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Man's Search for Meaning

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  560,617 ratings  ·  30,779 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. 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 ...more
Paperback, 165 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Beacon Press (first published 1946)
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Ed Your assumption that people have voids in their lives is exactly what Frankl's book can help with. Find meaning in what you do and always have somethi…moreYour assumption that people have voids in their lives is exactly what Frankl's book can help with. Find meaning in what you do and always have something left to accomplish are just two of the ideas that speak across the years. I'm 77 and every time I re-read the book, I find new relevant meaning.(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 F…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)

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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 effect on me. I had of course read and knew about the atrocities that occurred under the Nazi regime, but to actually see a camp in person is a deeply haunting and disturbing experience. Perhaps for this reason ...more
Frank
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 is living in luxury in FtL but for how long?
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
...more
Riku Sayuj
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-phil, r-r-rs
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
Always Pouting
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 ...more
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
...more
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, medicine

If someone asks me to recommend the best three books related to the Second World War and the horrors of the holocaust, this book will be one among them. Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian Neurologist and Psychiatrist. He was also a Holocaust survivor. This book describes his experiences in concentration camps in the first section and the logotherapy he developed for finding meaning in all forms of existence during the suffering in the second section.

My favorite three lines from this book
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
description

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
...more
Francisco
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Maxwell
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
I have to separate the emotional impact of the first half of the book from my overall impression on how effective the book was as a whole. It's really difficult not to find stories of the holocaust incredibly gripping, and the way in which Frankl speaks of his experience is inspiring and yet still maintains that gravity you'd expect from such a narrative.
However, the latter half of the book delves much more into a psychological, and less personal, examination of 'logotherapy' (that is, the autho
...more
Swrp
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
"He who has a Why to live for can bear any How." ~ Nietzsche

"A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth” that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. "

This is an apt example of a book appearing when the reader truly needs it. Professor Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning has been on my 'to-read' shelf for quite sometime no
...more
Reading_ Tamishly
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never thought the book would actually deal with psychiatry, neuroses and some basic mental health issues.


The book just ended.

Did it just end? Like end?!

I was so enjoying the concepts and the writing.

Loved the later half of the book more. Actually O should not compare as it is almost like the author is trying to present those days at concentration camps in the first part and in the second part, how his concept of logotherapy/various mental disorders/physiological health issues should be dealt w
...more
Tharindu Dissanayake
"no one has the right to do wrong, not even if wrong has been done to them."

"Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning."

Man's Search for Meaning provides an unbiased narration of the experiences faced by a prisoner in a concentration camp, and the effects of it on one's most inner self. This is not a book on the specifics of torture, or other such inhumane things, but a prisoner's psychological impacts cau
...more
Emily
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Susan's Reviews


One of the first of Viktor Frankl's books that transformed my thinking and my world view. Man cannot survive without hope, and hope cannot survive feelings of futility or meaninglessness. We must therefore move away from despair and negativity and look for meaning in our suffering, or grow from it and find a different path. Everyone should read this book.



Lately, I have been evaluating Frankl's messages about Love, that: "Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire" and "Love is
...more
anarki
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-horrorshow
TO COMPOSE a brief synthesis of Viktor Frankl’s lucid insights on a prisoner’s self-transcendence over the inhumanity of the Holocaust is the purpose of this brief essay.

From 1941 until 1945, the Jews were held captive and systematically massacred in the concentration camps under the Nazi territories. The covert methods of this genocide included starvation, heavy manual labor under severe conditions, torture, hanging in the gallows, then mass murders, gas chambers, and crematoriums—methods that,
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Diane
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
J.L.   Sutton
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
In Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl begins his description of life in Nazi concentration camps (including Auschwitz) with the premise that life in the camps represents a provisional existence. In what must have seemed hopeless circumstances, is there any point in searching for meaning for one's life? Frankl does not dwell on the atrocities, but he does detail the mindset of his fellow prisoners facing what most of them knew was their death (as well as the death of their loved ones). Using ...more
Trevor
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, psychology
I’ve been meaning to read this for a very long time, but have to admit that the idea of reading a book by someone who survived the Holocaust with long descriptions of that part of their life included with graphic detail didn’t really make me want to jump at the chance. And this book is harrowing – particularly the first half or so – the pain is infinite.

I was also keen to find out what he felt he learnt from this experience about how to live a good life. I have to say that I found this part of
...more
Thomas
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Roy Lotz
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.

Viktor Frankl, at the age of 39, was sent to a concentration camp to endure dehumanizing conditions while being used for slave labor. While there, he lost his brother, mother, and wife. Upon his release, he re-commenced developing and teaching his own brand of therapy: logotherapy.

This book is a rather strange hybrid. In the first part, Frankl gives an overview of his time in the camps, paying special attention to the psycho
...more
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
...more
Wendyslc
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Greta G
Dr. Frankl didn't invent it, "The Meaning of Life".
But he invented Logotherapy, that is based on it.

The book consists of two parts. The first is a short autobiography of his time in the concentration camps, as he experienced it as a logotherapist. The second part of the book is an introduction to his therapeutic doctrine of Logotherapy. He added this chapter to his book because there was a great demand for it by readers.
The second chapter therefore will only appeal to readers who want to know
...more
Brendan Monroe
This is the kind of book that demands a five-star review. The thing is called "Man's Search for Meaning" for crying out loud. And it's written by a guy who survived four Nazi concentration camps. FOUR! What kind of philistine would give this anything less than five stars or, at the very least, four?

Ahem, well, this does indeed put me in an uncomfortable spot. I didn't read Viktor Frankl's book with the intention of only giving it two stars, I promise. I would have loved to have given it five. I
...more
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Q: There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche: "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. (c)
Q:
We who have come back, by the aid of many lucky chances or miracles - whatever one may choose to call them - we know: the best of us did not return. (c)

A very hard to read book, which could be used as an antidepressant. If people can live through this, if you can write a book in your head, as a self-therapy so as not lose oneself or die from pain and fear and utter despair... then peop
...more
Jon Nakapalau
Leni Riefenstahl showed us the Triumph of the Will...but Viktor E. Frankl shows us the Triumph of the Soul. This book really changed my perspective on Nazism: until I read this book I did not understand how systematic and premeditated genocide could be - how every aspect the Final Solution was taken into account by the state. Reading this book was one of the transformative moments of my life - highest recommendation.
Morgan Blackledge
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This gorgeous, heartbreaking, potent, transformative masterwork should be experienced by one and all. If words can change hearts and minds, and if books actually do matter, than this book matters as much as any.

This book changed me. I refer to it every time I take a difficult step. Every time I face a challenge. Every time I forget what’s important. Every time I forget what makes life worth living.

Frankl cured me of my youthful nihilism and my youthful idealism. Now, when I find myself searching
...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

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