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Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust Paperback – 6 May 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Rider; New Ed edition (6 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844132390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844132393
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Viktor Frankl was born in Vienna in 1905 and was Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School. His wife, father, mother and brother all died in Nazi concentration camps, only he and his sister survived, but he never lost the qualities of compassion, loyalty, undaunted spirit and thirst for life (earning his pilot's licence aged 67). He died in Vienna in 1997.

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Review

"Remarkable...It changed my life and became a part of all that I live and all that I teach." (Susan Jeffers, author of Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway and Embracing Uncertainty)

"A poignant testimony...a hymn to the phoenix rising in each of us who choose life before flight." (Brian Keenan, author of An Evil Cradling)

"His works are essential reading for those who seek to understand the human condition." (Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks)

"An enduring work of survival literature." (New York Times)

"If you read but one book this year, Dr Frankl's book should be that one." (Los Angeles Times)

Book Description

Man's Search For Meaning is undoubtedly one of the seminal pieces of literature to emerge from World War 2: a moving account of Viktor Frankl's experiences in Auschwitz and what we can learn from them. Now in its 74th edition, it has been translated into at least 24 languages and sold over 9 million copies worldwide.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 149 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat on 1 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, "Man's search for meaning" (1946) is a very interesting book, that will leave you with some practical knowledge easy to apply in your daily life. In a nutshell, and if you aren't feeling like reading a more or less long review, the main idea of this book is that "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how".
The above quoted phrase is from Nietzsche, but don't jump to conclusions: Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) certainly does not share his philosophical ideas. Frankl merely chose one of Nietzsche's phrases as a way to crystallize his own ideas: that is, that the most important force in a person's life is his will to meaning. In a way, this book shows how Frankl reached that conclusion.
The first part of "Man's search for meaning" deals with the author's experiences in a concentration camp, and the lessons he draw from that torturous experience. Frankl said that those that survived had one thing in common, a purpose, and that "everything can be taken from 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 no matter the circumstance".
In the second part of this book, Frankl explains logotheraphy, the theory of psychotherapy he developed. According to the author, logotherapy focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on a person's search for such meaning, and the consequent purpose. Frankl says that "The meaning of life always changes, but... it never ceases to be", and that we really find ourselves when we find it, or at least our own personal version of it.
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97 of 99 people found the following review helpful By "niniakin" on 9 May 2003
Format: Paperback
"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". This, in essence, summarises the main thrust of this extraordinary book as well as Frankl's psychotherapy. I have spent the last year doing a counselling course and have read innumerable books and have been introduced to innumerable psychological theories, yet none have touched me so profoundly nor changed my perspective so radically as this slim book which Frankl wrote in 9 days and which has become an international bestseller. Unlike so many theoreticians, Frankl lived by what he preached. During his two and a half years spent in four different concentration camps, he came to realise that those who survive the terrors of life are not the physically strong or physically healthy, but those who have an internal strength, who are able to find a sense of meaning and purpose 'within' adversity. Frankl quotes Nietzsche to make this point, 'he who has a why to live for, can bear with almost any how'. Half the book is autobiograhpical, the other half outlines the basics of his theory, demonstrating once again that his life reflected his thinking and vice versa. In a world where despair and a sense of meaninglessness seem to torment us more each day, Frankl's words are more pertinent than ever.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
If I said to you that this is a book about the Holocaust which made me roar with laughter I will communicate to you its unique quality.
The first half is harrowing. The account of his time in Auschwitz and Dachau. The second half is about logotherapy. On a few pages he tells a few stories that you will remember for your whole life. By a simple change in perspective he shows how the most brutal and dehumanising experiences can be reinterpreted.
The humour comes in the statement of the theory of 'paradoxical intention'. He tells the story of a man who had a terrible stutter. Never in his life had this young man been free from the problem of stuttering, except on one occasion. This was when he jumped on a bus without buying a ticket. He resolved that the only way to escape was to enlist the sympathy of the conductor by demonstrating that he was a poor stuttering boy. At the moment, when he tried to stutter, he was unable to do so. Without meaning to, he had practised paradoxical intention.
This is an amazing book. I feel it has clarified in my mind ideas I have been yearning to understand for many years.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By W. Brotherston on 22 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading this magnificent book. The book is split into two parts. The first is Frankl's account of the brutal realities of life in a concentration camp. The second is a masterly overview of what logotherapy is and how it can help a person to lead a meaningful existence.

It is a book that caused me to pause every page or so, so as to ruminate and digest the rich, philosophical insights that Frankl's experiences have taught him. It is a book that distills these experiences and which provides an illuminating light to cast off the increasingly dark shadows of our modern age.

Frankl time-and-again sums up the problems facing us with succinct skill. In defining the spread of depression and despondency is our supposedly well-off society, he comments how: "people have enough to live by, but nothing to live for; they have the means but no meaning." Frankly suggests that a therapists first responsibility is to help his or her patient to discover the meaning that lies burried beneath every life. What Frankl's book does so well is to skilfully map out just where this meaning is to be found.

All in all it is an extraordinary book. It has certainly increased my respect for the spiritual path. The simple belief that a person can improve themselves is a profoundly important one. I love how Frankl reinforces the freedom that man has; that we have the freedom to choose how we behave. In our increasingly blame-filled culture, where people continually seem happy in 'passing-the-buck' it is nice to hear someone talking about individual responsibilities and the importance of doing the right thing.

I am so thankful that this life-enhancing wisdom has come into my grasp. Now all i have to do is to have the strength of character to act upon it.
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