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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration from the inside, outwards.
An understated revelation into the compelling search for meaning to life, which Frankl believes lies within the meaning we find in our suffering. His case is very persuasive. I was changed by the book. While a Jew from concentration camps, he sometimes borrows Christian imagery to make his point, and his message is ultimately and purposefully universal. This is...
Published on 26 Oct 1998

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3.0 out of 5 stars Promotion of Logotherapy
A more adequate title would be "Introduction and Promotion of Logotherapy". I did find interesting and enriching Viktor Frankl's objective report about how the human psyche adapted itself to the dreadful concentration camps, his considerations about how Suffering isn't necessarily a fatality and how life can be a sum of small but meaningful whys. Nevertheless, the...
Published 6 months ago by David Fernandes


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration from the inside, outwards., 26 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Touchstone books) (Paperback)
An understated revelation into the compelling search for meaning to life, which Frankl believes lies within the meaning we find in our suffering. His case is very persuasive. I was changed by the book. While a Jew from concentration camps, he sometimes borrows Christian imagery to make his point, and his message is ultimately and purposefully universal. This is not merely a work for Jews in search of their history, but also for people in search of their sleeping souls. I highly recommend it.
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61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Changed My Life..., 27 Aug 2006
One of the greatest books of the 20th century. Some time in the future, when humans finally turn off the TV and start asking themselves why the hell they're here in the firstplace, this book might be of great assistence. Best read annually.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much food for thought!, 27 Dec 2001
By 
DAVID-LEONARD WILLIS (Thessaloniki Greece) - See all my reviews
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Several years ago a friend had an operation for a cancerous growth behind his eye yet today is well and tells of the importance of the right mental attitude when facing adversity. Another friend faces a similar experience but appears to be in the process of succumbing in ignorance of the importance of mental attitude. Seeking guidance as to what I might do to help, I turned to this book.
After recounting the horrors of everyday life in a work camp - the initial selection process in which 90% were sent to the gas chambers while 10% were kept to extract the last ounce of work as slaves for construction firms; the Capos selected from the most brutal who had lost all scruples in order to save their life; how everything was subservient to keeping oneself and one's closest friends alive - Viktor Frankl tells of the psychological problems they met.
The most important seems to be the hope of release as shown by the very high death rate in his camp in the week between Christmas 1944 and new year 1945 which had no explanation in food, treatment, weather, disease or working conditions; it was that the majority had lived in the naive hope that they would be home again by Christmas. In the absence of encouraging news, the prisoners lost courage; disappointment overcame them and their powers of resistance dropped. Frankl noticed that it was the men who comforted others, who gave away their last piece of bread who survived longest and who offered proof that everything can be taken but one thing - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances.
In the camp every decision determined whether or not you would submit to loss of inner freedom. The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. It is this spiritual freedom which cannot be taken away which makes life meaningful and purposeful. Only those who allowed their inner hold on their moral and spiritual selves to subside eventually fell victim to the camp's degenerating influences. Most inmates believed that the real opportunities of life had passed. In reality, however, one could make a victory of those experiences, turning them into an inner triumph.
Frankl saw himself giving a lecture on the psychology of the concentration camp, living Spinoza's observation that "Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it." Armed with the insight that any attempt to restore man's inner strength had first to succeed in showing him some future goal he tried to help would-be suicides to realize that life was still expecting something from them - a loving son awaiting his return, an unfinished work to complete. When the impossibility of replacing you is realized it is impossible to throw your life away. When you know the why of your existence you will be able to bear almost any how.
Frankl had to learn and then teach that it really did not matter what we expect from life but rather what life expects from us. The answer lies in right action and in right conduct; life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill tasks that it constantly sets for each individual. These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man and from moment to moment, making it impossible to define in general terms or in sweeping statements. No man and no destiny can be compared to any other man or destiny. It may require a man to shape his own fate, contemplate or accept his fate. There is only one right answer to the situation at hand.
When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his single, unique task. His unique opportunity lies in the way he bears his burden. Once the meaning of suffering has been revealed, suffering has hidden opportunities for achievement. When he had the opportunity to address a group of prisoners his purpose was to help each man to find a full meaning to their life in that practically hopeless situation by pointing out the joys each had experienced in the past and that no one had suffered irreplaceable losses. Whoever was still alive had reason for hope; health, family, happiness, professional abilities, fortune, position in society, could all be restored. Life never ceases to have meaning and this infinite meaning includes suffering and dying, privation and death. God or someone alive or dead would hope to find them suffering proudly.
After the war, Frankl introduced Logotherapy, which focuses on the meanings of life to be fulfilled by the patient in the future. The patient is confronted with the meaning of his life. The meaning of human existence as well as man's search for such a meaning is unique and specific and can be fulfilled by him alone. He is able to live and even to die for the sake of his ideals and values. The more that you forget yourself by giving to a cause or serving in love, the more you actualize yourself. We can discover meaning in three ways - creating a work or doing a deed; by experiencing something or encountering someone; and by the attitude we take to unavoidable suffering.
When we are no longer able to change a situation such as inoperable cancer we have to change our attitude. He asks his patients to project themselves forward to their deathbed and look back on the meaningful things in their lives. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be; he has control over what he will become in the next moment.
This book has certainly provided much food for thought!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars learn from this inspirational and moving account, 8 Jan 2003
By 
C. M. Perkins (Stirling, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This book is split into two parts: the first being Frankl's experiences in a concentration camp; the second being his explanation of logotherapy.
As a coach, I bought this book for his insights into human will as expressed in the first half. The second half surprised me, in that I was not confused by his psychiatry, but grew my understanding because of it.
The first half of the book recounts some truly appalling experiences, and yet it's amazingly inspirational because it tells of the bright light of human spirit that could not be extinguished by the camp guards. This book put a lot of things in perspective for me. The stresses and frustrations of modern day living are nothing compared to what Frankl and his fellow prisoners endured. Interestingly, it was the optimists who had the hardest time. As they held out for release at certain milestone dates and these passed, their spirit diminished, sometimes, tragically, to the point of death.
[For the business reader, Jim Collins reports the same phenomenon as something he calls the Stockdale Paradox in 'Good to Great'. Admiral Jim Stockdale spent eight years in a POW camp in Vietnam and observed that the optimists "didn't make it out". Stockdale and his wife (who he was able to exchange letters with during his imprisonment) have written a book called 'In Love And War' chronicling their experiences.]
Frankl's reflections on his experience are amazing, and his work to help others through Logotherapy is astounding. To have turned such an awful experience into such an effective form of therapy to help others shows, just as Frankl observed, that the human spirit is an incredible thing. Even from the very darkest treatment humankind can inflict on fellow human beings, some good has emerged. Whatever your religious or political views, this book is worthy reading. It doesn't preach, it doesn't get bogged down in psychiatric technicalities, it inspires.
It's message is beautifully summed up in a quote from Nietzsche that Frankl uses: "He who has a 'why' to live for can bear almost any 'how'."
Buy this book and learn one of life's most important lessons for yourself.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change your life, 28 Nov 1999
By 
S. James (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Touchstone books) (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book. It will make you look at your life in a new way. Viktor Frankl describes his life in a concentration camp, in a clear and unemotional way. It is this 'matter of fact' angle which has the greatest impact on your emotions. I will never feel sorry for myself again after reading this book. It has truly made me believe that 'we are responsible for our own lives' Buy this book, and learn from it!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man'Search For Meaning, 22 Oct 2003
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This review is from: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Touchstone books) (Paperback)
Brilliant. Highly recommended. Frankl personifies the unlimited mind set and seems to observe totally unjudgmentally. Do read it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The High Price of Wisdom, 6 Oct 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Touchstone books) (Paperback)
Half the book is about Dr. Frankl's experience in WWII concentration camps. It is gripping without being gory. His perspective as a scientist on what was happening to people mentally is most profound. The second half of the book describes his logotheraphy theory. It is neither too technical or dull, nor too dynamic. A nice even ground of a theory that makes complete sense. Bottom line, what this man went through to learn the eternal truth demands that we listen to what he says and search for our own meaning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be inspired and humbled, 19 Aug 2008
By 
Ms. Melanie Williamson "lifegirlbaby" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This book was recomneded to me by a good friend, I was hesitant to read it due to the concentration camp element being very upsetting and emotional however I am pleased to say there is enough information about the author first to warm you up and also a lot of reasoning behind his choices of the content he has included and his decision not to go into too much detail over the experiences in the concentration camp, it allows you to understand what was going on in the minds of the prisoners without being too upsetting it also stays very true to the subject matter and only delves a little deeper into the suffering when its necassary to explaine some very difficult subjects, how the choices that we make affect our lives and how ultimatley no matter what hand fate deals us we still have the freedom to choose how we cope a humbling read inspiring and authentic a must.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor of Psychiatry and neurology and Auschwitz..., 27 Nov 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Touchstone books) (Paperback)
What could a man like this teach us about the search for
meaning?? Plenty, his determination to live and return to
tell his story, is Heroic. Even though I woke one night
in sweats during the reading of this book, I would never
want to lose it. I will treasure it always.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic,Unbelievable at times-- but TRUE--, 31 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy (Touchstone books) (Paperback)
To add to the other reviews- one realisation does set in that our agonies are NOTHING compared to the incidents narrated in the book. The under current of the worst yet to happen makes one feel uncomfortable at times- but I guess this is exactly the situation the author wishes to project. The book has taught me two things Firstly- It has built in me a strong desire to introspect from time to time THE REAL MEANING OF MY LIFE.SECONDLY it has prepared me for the worst-- Today I confidently say - oh come on this can't be the worst- the worst is still to come. Finally the book does teach one to enjoy & really enjoy small happy moments in life.
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