Top positive review
69 people found this helpful
Applying Viktor Frankl's Principles at Work
on 10 April 2005
If you have ever taken a self-improvement seminar or read a self-help book, you have probably encountered one or more quotes from Dr. Viktor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, in which he describes what he learned through being in Nazi concentration camps as a persecuted Jew. The book is the foundation for a school of thought that is a spiritual counterpoint to seeing humans as driven by desire (Freud) and power (Adler). Frankl's examples are compelling because they are born of such intense suffering and achieve beautiful transcendence.
If you reverse the title and subtitle of this book, you get a better sense of the book's contents.
Dr. Pattakos in the book and Dr. Covey in the foreword briefly recount the meetings with Dr. Frankl and his influence on their lives and practices. Dr. Pattakos writes briefly about seven principles he has distilled from Dr. Frankl's work.
These principles are:
1. Freedom to choose our reaction and attitude towards things that affect us (we can see negative things in positive ways as Dr. Frankl did in viewing his time in Nazi concentration camps);
2. We can focus consciously on positive, meaningful values and goals (look to improve, rather than complain);
3. We can find meaning in everything that happens (a setback is an opportunity to learn how to improve);
4. We can learn how to stop our self-sabotage (get out of funks, rather than deepening them);
5. We can see ourselves objectively and with humor (and gain from these perspectives);
6. We can choose our focus when dealing with challenges in ways that will reward us (count your blessings when you have a problem);
7. We can influence the world in positive ways.
If all you want to know are the principles, you don't need to read the book. The content's examples don't really add very much to the list except in a few places where exercises are added within the chapter.
Although each chapter ends in an exercise (meaning moments and questions), I didn't find these exercises to be particularly helpful. They seemed to be slightly different facets of the same point: Living with integrity in the context of work.
My favorite exercise within a chapter in the book was in finding ten great things about any problem you have. Now, that has to change your mood!
This subject needs to be addressed by someone who knows a lot more about work environments. Dr. Pattakos doesn't seem well connected into the realities of today's companies, government workplaces and non-profit organizations. With a focus on examples that demonstrate the principles, this would have been a much better book. As it is, the book comes across from a 50,000 foot perspective that isn't engaging enough for me.