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Showing 1-10 of 3,139 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3,697 reviews
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 January 11, 2015
Whoever said life isn't fair was spot-on: it isn't. But that's ok according to Frankl the author here who spent the hardest years of his life in a Nazi concentration camp. Those that await life to contribute to their happiness or well-being will always be disapointed. Its not what you expect of life but what life expects of you. In an existential way Frankl points out that we are only a spec in the universe that has no meaning except for what we give it.

When I was in 1st grade I remember a poster on the colorful classroom wall that said "Your attitude determines your altitude." For some reason this book made me remember that poster of decades ago. The idea is that its not what happens to you but how you react to the situation. In fact in life you mostly cannot control what happens to you--some of it a result of nature and nurture--but you have 100% full control to how you interpret it.

I'm not wise enough to know if everything happens for a reason or not but I have learned that in everything there is meaning. The meaning is what you interpret it to be for you. Those that do not see meaning in life are often those that think of life as either unfair or as Frankl offers--boring. Logos (Greek for "meaning") is the root of Frankl's new form of therapy, Logotherapy, can be through work that you find meaningful (not your s***ty 9-5 job); finding love in another (not the mere infatuation with your significant other) or a cause that you truly believe in (not those unspecific pie in the sky things like world peace).

The encouragement in this book is to live your life like this is actually your second life, the first of which you screwed-up and now are about to do it again. You don't have to suffer to get there but keep in mind some of the most remarkable transformations have been those who were told that they only have so long to live (i.e. cancer patients) who went on to make their final months more meaningful than their entire life had been.

Its never too late. Whether you're confused, feel neglected by life or are just bored this book is for you (as it was for me). So what's the meaning of your life? When a student asked Frankl he said that his meaning was to show others how to find meaning in their life. I trust that this review can inspire you to have a read of Man's Search for Meaning--perhaps one of the most insightful and meaningful books of all time.
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on April 25, 2015
This book challenges one to think. It is about choices and learning one's meaning for life. And it reinforced the notion that even when one faces the most difficult of situations, one's reaction to the situation is the result of one' own choice.

Several quotes from the book struck a chord with me. First, Frankl wrote, "a person may remain brave, dignified and unselfish, or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal."

I was moved by this book. That Frankl and so many others were tortured and endured the camps, yet found joy in a new life, even those who lost all of their family and possessions, shows man's incredible strength.

The second quote by, Dostoevski was, " There is only one thing I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings."

And the last, by Nietzche is, "He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How."

Now Frankl's challenge to the reader: find your Why.
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on April 26, 2017
Was there ever a harder-earned set of lessons than this? I was particularly interested in the fact that, on a daily basis, prisoners had to make hundreds of life-or-death decisions. I cannot imagine being in such a situation. One of Frankl's most powerful observations was that, in such a situation, the nice people die first. To survive, one had to become hard and entirely focused on personal survival. I have no doubt that many of the nicer people simply could not make that shift. They probably preferred to die than to survive in such a way. Depending on your point of view, this was either a highly moral or profoundly immoral attitude. It is these implicit questions that Frankl forces on us as we look through his eyes and see ourselves. This book bears repeated readings.
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on March 24, 2014
This book is perhaps different that anything you will have read before. Victor Frankl was Jewish, well-educated , with a background in psychotherapy and with a young, pregnant wife during World War Two. He had turned down the opportunity earlier to escape to America -papers were ready and waiting- because he wouldn't leave his elderly parents and elected to stay with them.Ultimately, every member of his family died in the Holocaust, including his wife. He was sent to several concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where he determined to apply his skill in psychotherapy to the question which intrigued him:How did some people survive, even though they were of a weak constitution, yet other , seemingly sturdier people gave up and died?

His story refuses to dwell on the horrors of the camps but rather, how people responded to these horrors. He wrote his observations on scraps of paper -destroyed unfortunately at one point, but which he rewrote- and hid them till after the War, when he wrote his book in a little over a week.

Don't imagine that this book is depressing. Rather, even thought the setting is one of the worst hells in history, we feel uplifted by his observations and humbled by the strength and resilience of his soul and intellect.
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on February 4, 2016
It is a very hard book for me to get thru. I do not have a background in psychology. The beginning of the book is great to learn about this mans mental health during the time he was in the death camps. When he gets into the various theories about the other survivors and non survivors it gets sort of complex. Some one else might get a lot more out of the book than I did.
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on April 10, 2013
I see there are 945 reviews of this book already, so I see no need to rehash the book contents. It's a very famous book, and this is the third time I've read it during my lifetime.

The book is generally well written, although there is a fair amount of repetition at the idea level, and even quite a bit of verbatim repetition at the paragraph level. Part of the repetition comes from the structure of the book -- ideas explained in the first autobiography part of the book are sometimes cut and pasted into the second Logotherapy part of the book.

Frankl's work on the meaning of life was a life-long study for him; apparently he gave a guest lecture on the topic while he was in his teens, as a young man. So the theory of meaning in life was not motivated by his prison camp experiences.

I think the book is an interesting book, that contains some good original ideas on an important topic in life, written by an educated and thoughtful man. So I would recommend this work to anyone who is interested in perspectives on the meaning of life. It's interesting that the author can relate his theories to actual experiences in the German concentration camps.

For readers who like books that blend theories of life with prison camp perspectives, I also recommend the following books:

White Nights: The Story of a Prisoner in Russia (Menachim Begin), a superb book that explains how he used mental perspectives to distance himself from, and to ease the pain of, various kinds of torture while he was in prison.

Coming Out of the Ice: An Unexpected Life, a superb book about Victor Hermann, an American man's survival in a Siberian prison camp and his persistence in getting back into North America (I think he ended up living in Eastern Canada).

Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot (Reprint ed.), by James Stockdale, about his time as a Vietnam prisoner of war, and how he used the principles of Stoic philosophy to help him through the years of imprisonment.
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on December 14, 2014
I ordered the book based on a recommendation by my daughter's psychology professor. I read it first and find it very interesting in terms of his 'proposal' of the or your meaning of life or your own search for meaning in life. One striking observation is what he calls the' existential vacuum' many, may be too many, seem to feel today. I can see that among many of the younger folks around me, including my children, who seem to be constantly being bored with nothing to do. This is a situation which I do not understand, have never experienced in my whole life, but would love to 'rectify' when my kids claim that there is nothing to do. I will need to read more about his 'ideas' how to help.
he is right when he says that way too many people seek professional help for 'ailments' which a trusted friend, etc. should lend you an ear. O, better yet, you should be able to 'overcome' some of these situations yourself, pull yourself together, and not be influenced so much by all these outside influences and people which and who many times do no mean a thing in your life. People need to stop to be afraid of their own shadows. His book, especially the second half, gives some insight and ideas he had developed how to help others and to help yourself.
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on July 22, 2017
This book is for anyone who want to alleviate the hardships and difficulties that he or she is undergoing or had already underwent through it.

This book provides us with the harrowing tales of Dr. Victor Frankl and other victims of the holocaust. He told us of the appalling life in the Nazi concentration camps where they were treated harshly and that word is even an understatement to describe their ordeal. They were stripped of everything: their wealth, identity and their very own dignity. However, according to Frankl, one can be stripped of everything but there is one thing that they cannot be stripped of, and that is the freedom to choose how we react to our sufferings. Hence, he introduces to us Logotherapy where as opposed to other philosophers’ perception on handling sufferings, Frankl uses the will to meaning. Finding meaning to this life and finding meaning to even our sufferings. Because once we find its meaning it ceases to be a suffering as we know its purpose already.

I was prompted to read this book because it was mentioned in the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey in the chapter of his book ‘Proactive.’ When I searched it on Goodreads, I was inclined to read it because it tells the story of one doctor who specialises in psychology who was a victim of the holocaust. He lost everything including his loved ones and I was amaze that, according to the book’s description, he had a method of coping up even the pain that is as excruciating as that.

The book enlightens me on many things and most importantly it reinforces the things that I learned on my previous readings that were related to the subject and genre of this book. If there was one thing that I don’t like about it, it is the medical jargons that were used in it, because I find it difficult to comprehend some of the chapters due to it. But that is only light compared to the enlightenment given by this book.

This is a must for everyone. Especially those who have lost the meaning and purpose to life and those who are currently being tested with difficulties because you can relate a lot of things to what Dr. Frankl had went through. I bet what we are undergoing right now is a microcosm to what he had experienced during the holocaust.
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