- Paperback: 196 pages
- Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (January 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1576754065
- ISBN-13: 978-1576754061
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 167 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,450,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles at Work Paperback – January 10, 2008
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“In this newly revised edition, Alex Pattakos and Elaine Dundon not only honor the legacy of Viktor Frankl but further it by bringing his work to a new generation of readers in search of a more meaningful life. In very practical ways, they show that when we put meaning at the heart of our lives, we’re better able to thrive and reach our full potential.”
—Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post and founder and CEO, Thrive Global
“If you intend to read just one self-help book in your life, pick this one. You won’t regret it.”
—Alexander Batthyány, PhD, Director, Viktor Frankl Institute Vienna
“Here is a landmark book that, among other things, underscores how the search for meaning is intimately related to and positively influences health improvement at all levels. Reading Prisoners of Our Thoughts is an insightful prescription for promoting health and wellness!”
— Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD (hc), Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health, University of Arizona and University of California, San Francisco Schools of Medicine
“Prisoners of Our Thoughts is an important book about creating a meaningful life— a life that matters and makes a difference. Those of us involved in the individual quest for meaning will find valuable information and inspiration in it. Meaning— choosing it, living it, sustaining it— is a significant personal, as well as societal, issue of the twenty-first century.”
— Marita J. Wesely, trends expert and Trends Group Manager, Hallmark Cards, Inc.
“This book is a gem. It is an iconoclastic book, which is set to become iconic.
With it, Alex and Elaine have altered the Logotherapeutic landscape. They bring therapy from the clinic into the corporate world. They show how work can be a source of meaning by applying the revolutionary ideas and insights of our mentor Dr. Viktor Frankl. The authors succeed in demonstrating the link between Logotherapy and labour but more— they do it with bravado and brilliance. I recommend this book with relish.”
— Stephen J. Costello, PhD, Founder and Director, Viktor Frankl Institute of Ireland
“In the permanent white water of our lives everywhere and especially at work, the meaning of what we do and of who we are is continually in danger of negation. The creation of meaning cannot be a once-and-for-all, set-it-and-forget-it affair, but rather needs to become our most basic ongoing achievement. This book is virtually unique in providing us with both a philosophy and a set of methods for keeping the meaning of our lives and our work vibrantly alive, relevant, and nourishing.”
— Peter B. Vaill, PhD, Professor of Management, Antioch University, and Author of Managing as a Performing Art
“Magical. . . . If you read this book patiently and honestly, it may begin to change your attitude and thought process. Deeply and impressively subversive in more ways than one, this book invites us directly in the search for meaning of our work and life.”
— Ping Fu, Author, Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds, Founder and Former CEO, Geomagic, Inc.
“Not averse to giving ‘recipes,’ Pattakos makes them transparent and convincing enough, and he amply supports them by personal observations and experiences, by testimonies and quotations, by anecdotes and proven wisdom, adding more than a sprinkle of wit and common sense. And he does it all in an immensely readable style.”
— Franz J. Vesely, PhD, Viktor Frankl Institute, Vienna, Austria
“Logotherapy was tested in Nazi concentration camps, so it speaks uniquely of meaning in extremes of unavoidable suffering. But Frankl also encouraged the discovery of meaning in our everyday workplaces, and Pattakos offers both a why and a how.”
— Haddon Klingberg Jr., PhD, Author of When Life Calls Out to Us: The Love and Lifework of Viktor and Elly Frankl
“If you want to bring life to your personal and/or organizational values read Prisoners of Our Thoughts. It is particularly helpful if you are committed to living an authentic (values-driven) life. This is a book you will want all your associates and family members to read again and again.”
— Ann Rhoades, President, People Ink, and Former Executive Vice President, People, JetBlue Airways
“The transcendent spirit of Viktor Frankl vindicated human resilience. Alex
Pattakos nimbly brings essential new life to that spirit. Reading this book is a choice— a choice to add deeper meaning to your life.”
— Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD, Founder and Director, The Milton H. Erickson Foundation
“Living and working in such changing times takes courage. This book helps us connect with ourselves and meaning in order to be happier, develop resilience in life and work, and co-create a better future. In a time when there is so much unpredictability, Prisoners of Our Thoughts is a must-read to serve as a prescription for personal and business leadership.”
— Lisa Schilling, RN, MPH, Vice President, Healthcare Performance Improvement, Kaiser Permanente
“It is very rare to encounter a book that is simultaneously profound and approachable, one that addresses the essential crux of the human dilemma in a manner that is inviting and even heartfelt. Prisoners of Our Thoughts is just such a book. I highly recommend it.”
— Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, Dean of Transformational Psychology, University of Philosophical Research, and Author of The Roots of Consciousness
“A must-read for all those who want to lead successful lives. . . . The book has universal appeal and would help people working in any part of the world, and at any type of job. Dr. Pattakos’s concepts resonate well with me— a Sikh by religion. I believe that world peace would be greatly helped by having more and more people happy with their lives, as Prisoners of Our Thoughts could help them be.”
— Karuna Singh, Program Manager, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Consulate General, Kolkata, India
“Prisoners of Our Thoughts is an enormously inspiring eye and heart opener, enlarging the scope of our life and work in a wonderful way. It’s a book full of wisdom, a road sign to the meaning and riches of life.”
— Dr. Heinrich Anker, Cofounder, Management Centre Zug (Switzerland), and President, Swiss Society of Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
“CEOs, as well as the average worker, can be both informed and inspired by
— Paul T. P. Wong, PhD, President, International Network on Personal Meaning, and Coeditor, The Human Quest for Meaning: A Handbook of Psychological Research and Clinical Applications
“It has been a long wait— a very long wait! But Frankl’s principles and methods have at last been set free to be used and enjoyed and practiced in the work situation.”
— Dr. Patti Havenga Coetzer, Founder, Viktor Frankl Foundation of South Africa
“Masterpiece. Challenging. Insightful. Motivational. Inspirational. Magnificent. Prisoners of Our Thoughts branches all of these into one central theme: staying true to you, the real you. This book is a must-read for all educators, parents, and students. It provides such a clear view of the importance of character and how love ties it all together. A must-read.”
— Dr. Mark Isley, Principal, Shelby County Alternative School, Alabama
“Those who seek meaning in their work and life will find much of value in this practical application of the wisdom of Dr. Frankl, so deeply experienced and artfully presented.”
— Dee Hock, Founder and CEO Emeritus, VISA
“Don’t let life just happen to you! Let Dr. Pattakos show you how to apply Viktor Frankl’s core principles to make your work and life more meaningful. Anyone from mail deliverer to CEO can embark on a path of self-discovery that will lead to better results and relationships with others.”
— Jean E. Spence, Executive Vice President, Global Technology and Quality, Kraft Foods
“I fully recommend reading this great work and applying its wisdom. Please don’t wait to open your ‘lockbox’ of talents and tasks that life has set aside for you. Seek what is yours on behalf of all mankind.”
— Robert R. Thompson, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
“Use Prisoners of Our Thoughts as a textbook, order it for all your employees, and buy a copy for yourself.”
— Erik Bergrud, Associate Vice President for Alumni, Constituent and Employer Relations, Park University, and Past President, American Society for Public Administration
“Dr. Pattakos provides a commonsense model to resolve the existential anxiety created by the gap between our thoughts and reality and to tremendously enrich our lives. Read Prisoners of Our Thoughts and be prepared to look in the mirror and see the person responsible for your dissatisfaction and unhappiness!”
— Vann E. Schaffner, MD, Spokane, Washington
“Every thinking person can benefit from the work of Alex Pattakos. As we wind our way through life’s challenges, understanding life’s choices and outcomes is foremost. This work adds a great deal of value to this most important of life’s searches.”
— Robert Agranoff, PhD, Professor Emeritus, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington
“Prisoners of Our Thoughts is a must-read. Not only is it written in very direct, clear language to assert the case for each of us to follow the meaning in our lives, but it hits an intuitive nerve as Dr. Pattakos explains Viktor Frankl’s sources for authentic meaning in one’s life. This has been a major influence in creating a more rewarding life for me and countless others.”
— Michael E. Skaggs, Executive Director, Nevada Commission on Economic Development
“Alex Pattakos does a wonderful job of translating Frankl’s work into actions for living. He delivers an especially powerful message for individuals striving to grow both professionally and personally. I can think of no other book that better prepares leaders for facing tough challenges. This is a must-read for leaders!”
— Dr. Mitch Owen, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State University
About the Author
Alex Pattakos, PhD, is cofounder of the Global Meaning Institute with offices in the United States, Canada, and Greece. His unique background includes being a mental health administrator, professor of public and business administration, consultant with the White House, and advisor to the commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. He is also the coauthor with Elaine Dundon of The OPA! Way: Finding Joy & Meaning in Everyday Life & Work. As a leader of the Meaning Movement, he is focused on helping others find meaning in life, work, and society.
Elaine Dundon, MBA, is the cofounder of the Global Meaning Institute. She is passionate about helping people find meaning in their personal and work lives, as well as helping organizations create meaning-centered workplaces to deliver products and services that truly make a meaningful difference. She began her career in brand management at Procter & Gamble. A thought leader in the field of personal and organizational innovation, she authored the best-selling book The Seeds of Innovation and created the groundbreaking course on innovation management at the University of Toronto. Her work evolved to the “human side of innovation,” incorporating meaning, leadership, philosophy, and metaphysics to help people and organizations reach their full potential.
Stephen R. Covey was the author of several books, including the iconic bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He passed away in 2012.
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This is a great book - probably one of the best books on work life yet written. I read the book in one sitting (something I've never done before), marking the book and making numerous notes. I intend to give it to my friends as gifts.
Pattakos writes in his preface, " This book deals with the human quest for meaning and, therefore, was written with you in mind. It is grounded firmly in the philosophy and approach of the world-renowned psy-chiatrist, Viktor Frankl, author of the classic bestseller, Man's Search far Meaning (named one of the ten most influential books in America by the Library of Congress). Frankl, a sur-vivor of the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, is the founder of Logotherapy, a meaning-centered and humanistic approach to psychotherapy. His ideas and experi-ences related to the search for meaning have significantly influenced people around the world. In this book, you will find a conceptual foundation, as well as practical guidance, for examining your own questions about meaning in your work and everyday life.
The goal of this book, moreover, is to bring meaning to work-that is, to do for the domain of work what Frankl, as a psychiatrist, was able to do for psychotherapy. Because I am defining the notion of "work" very broadly, the message in this book applies to a very broad audience as well. In fact, it applies to volunteers as well as to paid workers; to people working in all sectors and industries; to retirees; to individuals beginning a job search or career; and to those in "transition." And, because this book demonstrates how Frankl's principles actually work in a generic context, its message can be applied to everyday living too. In this regard, besides introducing you to Frankl's core ideas about life, the book is filled with examples, stories, exercises, and practical tools that can help guide you on your path to finding meaning at work and in your personal life.
It was in a meeting with Frankl at his home in Vienna, Austria, in August 1996, when I first proposed the idea of writing a book that would apply his core principles and approach explicitly to work and the workplace, to the world of business. Frankl was more than encouraging when, in his typically direct and passionate style, he leaned across his desk, grabbed my arm, and said: "Alex, yours is the book that needs to be written!" As you can imagine, I felt that Frankl's words had been branded into the core of my being, and I was determined, from that moment forward, to make this book idea a reality. And so it is."
We are by nature, creatures of habit. We seek to identify and stay within comfort zones. These comfort zones are patterns of thoughts. As we repeat these patterns of thought over and over again. We begin to believe that life happens to us and limit our own potential. We become prisoners of our own thoughts.
"Viewing life as inherently meaningful and literally unlimited in potential requires a shift in consciousness," writes Pattakos. "It also requires responsible actions on our part for, as Frankl points out, the potential meaning that exists in each moment of life can only be searched for and detected by each of us individually. This responsibility he says is 'to be actualized by each of us at any time, even in the most miserable situations and literally up to the last breath of ourselves.'"
We choose how we respond to life. "...life doesn't happen to us. We happen to life; and we make it meaningful."
Pattakos discusses not only personal transformation, but also the transformation of work itself. "The transformation of work in the twenty-first century is, in many respects, a call for humanity - a new consciousness that suggests more than simply trying to strike a balance between our work and our personal life. It is a call to honor our own individuality and fully engage our human spirit at work - wherever that may be."
"The goal of this book is to bring meaning to work...," writes Pattakos. I believe he does an excellent job in this 187-page book full of wisdom and insights. It is a must read.
The book is divided into eleven chapters - Life Doesn't Just Happen to Us, Viktor Frankl's Lifework and Legacy, Labyrinths of Meaning, Exercise the Freedom to Choose Your Attitude, Realize Your Will to Meaning, Detect the Meaning of Life's Moments, Don't Work Against Yourself, Look at Yourself form a Distance, Shift Your Focus of Attention, Extend Beyond Yourself and Living and Working with Meaning.
Pattakos has synthesized more than just Frankl's Search for Meaning. He has read and studied most of Frankl's work and interviewed Frankl himself. He occupies a unique position to write this book.
"All human beings, Frankl would say, ultimately have both the freedom and responsibility to position themselves along two key dimensions of life," writes Pattakos. These two key dimensions are success-failure and despair-meaning. Where are you right now in this continuum? Are you where you want to be?
"There is something in us that can rise above and beyond everything we think possible. Our instinct for meaning, at work and in our daily life, is ours right now, at this very moment. As long as we are not a prisoner of our thoughts," concludes Pattakos.
Give yourself a chance to regain meaning and purpose in your life. Listen to your heart while you read this book.
might be personnaly helpful. What seems kind of crazy and yesterday thinking in my opinion is the attempt to copyright meaning with the word creation meaningology. So for my taste everything apart from affirmation and copyright is a very good and helpful read.
Pattakos' main focus is to relate Frankl's philosophy to the modern day workplace, which for many of us is the main moral battleground we experience on a daily basis. My biggest takeaway was the image of a maze in which we are searching for meaning - in contrast to the two other main 20th century philosophies of human motivation: Power and Pleasure.
Pattakos stays very true to his understanding of Frankl's life and work, so in essence this book is a re-reading of Frankl's work within a "modern" context. That came as a surprise to me, but by the end I appreciated his deference to the inspiration for the book.
It would be a good idea to read "Man's Search for Meaning" if you haven't done so already.
This is not merely warmed over Victor Frankl. Of course you should read Man's Search for Freedom and other books by the master. But does this take away from this book? Not at all. Prisoners of our Thoughts uses the principles of logotherapy as developed by Dr. Frankel and puts them into a logal progression for the reader to digest and internalize. It's easy to read a book, enjoy it, be moved by it, and then forget it 10 minutes later. This will not happen with this book and it is due to the fact, at least partially, that the material in the book has been taken from a spiritual genius and reformated into a powerful learning experience.
Our entire lives are, in reality, merey quests for meaning. The meaning we attribute to our lives, and hence the very quality of how we live, is up to us and does not depend on our external circumstances. Do yourself and those around you a big favor and make this book your owner's manual for practical successful living.