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Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything Kindle Edition
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—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“The case studies are relatable and the overall viewpoint convincing. More than 70 years later, Frankl’s philosophy still inspires.”
“Frankl’s ideas bear particular consideration right now.”
“Yes to Life is a provocative invitation to think about what you believe and what you can do to get through tough times. Its brevity invites you to linger on phrases or re-read pages that interest you. In your pursuit of providing compassionate care under trying conditions, you may find just what you need in a phrase, an insight, or this poem by Rabindranath Tagore: I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was duty. I worked—and behold. Duty was joy.”
Praise for Man’s Search for Meaning
“An enduring work of survival literature.”
—The New York Times
“[Man’s Search for Meaning] might well be prescribed for everyone who would understand our time.”
—Journal of Individual Psychology
“An inspiring document of an amazing man who was able to garner some good from an experience so abysmally bad . . . Highly recommended.”
“This is a book I try to read every couple of years. It’s one of the most inspirational books ever written. What is the meaning of life? What do you have when you think you have nothing? Amazing and heartbreaking stories. This is a book that should be in everyone’s library.”
“This is a book I reread a lot . . . it gives me hope . . . it gives me a sense of strength.”
—Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper 360/CNN
About the Author
David Rintoul is a Scottish actor and audiobook narrator who has lent his talents to books by authors such as Ian Fleming and Robert Harris. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B07ZN343N6
- Publisher : Beacon Press (April 1, 2020)
- Publication date : April 1, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 3199 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 135 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #46,969 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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With an introduction by Daniel Goleman and afterward by Franz Vesely, Viktor’s son-in-law, this book comprises three of Frankl’s lectures:
• On the Meaning and Value of Life
• On the Meaning and Value of Life II
• Experimentum Crucis.
These lectures focus on suicide, forced annihilation and concentration camps respectively. With such difficult content I had expected this read to be quite depressing, but there’s hope running through even the darkest of themes. Given the author’s belief that we can find meaning regardless of our circumstances, this hope felt particularly appropriate.
This meaning, Frankl asserts, can come through “our actions, through loving, and through suffering.” Meaning doesn’t only come from work. Illness, physical or mental, doesn’t necessarily equal loss of meaning. Suffering can be either meaningful or meaningless.
Some of the early text read the way some university philosophy lectures I’ve attended felt, where I was anxious for the lecturer to get to the point, but these sections were the groundwork for what was to come. Frankl gives examples of patients he treated and people he encountered in concentration camps, and these provided the answers to ‘how does this theory apply to real life?’, which is something I always seek.
The third lecture was the one that I found most insightful. Building on the two previous lectures, Frankl discusses his thoughts on the “psychological reactions of the camp prisoners to life in the camp.” Learning how this lecture specifically related to his own ability to find meaning was inspirational.
It can be tempting, when someone talks about the importance of your attitude or finding meaning in suffering, to get into ‘yeah, but’. Yeah, but how would they feel if they were in my situation? Yeah, but what qualifies them to speak to me about suffering? It’s hard to ‘yeah, but’ when the person you’re hearing it from is Viktor Frankl.
While Frankl specifically says that no one’s suffering can be compared to anyone else’s I still find it difficult to think of any of my experiences, not matter how painful they are for me, to be comparable to those who have been subjected to concentration camps. After reading this book part of me wants to admonish myself for having a whinge about any problem I face. However, the overwhelming takeaway for me is if people like Viktor experienced what they did and still managed to find hope and meaning, then it is always possible for me, no matter what comes my way, to change my perspective.
“To say yes to life is not only meaningful under all circumstances - because life itself is - but it is also possible under all circumstances.”
Content warnings are included in my Goodreads review.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Rider, an imprint of Ebury Publishing, Penguin Random House UK, for the opportunity to read this book.
Although these lectures don’t add to the power of his major literary opus, they are remarkable both for their timing and their location, and that they address issues of hope, desperation, cruelty, responsibility and guilt in the place where Frankl was born and worked before the Nazi invasion and too which he surprisingly chose to return,, having lost all his close family, and to rebuild his life.
This collection of his lectures is supplemented by a very thoughtful essay by Daniel Goleman, ( Emotional intelligence) and an afterword by Frankl’s son in law. Not an easy read, but a very worthwhile one, with relevant lessons for our different, turbulent times.
However, What frankl says is so potent, you may not be able to read but a few pages at a time, before reeling. I even thought a few pages were so important, I livestreamed my reading them and comments. I don't think I had any listeners...
If you already have his other book, you will be happy to have this one as well. Now, I am not sure I even finished it! Have to return to it again, and again.
Top reviews from other countries
He saw this as the positive extrapolation of Friedrich Nietzsche's declaration that "Whoever has a why to live can bear almost any how. " Frankl saw in this "an explanation for the will to survive he noted in some fellow prisoners. Those who found a larger meaning and purpose in their lives, who had a dream of what they could contribute, were......more likely to survive than were those who gave up." Ultimately while the Nazis were able to take away a camp inmate's possessions, name and very identity, the one thing they could not take was a person's freedom of choice to decide how they would react in a given set of circumstances, by retaining some inner hope for the future, however slim it might objectively seem to be realisable.
He concludes: "when the inmates in the Buchenwald concentration camp sang in their song, ‘We still want to say yes to life’, they did not only sing about it, but also achieved it many times – they and many of us in the other camps as well. And they achieved it under unspeakable conditions, external and internal conditions that we have already spoken enough about today. So shouldn’t we all be able to achieve it today in, after all, incomparably milder circumstances? To say yes to life is not only meaningful under all circumstances – because life itself is – but it is also possible under all circumstances." A strong lesson in positive thinking that we all could usefully benefit from in today's very challenging and harrowing, but clearly less extreme, circumstances, and especially poignant in the week of Holocaust Memorial Day.