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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 July 2009
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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on 17 February 2012
I was recommended to read this book while reading 'The Happiness Trap' Its about human survival in the concentration camps. At times the author explained in depth and very well the reasons why people seemed to go along with the awful treatment being put on them and effects of being freed. I found towards the end of the book it was too much heavy reading and the psyhcology was way over my head, so much so it became boring. But I did learn a lot from the authors experiences and feelings about being in the camps.
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on 19 January 2016
This is quite a harrowing read - not because it detail atrocities per se, but because it draws the reader into how Viktor, and so many other captives, reached into the depths of their should to survive such ordeals. Everyday things we take so much for granted pale into insignificance - especially when you consider this happened just a generation before me.
It's no surprise this has sold so well.
For those of you on fiction books - do yourself a favour and just slip this in before you start the next tome. It may just make you look at the world a little differently and with greater appreciation of what you have.
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on 23 July 2014
This is a quite extraordinary book that remains as relevant today as when it was written. The first half describes the author's experiences as an inmate of a variety of concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Harrowing. A life where death was a daily possibility and the only food dome watery soup. The author describes how many just gave up, either committing suicide or passively waiting to be beaten to death. The second part of the book details his development of logotherapy, drawing upon the camp experiences. It is a book about psychological survival in the face of overwhelming suffering. In fact he argues that those who psychologically survived did do because they could find meaning in their suffering. It is a deeply thoughtful and inspiring book. Well worth reading.
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on 3 June 2015
I don't think this is the life changing book everyone seems to think it is.

Don't get me wrong, it is something that is worthwhile to read and learn about - from the perspective of what actually happened in the camps this is a vital part of history, but it can be very heavy going at times. I guess it is showing its age through the style of writing - which is less accessible than modern literature.
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on 12 December 2015
I lent this book to a friend some years ago and never got it back and felt l just needed to have a copy in my possession again.
How this wonderful man found meaning and a way of surviving in the worst of conditions is amazing.
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on 5 May 2016
I bought this book on the recommendation of my daughter. I was desperate to put to rest some distressing memories and she thought it could help. I did glean some golden nuggets from Mr Frankl's observations whilst in the concentration camps and took on board other comments he made, but towards the end it became too 'technical' for the kind of answers I wanted. Having said that, I don't want people to be put off reading it for themselves - I got out of it enough nuggets to make my life more positive.
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on 26 October 2015
A very thoughtful, philosophical take on life, suffering, hope and healing. Written with a great deal of compassion and understanding of the human journey we all must take, unsurprisingly, given the authors own journey.
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on 23 June 2016
Finally I read it. I'd heard Robbins bang on about it, and other gurus, but thought it wasn't for me. I thought it would be down and miserable. It's not. In fact, it's more uplifting than the aforementioned Mr Robbins himself, and I can see where he got some of his ideas from.

Unlike counselling, or preaching, or life coaching, this book lets you come to your own conclusions about life, and getting somewhere in it. Hard to explain here, but the first 100 pages of this book (the main section), come from a uniquely personal time in history, which strangely speaks to the universal. As in, you and me.

Don't say, "yeah, maybe I'll read it one day". Buy it today. You will be happier for it, guaranteed.
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on 8 September 2015
I found the material so compelling that I listened on audio, then bought the paperback and transcribed all my notes into that. I also put a note on my perpetual calendar to revisit the highlights once a year. It's just that good.

I was late to the party - most of you probably already read it - but I am at an age where looking for the meaning of my life is maybe more important than ever. Viktor Frankl, as you know, was a psychiatrist who was imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. There, while he suffered, he also learned, and when he was released, he wrote this book. Could we possibly have a more seasoned teacher?

I picked up dozens of life lessons, but for brevity's sake, will mention only a few. For much more, I highly, highly recommend this book. I don't think you can be fully educated about your life's course until you read it thoughtfully. And don't be afraid, as I was, of the heartbreaking circumstances of the camps. Frankl uses them as a basis for making his points, but doesn't sensationalize them. Even a wuss like me can handle it.

Here are some of the best concepts I gleaned from Man's Search for Meaning:

* Don't ask what is the meaning of life. Ask what meaning you are giving to your existence, for this is your responsibility.
* Meaning can be found in suffering. In America, we act like we're ashamed of it. Why not hold your head up and suffer proudly? Add it to your list of accomplishments. Don't seek it, but if you're stuck with it, do it well. Add it to your life's accounting.
* Man can endure anything if he sees a purpose. In one example, a widower couldn't rise above his grief. Frankl helped him see that by being the survivor, the man spared his late wife the pain. Thus he was heroic. The man rallied, glad to have spared his wife the anguish.
* Some see the pages of one's calendar torn off, and grieve over time passing. Frankl says to think of each page of the calendar as a well-lived, fine accounting of oneself. The stack of pages amounts to a kind of wealth, like a full granary. How did I do? How did I live? What is the accounting of my life? This perspective gives our days meaning.

There is so much more. I can only recommend this book to you with all my heart. Thank you, Dr. Frankl. You certainly made a great accounting of your life, and your suffering.
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