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on November 18, 2016
If you're in pain, read this book. If you're scared, read this book. If you are lost, read this book. If you are happy, read this book. If you have time, read this book. If you don't have time, read this book. Read this book, read this book.

"We who lived in the 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."
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on September 23, 2016
I read this in college and ordered again to read some 40 years later. Frankl relates the severe conditions in the concentration camp. Those without any purpose seemed to perish. Those that had developed purpose and meaning to the harsh conditions got out of bed every morning to face another unbearable day. this book is a classic. anything less than 5 stars would be a reflection on me.
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on September 16, 2014
Victor Frankl's, Man's Search for Meaning tackles the topic of suffering in a most interesting way. His method of Psychology is part of what is considered the trinity of Vienese Pyschotherapy; the other two being from Freud and Adler. Unlike Freud's theory of pleasure or Adler's for power, Frankl's theory focuses on the search for meaning as the most powerful and motivating force in a human being's existence.

Yes this book can and should be considered an intro to Logotherapy. Man's search for Meaning does not hide the fact. The brilliant work clearly attempts to intimately deliver, via true life experiences, how man's interpretations of beauty and morality are relative to his given environments, that pain and tortures upon one's will and body can be a stimuli for triggering a spiritual or ethical awakening, perhaps even filling the world with hues and colors never before seen or appreciated: vistas are more awe-inspiring, smiles shared all the more touching, tender tears all the more heart wrenching, a kindly gesture more divine.

Frankl's method of exposition is simple and concise. He didn't write this compact tome with the intent of impressing you with his intellect or to succinctly deliver big, complex ideas. He wrote this to inspire you to just step back and see the big picture.
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on April 21, 2016
Many people far more erudite than I have already written about the contents of this book; I am only writing about the edition itself. After owning and reading the trade paperback, I decided I wanted a hardcover edition for my library. This is a beautiful book, bound in cloth with the author and title embossed on the cover and spine in silver. There is no dust jacket. This edition includes photographs, essays, and letters the original does not, making this an interesting supplemental read for deeper understanding of Dr. Frankl's ideas. I highly recommend this edition as a gift or to add a lovely volume to your own library.
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on September 25, 2014
Great book, not sure why I waited so long to read it. I've been on a self-help / personal transformation / psychotherapy kick lately, so this is one of the many books in that genre that I've read in the past few months. It's definitely one of the best books I've ever read. It's powerful and concise. I feel that most books are written with too many examples and/or repetitive concepts to make sure that the reader walks away understanding the point (Malcolm Gladwell's books are great examples of this, although they are definitely insightful). That's not the case with this book. I feel that every chapter builds on the previous and the last chapter wraps it all up nicely together, and you wouldn't get the same meaning out of it if you hadn't read and understood the context explained in all the chapters. I'm amazed that Frankl could so objectively and humbly write, analyze, and dissect his experiences in the Nazi concentration camps, while so compassionately recognizing and yet not trivializing the little, compounding struggles and trauma of our modern life.
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on April 13, 2013
This book serves as an introduction to Dr. Frank's theory of logotherapy through his experience of three years within the Nazi concentration camps. This existential analysis theory is based on finding meaning to one's existence and seizing responsibility for it. A gripping story and a very educative and enlightening read within the psychology genre.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "The prisoner passed from the first to the second phase: the phase of relative apathy, in which he achieved a kind of emotional death."

2- "At such a moment it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as to punished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all."

3- "Apathy, the main symptom of the second phase, was a necessary mechanism of self-defense. Reality dimmed, and all efforts and all emotions were centered on one task: preserving one's own life and that of the other fellow."

4- "Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love an in love."

5- "This intensification of inner life helped the prisoner find a refuge from the emptiness, desolation and spiritual poverty of his existence, by letting him escape into the past."

6- "As the inner life of the prisoner tended to become more intense, he also experienced the beauty of art and nature as never before."

7- "Humor was another of the soul'd weapons in the fight for self preservation."

8- "Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress."

9- "The crowning experience of all, for the homecoming man, is the wonderful feeling that, after all he has suffered, there is nothing he need fear any more - except his God."

10- "Logotherapy focuses rather on the future, that is to say, on the assignments and meanings to be fulfilled by the patient is his future."

11- "What man needs is not homeostasis but what I call "neo-dynamics," i.e., the spiritual dynamics in a polar field of tension where one pole is represented by a meaning to be fulfilled and the other pole by the man who must fulfill it."

12- "By declaring that man is a responsible creature and must actualize the potential meaning of his life, I wish to stress that the true meaning of his life is to be found in the world rather than within man or his own psyche, as though it were a closed system."
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on September 14, 2011
Frankl's narrative brings me face to face with Nazi concentration camp: the abhorring degradation of fellow human beings, mass murdering, barbaric treatment of prisoners. Yet, human souls were able to seek comfort in natural beauty in such unbearable existence. Ultimately the book is about triumph, particularly spiritual triumph despite all the suffering one went through. If a person can emerge from such experience: being stripped naked, taken away all possessing, being beaten and starved, doing harsh labor in the bitter winter, facing arbitrary death in every moment, later learned that his parents and wife were all killed in gas chamber, but coming out compassionate, forgiving and becoming a successful doctor and author (publishing 30 books afterwards), how can we not marvel at human resilience?

The eventual survival of Frankl may be due to luck (not boarding the last train), his own social smart (avoiding offending prison guards, befriending the foremen), and kindness from fellow prisoners (extra bread saved, joint escape attempt). But it also crucially depended on his spiritual strength and holding on to the final hope. He called this search of "meaning of suffering". By assigning meaning to his suffering, he then would not fall prey to bitter disappointment when liberation did come at an expected date, while a fellow prisoner lost hope and died. In other words, Frankl found a way to maintain eternal hope. It is this hope enables him to stand strong despite any suffering or disappointment.

In the last chapter, Frankl offered an invaluable explanation on logotherapy. Its methodology is enlightening, much similar to what Anthony Robbins has preached all along in his seminar. Humans need "meaningful goals" to feel happy.

Each of us goes through life with unique experience. No one can repeat that experience for us. Even our suffering is unique. Thus the meaning of our life is put upon us instead of us searching for it. It is how we answer life, in our unique way.

The bare truth of concentration camp, the honesty and the compassion deeply touches me. There is no self pity or hatred. Instead you experience a deep sense of beauty in this writing. All you feel is a much larger understanding for human existence and the ultimate triumph of human spirit.

How can we feel despair when men endured and survived concentration camp? Even if the world problem is daunting, Frankl said, "the world may be in a bad state, but everything will become worse unless each of us does his best". As horrible as Nazi concentration camp is, Frankl lived to tell the story, to share his experience. All those who died did not die in vain. Ultimately goodness and justice, and human spirits triumph in this world.
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on October 16, 2017
Viktor E. Frankl was captured and spent most of WWII in a German prison camp - The book "Man's Search For Meaning" is his account of that time - suffering, death and survival - He point out that those who looked to the future and had something to expect when the war was over - more of them survived - A great book of men living under dire circumstances....All who purchase will be informed to accept and endure great struggles in life.
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on March 30, 2011
When I was eighteen years old in the spring of 1968, in a book store on the square in Racine, Wisconsin, I found a little book titled Man's Search for Meaning, by philosopher and psychotherapist Victor Frankl. The author survived Auschwitz during the Second World War. He emerged from the death camp having lost everything that mattered to him. His beloved wife was dead, his family was dead, almost all of his friends or acquaintances were dead or dying. He himself was nothing more than a bag of bones, barely clinging to life. In addition he had lost the manuscript of the book he had been writing, the work of his life. He saw no future for himself, and his past contained only suffering and death.

In the days after the end of the war when his camp had been liberated by the Allied armies, Frankl said, he

"...walked through the country past flowering meadows, for miles and miles, toward the market town near the camp. Larks rose to the sky and I could hear their joyous song. There was no one to be seen for miles around; there was nothing but the wide earth and sky and the lark's jubilation and the freedom of space. I stopped, looked around, and up to the sky - and then I went down on my knees. At that moment there was very little I knew of myself or of the world - I had but one sentence in mind - always the same: `I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and he answered me in the freedom of space.' How long I knelt there and repeated the sentence memory can no longer recall. But I know that on that day, in that hour, my new life started. Step by step I progressed, until I again became a human being."

He had felt, for the first time, a spark of hope. That was all he needed to begin living again. He had found a subtle meaning in the beauty of the world and he could use his new consciousness and connection to that beauty as a reason to go on living.

Frankl's little book was one of the most important books I've read in my life. When I was eighteen I understood only a bit of what he was trying to say, but it was enough to provide a frame that allowed me to continue my life and to continue learning.

We all make meaning from the fragments of our lives, said Frankl, from the beauty of the world around us, from the fragile connections we have with each other. We construct a narrative that allows us to survive because it tells us who we are and what it is we love.

The Sword of the Lord: The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family
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on March 21, 2017
I am not a literary critic, but I was really impressed by this book. It shows how man people survive unimaginable ordeals and still keep their humanity. People say "when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose", this is wrong, you still can lose your dignity and your life.
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