Man's Search for Meaning

Paperback, 165 pages

English language

Published Aug. 6, 2006 by Beacon Press.

ISBN:
9780807014271
OCLC Number:
68940601

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4 stars (53 reviews)

Man's Search for Meaning has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 psychiatrist Viktor Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the stories of his many 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. Frankl's theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. In the decades since its first publication in 1959, Man's Search for Meaning has become a classic, with more than twelve million copies in print around the world. A 1991 Library of Congress …

43 editions

Strong first half, weak second half

4 stars

First half was an incredibly insightful look into the nature of man, and investigated an angle of the concentration camp not often looked at. The second half, which deals with his own theory of logotherapy feels a lot less impressive, mostly just reiterating things already implicit in the first half but a lot less convincingly.

Review of "Man's Search for Meaning" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This really is a great book encompassing the whole gamut of human emotions. Having experienced the most meaningless suffering of the concentration camps Viktor Frankl examines what distinguished those who lived and died and boiled it down to those who had a meaning in their life survived and those who could find none, in many cases died. I love his analogy of the meaning of a book or movie. “How do you know the ultimate meaning unless you hang in to the end?”

This is not an explanation of what is the meaning of life, the universe and everything but a framework for discovering what the meaning of your life could be. Since this such an old book I kind of regret that I didn’t read it earlier and now understand why it is so often mentioned. Such is life.

Review of "Man's Search for Meaning" on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This book has held up well over half a century, tackling the unanswerable question with the authority and pragmatism of a survivor of four concentration camps. Of course I started it thinking "Really?", but it won me over with insights that feel immediately applicable to my own life, which I feel has been slowly shifting from the pursuit of means to meaning over the years. Don't get scared off by part II if you read it - that's where the practical information is.

Review of "Man's Search for Meaning" on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

A treatise by a Holocaust survivor who is also a psychotherapist. His take on existentialism seems to fit very closely with the beliefs I have developed since high school. The existentialists, as I was taught, said that life has no meaning beyond what you yourself bring to it. That's fine as far as it goes. What Frankl says in this book is that you MUST bring meaning into your life, it's one of your central motivations as a human animal. He saw this in the camps, and he describes how he found he could prevent prisoners from mentally giving up in the camps (an act which would swiftly be followed with a depressed immune system, a lack of hunger, and a swift death from typhus) and how this experience changed his thinking as a therapist after his release. If you are in school, and have become upset by reading Albert …

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Subjects

  • Psychologists
  • Prisons
  • Personal narratives
  • Existentialism
  • Logotherapy
  • Psychological aspects
  • Psychotherapy
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)
  • Biography

Places

  • Austria