Man's Search for Meaning

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Overview

We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life-daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

When Man's Search for Meaning was first published in 1959, it was hailed by Carl ...

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Overview

We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life-daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

When Man's Search for Meaning was first published in 1959, it was hailed by Carl Rogers as "one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years." Now, more than forty years and 4 million copies later, this tribute to hope in the face of unimaginable loss has emerged as a true classic. Man's Search for Meaning—at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual-is the story of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's struggle for survival during his three years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Yet rather than "a tale concerned with the great horrors," Frankl focuses in on the "hard fight for existence" waged by "the great army of unknown and unrecorded."

Viktor Frankl's training as a psychiatrist allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. In these inspired pages, he asserts that the "the will to meaning" is the basic motivation for human life. This simple and yet profound statement became the basis of his psychological theory, logotherapy, and forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. As Nietzsche put it, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." Frankl's seminal work offers us all an avenue to greater meaning and purpose in our own lives-a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the act of living.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
One of the ten most influential books in America. —Library of Congress/Book-of-the-Month Club "Survey of Lifetime Readers"

"Viktor Frankl's timeless formula for survival. One of the classic psychiatric texts of our time, Man's Search for Meaning is a meditation on the irreducible gift of one's own counsel in the face of great suffering, as well as a reminder of the responsibility each of us owes in valuing the community of our humanity. There are few wiser, kinder, or more comforting challenges than Frankl's." —Patricia J. Williams, author of Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race

"Dr. Frankl's words have a profoundly honest ring, for they rest on experiences too deep for deception… A gem of a dramatic narrative, focused upon the deepest of human problems." —Gordon W. Allport, from the Preface

"An enduring work of survival literature." —The New York Times

"[Man's Search for Meaning] might well be prescribed for everyone who would understand our time." —Journal of Individual Psychology

"An inspiring document of an amazing man who was able to garner some good from an experience so abysmally bad… Highly recommended." —Library Journal

"One of the great books of our time." —Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

"One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years." —Carl R. Rogers (1959)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807014264
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 5.72 (w) x 8.85 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Viktor E. Frankl was professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School until his death in 1997. His twenty-nine books have been translated into twenty-one languages. During World War II, he spent three years in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other concentration camps.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Add Meaning to Your Life by Studying and Applying the Easy-to-Understand Principles of "Man's Search for Meaning", by Viktor E. Frankl

    "Man's Search for Meaning", by 20th Century Psychiatrist and concentration camp survivor Viktor E. Frankl, which has sold more than 12 Million Copies worldwide since its writing in 1946, is a landmark and seminal must-read for the general population. It is authentic, practical, and with down-to-earth and simple-to-understand, ready-to-be-applied contents. It is believeable based on the history and character of its author, who chose to help his soon-to-be-imprisoned parents and family members as they faced imprisonment in the Nazi concentration camp system in 1942, instead of escaping his native Austria on a Visa to the U.S. The first part gives the history of his 3-year imprisonment and miraculous survival in extermination camps, using such mental practices as thinking of his beloved wife and helping his fellow prisoners with his skills as a nuerologist and psychiatrist. This is certainly a story of "mind over matter", if ever there was one. Only 1 in 28 prisoners survived the Nazi death-camp system. Part I of the book is about these prisoner experiences, and Part II is an explanation of Frankl's self-created school of psychiatry, called Logotherapy, which contains the "how-to-live" section of the book. I highly recommend this book for all. It can prove to be highly useful for providing insights and advice for those with depression, aggression, addiction(s), guilt, and those facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles and inescapable suffering, as it will guide the reader on HOW to find meaning in suffering, and also in more positive experiences such as achieving and loving. Must read and refer to. Recommended BUY and HOLD!!

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2003

    To have lived is to have read this book at least once.

    'We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that 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 is but one quote in a book filled with an all consuming energy that teaches the reader that the way in which we accept our fate and all its sufferings can give us a deeper meaning of life. Victor Frankl was a Jewish Austrian psychiatrist who spent several years in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He lost his wife and family. Yet he emerged with a deeper and richer meaning for life. The first part of this book is a grotesque yet eloquent description of the squalor and absolute degradation the prisoners were faced with daily. He details his experiences in the camp in writing that allows his readers to almost experience the temperatures, and feelings as if you were there. His detailed recollection of his internment is just about 100 pages but it contains some of the most insightful quotes about humanness that I have ever read. The second half of this book concentrates on Frankl¿s `logotherapy¿. It is through his innermost soul searching during his internment that Dr. Frankl began to develop a psychological treatment method called logotherapy. According to Frankl, logotherapy is striving to find a meaning in one's life as the primary force. Frankl would help patients improve their mental health by helping them to discover meaning in their lives. Dr. Frankl said it best, 'We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation--just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer--we are challenged to change ourselves.' I was encouraged to read this book as a work that had a strong presentation of leadership. These words could not have been spoken any truer. Dr. Frankl¿s sharing provides all of us with an insight to know that we can be leaders even in the bleakest of times -- Leaders of our own lives.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    JUST BRILLIANT!

    Most people these days pursue pleasure, material things, wealth, success, etc. These are insignificant, really! Human life must have meaning, purpose and value. Without meaning life is merely endured and that's when people get into trouble...NOTHING LEFT TO DO..searching for that next high...You have everything money can buy but yet you are still searching....for what? When are you the happiest?....When you are doing something worthwhile, meaningful to a person or humanity, when you are serving a purpose...working for that goal...Once you are there...on to the next meaningful quest.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2003

    Changed My Life

    Reading this book was amazing to me, as not only did it present an incredible picture of the Holocaust, different from anything Hollywood feeds us today, but more importantly it put everything that the author lived through into context of a bigger frame. He had the choice to give into despair or to learn and grow through his horrible horrible experiences, and not only did he emerge triumphant, but he then turned around and used his learnings to help others. A magnificant book - I don't know how anyone can read this and not be profoundly impacted by his story and his thoughts.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2005

    Upon Graduating for every College Student

    Every college student should embark to read this book before entering the world and charting their life. Although I take in the notion that everyone is entitled to follow their life's fate, the negative and harsh life experienes that we may come across should not weigh us down but rather enlighten us. Frankl's meticulous use of words and experience is helpful for any reader to relate it to our own lives. As a soon to be graduating senior from CSUF, I find this book helpful in many aspects struggling a as a minority, female, collective culture and indeed with my own personal experiences. Would like to 'pay it forward' to my collection of colleagues, friends and family.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2000

    Great introduction to logotherapy!

    Man's search for meaning truly conveys that war is man's ultimate inhumanity to man. With everything lost, and seemingly no future hope, how does one survive? As Frankl himself had to survive he tells us that meaning in life is not found anywhere else but within yourself. This also serves a great introduction to logotherapy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    I am in awe.

    ( And I thought I was a tough guy. ) This is the BEST and most intelligent account I ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    This book will challenge you on so many levels.

    Frankl's perspective is challenging. He obviously has walked through the fires of Hell and survived suffering the depths of which few will ever really appreciate. And from that suffering he took some positive meaning. Even though the book isn't long, expect to spend a good deal of time reading, and re-reading these wonderfully written passages so that you can find meaning for yourself.

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  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Arguably the most important book of all time

    Don't be fooled by the thin spine. This lightweight little paperback has inspired me more than the Bible, the Tibetan Book Of The Dead or any other holy book I can think of. The trick is to ignore the wordy explanation of logo-therapy, an intellectual device he created during his years in medicine after WW2. Most people recognize the book as something they "had" to read in Holocaust Studies or Philosophy 101. I would argue his deceptively simple writing is worth much more than a cursory glance. The genius of the text lies in his blueprint for a new philosophy: tragic optimism. I'd tell you more but I don't want to ruin it for ya. But, like Levar Burton on "Reading Rainbow" use to say, don't take my word for it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2005

    Read Mans Search for Meaning

    Victor Frankl's book Mans Search for Meaning is a book unlike anything I have ever read before. This book was absolutly phonominal, it had such a great message throughout every hardship revealed in this book. I really enjoyed learning about Victor's experiences in a concentration camp along with the psycological aspects of his experiences. This book also taught me a lot about the Nazi concentration camps that I didn't know very much about. Overall reading the book was a learning experience and it was a great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2003

    Great Book

    Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, was a phenomenal book. In it, Frankl explores the practice of a self-developed breakthrough in psychology called Logotherapy; the search for one's own personal meaning. I loved this book because it spoke truly and I could relate a lot to what is was saying. I would recommed this book to anyone who just wants a good book to enjoy and contemplate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2003

    Every Person Must Read This Point Sometime in His/Her Life

    I've reread this book several times and have given it as a gift numerous times. Man's Search for Meaning will have a profound effect on the reader's way of thinking about life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2002

    An amazing read

    This book changed the way I think. Having read this book for a class, I could not put it down. After I finished it I started reading it again. This book captures one man's struggle with his will to survive through the concentration camps, and proves that no matter how much one person is suffering, they have the choice to be happy and to survive. It was truly an amazing book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    Powerful book

    This is a book that will change the way to think. The majority of the book is Frankl sharing his story of surviving the death camps. The end of the book provides an overview of his logotherapy. The overview of logotherapy is not Frankl's best overview of his theory, but this does not diminish from the power or importance of this book. If you enjoy Frankl, try Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning and The Will to Meaning after reading this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2001

    Exquisitely Written, Vividly Told

    Out of all the books I read in high school and college, this one stays with me even today, more than 20 years later. The brutal images of war are told with sensitivity and compassion, yet the shear horror of the holocaust cannot be softened. I've read this book twice more since 1978 and it still moves me. Finding the will to live in such horrific and deplorable conditions inspires us all to overcome the trials and tribulations of our lives.

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    Posted December 26, 2009

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    Posted June 6, 2009

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