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Showing 1-10 of 3,132 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3,688 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 3, 2016
The first half of this book is transformative, and it was worth reading for just that. The content is difficult to read, but very meaningful, as the title suggests. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. It was engrossing to read about life in the concentration camps from the prisoners' point of view because all I've ever seen are the horrifying videos of the starved bodies and plowing masses of humanity into vast communal graves. Those images totally strip the prisoners of their individuality, and this book restores that to them. The second half of the book is about logotherapy, which, in a nutshell, is a form of therapy that aims at identifying the specific meaning of life for the patient. I found this half of the book to be pretty dry. Still, it was a deeply life-altering book, which caused me to truly appreciate my own life, as full of trials and tragedy as it has been. It helped me to see that life is not a "pursuit of happiness", which is so difficult to attain, but an opportunity to live meaningfully and purposefully.
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on May 31, 2016
my husband and I are getting a lot out of this. can apply to anyone's life. thinking of people we know struggling with deep depressions... everyone suffers. how we respond to it is the crux of it all. recent npr spot concurred that depressed people (suicidals, specifically) need a "mission". frankl uses the word "purpose". all good stuff.
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on November 13, 2016
This is possibly one the best books I have ever read and is clearly one that can change a persons life, just by reading it.

It is one of the hand full of books that helped to make up my personal philosophy about life and the powerful truths helped me to survive a recent bout with cancer and gave me the blueprint for a meaningful life after this life treating and very scary event. Beautifully written and very readable but based on sound academic and scientific principles. This is not the usually motivational fluff that is often written to help have a meaningful life by motivational writers. Usually I avoid these books as they often have very little substance. This is written by one of the founding group that gave us psychoanalysis and while his other books are very achademic and only for the very serious reader this one is written for the general reader and is an easy and pleasurable read.
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on March 28, 2017
While I am somewhat surprised that it took me so long to discover this classic, I will be forever grateful to David Brooks for bringing it to my attention in his conversation last week with Rabbi Lord Sacks of London at the 92nd Street Y. I am 66. At my age, how many things profoundly affect how you think about life?
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on April 18, 2016
Interesting reading and what it means for those of us that have never been in similar or alike situations just as Viktor had….Facing his captors and living amongst many different points of view, about their own and others life meanings.

Bottom line for me was to find out that even though we may face uncertainty and sometimes death itself....there are many different and horrible ways to suffer, just before or in our way to it. One of the worse ones is our own ideas...and how those ideas form and causes our next move or lack thereof.

What this book taught me was to be careful and try defining exactly what it is I want and why…it really helped me define a clear path towards my own understanding of the meaning of life. In this case my own life.

Strongly recommend this book to everyone—I am certain they will all find it as helpful as I did, or probably more.
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on July 8, 2017
In this small book, there is more wisdom distilled than in the thickest of philosophy books. Frankl a renowned psychiatrist and intellectual retells the stories of his time in forced labor at Auschwitz. He does it through a unique perspective, the perspective of a psychiatrist. He is interested in the "how." How despite such treacherous conditions, were these prisoners able to accept their fate and will to continue on living. It is fascinating account and it builds nicely into Frankl's psychological theory of Logotherapy. Logotherapy is a school of thought based on existential philosophy that asserts that the ultimate goal of every human being is "the will to mean," to find meaning in one's life despite whatever the present circumstances.

Along the way there are some great quotes that alone are worth the price of the book:

"Of the prisoners only a few kept their full inner liberty and obtained those values which their suffering afforded, but even one such example is sufficient proof that man's inner strength may raise him above his outward fate. Such men are not only in concentration camps. Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering."

"What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think for 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 responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual."

"Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast."

"In other words, what matters is to make the best of any given situation. "The best," however, is an optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which at its best always allows for: (1) turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment; (2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better; (3) deriving from life's transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action."

"Live as if you were living the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now."

"A human being is not one thing among others; things determine each other but man is ultimately self determining. When he becomes - within the limits of endowment and environment - he has made out of himself."

Frankl was once asked to write in one sentence the meaning of his own life. He wrote: "To help others find the meaning of their life." He is the marking of a great human being, a true inspiration.
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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 October 31, 2015
I first read Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” many years ago. This riveting book had a profound impact on my life. One point made in the book that stood out in my mind since my first reading, was that even in the most difficult of circumstances, we can choose the attitude with which we face those circumstances.

Although I never met or knew Dr. Frankl, he was a friend of my late mother. Frankl was a prominent psychiatrist in Vienna before WWII who found himself in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He was stripped of his position, money, and possessions, and lost his beloved wife who was pregnant at the time of her death. During his confinement through the war, most of his time was spent at hard, forced labor that began before dawn and ended late in the evening, with only a morsel of food to sustain him.

Frankl recounted his observations of a young woman facing death in the camp. He said the woman was cheerful, despite knowing she only had a few days to live. She told Frankl, “I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard. In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.” The young pointed out the window to the branch of a chestnut tree on which were two blossoms and said, “I often talk to this tree.” Frankl expressed his curiosity as to whether the tree answered back. She said, “Yes. It said to me, ‘I am here - I am here - I am life, eternal life.’” I thought it interesting that the woman felt a sense of personal, significant meaning, even purpose in the face of her impending death. What is it in our lives that offers a sense of meaning to this experience that ends in death? For me, it is largely experience that is participative with the people and world around me, through which a connected, joint meaning is attained.
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