Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

Book - 2006
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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 in his practice, 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.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

Beacon Press, the original English-language publisher of Man's Search for Meaning, is issuing this new paperback edition with a new Foreword, biographical Afterword, and classroom materials to reach new generations of readers.
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c2006.
ISBN: 9780807014271
Branch Call Number: 150.198 Frankl
Characteristics: xvi, 165 p. ; 22 cm.


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May 04, 2019

I have tried to avoid the topic of concentration camps for its great horrors, concerning the demoralization of human beings. The images of clueless children lining up for their deaths profoundly haunted me as it renders how insignificant a human life can become. But the first sentence of Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” dismisses this common perception and slowly delves into the psychology of the prisoners. This refreshing approach immediately intrigues me and alleviates me from the fear of abdicating the Holocaust as a major event in history. Suffering has a meaning; it gives birth to opportunities arised from a man’s inner strength. To accept suffering demands him to seek for the meaning and to understand his responsility and irreplaceability. Nietzsche once said, “He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.” Frankl’s positive attitude confirms this maxim. Despite losing his mom, dad, pregnant wife, Frankl knows his life has a meaning: to preserve his dignity and finish his manuscript. This personally hits home for someone whose past and future hypothesis deprives the purpose of living in the present.

The second part attempts to break down the concept of logotherapy. To my excitement, Viktor Frankl addresses life’s transitories! “For, in the past, nothing is irretrievably lost but everything is irrevocablt stored” (Frankl, 120). The transitories of our existence in no way makes it meaningless. But it does constitute our responsibleness to decude what will be the monument of our existence. I infer this as life is destined to end, so one’s energy should exert on finding something significant in one’s life. The concept of love is described in terms of potential growth which is an interesting approach. “By his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize the potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become” (111). This implies healthy relationships that foster each partner’s potential and uniqueness. In a way, love should be a union of individuals who know their purpose in life, working to find a greater meaning in each other’s company and eventually guide a vulnerable baby to a meaningful world.

Mar 15, 2018

Two of Frankl's tenets (1) that each of person is unique and irreplaceable (2) there is purpose
for each person's life bring hope , optimism and clarity regardless of spiritual background.
A hard but worthwhile read.

unbalancedbutfair Sep 12, 2012

This is a fascinating and profound read. Everyone should read this book at some point. Frankl posits that rather than inferiority (Adler) or eros (Freud) or pleasure (Bentham) being the driving need for every human that what we all seek is actually meaning. A reason. A purpose. Something greater than existence and death. Even in the concentration camps of Europe he. as one who was there, says that meaning is possible. Whether you agree or not, you should listen to the words and experience of this wise man.

Clio84 Jun 19, 2012

This is a wonderful book! It makes you see your life through a different perspective and appreciate what you have. The author has a lot of credit, since he already proved his theories work since he survived in the concentrations camps.

Apr 01, 2008

A very quick read but very powerful.


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Apr 01, 2008

Personal narrative of time in Nazi concentration camp, including insights about how he was able to cope psychologically with the ordeal.


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