Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

73%

17 Critic Reviews

How delightful to read a psychological work that addresses life's issues as most people understand them! Viktor Frankl's prose sparkles with his humanity and reason, and marginalizes much other psychological work as abstract or laboratory bound.
-The Satirist

Synopsis

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
 

About Viktor E. Frankl

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Viktor E. Frankl, M.D., Ph.D. is professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna Medical School and distinguished professor of logotherapy at the United States International University in San Diego, California. He is the originator of what has come to be called the Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy (after Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology): the school of logotherapy. Dr. Frankl's first article was published in 1924 in the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. Since then he has written twenty-seven books, which have been translated into virtually every major language in the world. The American edition of his book Man's Search for Meaning has sold over two million copies to date. Dr. Frankl has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Southern Methodist, Stanford, and Duquesne universities, and has had honorary doctorate degrees conferred upon him by twelve universities. He is president of Austrian Medical Society of Psychotherapy and an honorary member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 1985 he was awarded the Oskar Pfister Award by the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Frankl's works in English translation include The Doctor and Soul: From Psychotherapy to Logotherapy; Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy; Psychotherapy and Existentialism: Selected Papers in Logotherapy; The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy; The Unconscious God: Psychotherapy and Theology; and The Unheard Cry for Meaning: Psychotherapy and Humanism. He lives in Vienna.
 
Published June 1, 2006 by Beacon Press. 188 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, War, Education & Reference, Self Help, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Man's Search for Meaning
All: 17 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 1

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Dec 21 2015

Although Frankl's preface attests to his involvement with this edition, it is hardly a fitting sequel to his universally beloved masterwork or a substantial valedictory effort.

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Suite 101

Above average
Reviewed by Kathy Hahn on May 23 2015

Unlike many books of this genre, Man’s Search for Meaning is concise and easily readable...Its lessons apply just as easily to normal situations as they do to the unspeakable and (fortunately) very rare circumstances such as a Holocaust concentration camp would bring about.

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BlogHer

Good
Reviewed by leahmsilverman on Jul 18 2012

It is inspirational and moving. He catalogues not just the misery, but also the way the prisoners were able to handle what they experienced. He discussed the stages they went through: shock, objectivity, and finally apathy...he also talked about moments of kindness, generosity, and even humor and fun. It was amazing.

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The Satirist

Above average
Reviewed by Dan Geddes on Jun 09 2000

How delightful to read a psychological work that addresses life's issues as most people understand them! Viktor Frankl's prose sparkles with his humanity and reason, and marginalizes much other psychological work as abstract or laboratory bound.

Read Full Review of Man's Search for Meaning

Seven Ponds

Above average
Reviewed by Dana Sitar on Jun 22 2012

Through Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl offers a compelling glimpse into the human psyche...Based on his own experience and the stories his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how we cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

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EssenceArticles

Good
on Apr 17 2011

It may not change your life but if you're anything like me reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning will prompt you to think deeply on the most serious issues of human existence - love, suffering, and above all the drive towards meaning.

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Harvard Political Review

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Coughlon on Mar 22 2012

Frankl is a remarkable writer: reading his account of his time in a Nazi concentration camp, I was struck by his enduring faith in the ability of individuals to retain their humanity in even the most dehumanizing of conditions.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Alexandra C on May 15 2015

Without giving too much more away, I will say that this book has a way of changing the reader's prospective on life...Out of five stars I give this book a four and a half. Because even though I did not particularly like this book it changes my prospective for me. It is a book I am sure I will be reading again some day.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen Kahn on Apr 17 2011

It may not change your life but if you're anything like me reading Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning will prompt you to think deeply on the most serious issues of human existence - love, suffering, and above all the drive towards meaning.

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EzineArticles

Above average
Reviewed by Pascasio JR Felisilda on Jan 24 2011

After reading (and experiencing) the first part of the book, you appreciate little things in life such as time with loved ones, food and water...The second part of the book focuses on logotherapy...This book is a primer on the approach of logotherapy to alleviate those issues.

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EzineArticles

Good
Reviewed by Pascasio JR Felisilda on Dec 09 2010

Whenever you going through difficult times, this is book will assist your thinking...to a more positive way of thinking. It will make a difference in your life...This book should be read by everyone. Not only will it help in your personal life, it will ensure that wrongful treatment of any humanity will not happen again.

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You've GOTTA Read This

Good
Reviewed by Sandy Nawrot on Jul 16 2009

The book is relatively short, but not the easiest to read in one sitting. It is compelling, though, and I believe has worthy of its reputation for making differences in people's lives...I doubt that I will ever view hardship the same again, and hope it serves as a permanent attitude adjustment that it was meant to be.

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Mysteries and More from Saskatchean

Good
Reviewed by Bill Selnes on Jan 18 2011

Frankl addresses outside the camp experience the meaning of life in the midst of suffering. Suffering is unavoidable during life. To face suffering with dignity gives meaning to life. We admire those who face adversity with courage...In 150 pages Frankl wrote a profound treatise.

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The Well-Read Man

Above average
Reviewed by Tim Patrick on Apr 15 2013

Because he passed through some of the worst of what life has to offer, Frankl understood well that it’s not circumstances that define meaning, but what we take from those circumstances. Normally such an idea would be little more than an empty platitude. But his experiences inject into them the ring of authority.

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Books And Movie Review

Good
Reviewed by PROTIK BASU on Oct 09 2012

...is a book that I can safely add to the small list of books that I can say has changed the course of my life...In the end, all I can say is that not reading this book would have been a great loss to me. Its quite an unique book that is probably even more relevant in our times than earlier.

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ANABELLE BF

Above average
Reviewed by Anabelle on May 16 2015

Through his narrative, Frankl displays the strength of the human heart, the power of love and the importance of meaning in one’s life. Indeed, only those who held on to meaning–a family to love, a project to finish, people to change–were able to survive the camps.

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BookSexy

Above average
Reviewed by tolmsted on Nov 25 2009

The reader who can approach Logotherapy with an open mind, perhaps as lessons from a man who has gleaned some wisdom out of his life experiences, will be rewarded. Not least by the realization that Viktor Frankl was a compassionate man, who made the choice to use his suffering to find a way to help others.

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