admission; the period when he is well entrenched in camp routine; and the period following his release and liberation." (pg 8)

The second half of this book is about "logotherapy." "In logotherapy the patient is actually confronted with and reoriented toward the meaning of his life. And to make him aware of this meaning can contribute much to his ability to overcome his neurosis." (pg 98)

You know, most of us aren't going to have to live in concentration camps, or even be abused as children, and this book is most definately for those people who are to survive those events, but this book is also for people who are struggling over the death of a loved one, or how to deal with just being and living an unhappy life. This book can help you to see things differently. If you only buy one book this year on any subject, but especially on the subject of self help or psychology, then buy this book, or borrow this book, get it at the library, get it anyway you can, but read it, and then apply it. This is a great book.
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