Biography & Autobiography

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

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Information: 154 pages, paperback

They say: One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search For Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.

'Viktor Frankl ... is one of the moral heroes of the 20th century. His insights into human freedom, dignity and the search for meaning are deeply humanizing and have the power to transform lives.' Chief Brian Keenan, author of An Evil Cradling

'This is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read. It changed my life and became a part of all that I live and all that I teach. It is truly a must-read book.' Susan Jeffers, author of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

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RRP £7.99

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Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor E Frankl
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Reviews - rated 4/5 based on customer reviews

4 out of 5 By
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This is not a new book, but it has been updated and reconsidered by its author, and while it is a very important book, it is not the easiest book in the world to read. This is not because Doctor Frankl is in any way a bad writer. It is simply that some of his subject matter is difficult to think about, so it is definitely not a book for the faint hearted.

The book divides into three parts. The first (and longest) part is an introduction, detailing Doctor Frankl's own experiences in Auschwitz and as a holocaust survivor. He takes apart the experiences that formed his philosophy, and the psychology that helped him to survive. It is not romantic.

The second part deals with his approach to psychotherapy, which he calls logotherapy. This he translates as a will to meaning. The human need to find meaning in life was what he recognised in himself and fellow survivors. Here he takes us beyond the usual psychotherapeutic standards. The third part is a postscript, 'the Case for a Tragic Optimism'.

I have seen the words 'If you read but one book this year…' on the back of a number of books, and possibly in this case they are justified. If you are concerned with healing in any form, and if you combine that concern with a wish to help people develop and grow spiritually, this book will help you to move to new levels of understanding.

But it is a book that needs to be read more than once. It is a very big book contained in a small number of pages. It will distress you and cause you to question things. So open it......more
4 out of 5 By
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There are a few books written in the twentieth century that stand out in my mind. A place on my shelf is reserved for those classics that I turn to from time to time for inspiration and support. This book has now joined that collection. It is a masterpiece that will survive the times in which we live.

The book is about hope and how we can recover it in order to give our lives meaning. Frankl speaks from experience as a survivor of the Holocaust. He lost his entire family yet somehow managed to believe that an end could come to his pains. After his release he used the experience to develop his existentialist form of psychotherapy known as Logotherapy, a simple and undogmatic form of therapy that rejects over-intellectualisation and the need for "gurus".

The book is divided into three sections; a reflection on the writer's Holocaust experiences, an explanation of Logotherapy, and a brief treatise on a practical philosophy for living in a difficult world. All this is presented in a slim volume of only 154 pages with no weighty authoritative references or detailed bibliography. It is a basic exploration of meaning that comes straight from the heart, but balanced with philosophical reflection and a practical application.

A number of commentators have labelled this book as one of the greatest contributions of the twentieth century. I have to say, after much thought, that I must agree with his assessment. At a mere £7.99 it is a must for everyone seeking to find an answer to the perplexity of living in the modern world.

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