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Showing 1-10 of 67 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 160 reviews
on May 6, 2005
I was looking forward to reading this book when I found that Alex Pattakos had written it. I was not disappointed. I looked forward to reading the book because it was based, at least in part, upon Frankl's classic Man's Search for Meaning. I read and studied Frankl's book 25 years ago at a particularly low spot in my life - my younger brother, Bill, had died suddenly of a heart attack when he was only 40. My father was quite ill with heart disease, and I was about to be diagnosed with cancer. What was the meaning of life? Frankl's answer to that question influenced me in many ways, more than I ever realized until I read Pattakos's book. Since I had not read Frankl in over twenty years, I could now see how his teaching had informed my life.

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.
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on October 19, 2014
Prisoners of Our Thoughts is aptly named and Pattakos takes the reader to that understanding by deftly drawing on Viktor Frankl's philosophy and writing on the importance of looking for meaning in life.

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.
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on November 15, 2016
Very good read. Needs to be reread as there is a lot of information. Also it helps to read Victor Frankel book first which I did not do. A big problem with a lot of these books is they have exercises which are hard to follow through when reading on a kindle. If the book is going to be studied which it should then I suggest getting a hard copy (maybe used) and the kindle version to really get the most out of the book.
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on November 17, 2013
I've never before so enjoyed, and found extremely valuable, a book that some might categorize as "self help." Other books suggested by friends have tended to be fluffy or not very pragmatic in approach.

This book can provide the means to completely turn your life around. Meaning can be found in all things and readily sweep away the normally permeating dissatisfaction with life. But this book is realistic in its approach and not some sort of cure. Life has ups and downs, but you can take charge and navigate it with grace.

I particularly like the "stickiness" of the content; I found myself applying the book's principles in my life without having to memorize them, or from having performed extensive exercises. The principles are logically laid out and simply ring true.
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on July 10, 2010
We live in fragile times where we are bombarded with bad news from so many fronts. Americans fear unemployment, loss of their homes, and the lack of funds for retirement. They also worry about loved ones serving in a war on two fronts. It is easy to see why people are asking, "Why me?" and "Why now?"

Alex Pattakos' new edition of Prisoner's of Our Thoughts could not have been published at a better time. While not a panacea, it does provide an excellent guide to finding meaning even in these troubled times. Using Viktor Frankls' life-changing work, Pattakos provides practical advice on how to actually find meaning through our work and in our lives. He offers timely examples of how these techniques make a difference in all types of work and life situations.

We are all busy. However, I urge you to find time in your schedule to read the second edition of Prisoner's of Our Thoughts and try his suggestions. Your life will be more meaningfilled if you do.
Eileen E. Morrison, EdD, MPH, LPC
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on December 31, 2012
Profoundly powerful and practical. Written in straight forward language. The author presents a logical and essential explanation about the fundamental importance of "meaning" in one's life. On a personal level, it has sparked me to reopen the long closed vault which has held my unrequited call to purpose and meaning. Better late than never I guess.

Give yourself a chance to regain meaning and purpose in your life. Listen to your heart while you read this book.
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on April 17, 2011
I don't want to merely repeat what many others have already said in their 5 star reviews of this powerful and important book. Let me keep it short and to the point. This is one of the most meaningful books I have ever read and it sits in an honored place on by shelf next to The Power Of Now (Ekhart Tolle) and The Myth Of Freedom (Chogyam Trungpa).

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.
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on January 10, 2015
Excellent nuts and bolts book on logotherapy. This was exactly what I was looking for after reading Frankl's Man's search. I will keep thus book on my Kindle and work through it time and time again until I no longer am a prisoner of my thoughts.
Enjoy!!!
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on February 6, 2014
Everyone should read this book and then re-read it. Simple yet deep. I have gifted this book as well but will not give away my personal copy. Enjoy!
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on December 5, 2012
This is one of the most great books about the late Dr,Victor Frank, I recommend a 100% to everyone. There's no word that can tell how great is the teachings about our life in this book. Thanks Dr.Frank for my inside transformation after I had read this book.
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