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Man's Search for Meaning

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4.36  ·  Rating details ·  300,200 ratings  ·  16,135 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…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…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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4.36  · 
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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
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 ...more
P-eggy
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
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
Pouting Always
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
Riku Sayuj
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-r-rs, pop-phil
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
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
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
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
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
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
anarki
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-horrorshow
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
...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
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
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
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
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
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
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡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
David Lentz
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sanjay Gautam
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is some great stuff. It truly deserves its legendary status .
Darwin8u
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
“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
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
Nandakishore Varma
In the film Ikiru ("To Live"), master filmmaker Akira Kurosawa tells the story of Kanji Watanabe, a Japanese bureaucrat with stomach cancer. Finding that he has only one year left to live, he initially slides into depression and then into riotous night-life. All that is changed, however, when he meets Toyo, a young girl who takes pleasure in making toys for young children - it gives her a purpose in life. This wakes Watanabe up to what he is missing in his life: and he makes it his purpose to bu ...more
Miquel Reina
I started reading "Man's Search for Meaning" thanks to a recommendation that appear on another book called 30 Days- Change your habits, Change your life: A couple of simple steps every day to create the life you want. Despite being one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, I had never heard about it but after reading the first pages, I quickly understood the reason for its fame. Man's Search for Meaning isn't a common story, is a true story. A collage of experiences, thoughts, ...more
Roy Lotz
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: medicine
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 psychologi
...more
Iris P
This is a very important memoir/psychological theory. Took me back to my psychoanalysis classes back in my college days..

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Of course that Frankl had the capacity to find hope and search for life's purpose during and after surviving such horrific experiences,is what makes this short memoir so remarkable.
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
Rosie Nguyễn
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read. Stresses the meaning of life, shows people how to overcome challenges and suffering in life, urges human beings to find their questions. I was going through a dark time while reading it. I found again the reasons to live, to try my best and to serve life. Simply an amazing book.
Khalid Almoghrabi
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
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3,101 followers
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
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 3035 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.” 2916 likes
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